COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There’s a new book available for Midwestern mushroom hunters, whose season starts in earnest in spring.
Mushrooms and Macrofungi of Ohio and the Midwestern States describes more than 140 mushrooms, including both edible and poisonous types, that a person may find in woods and fields. It features high-resolution color photographs and 23 color-coded groups for identification.
Macrofungi are fungi that can be seen with the unaided eye. They include mushrooms, stinkhorns, polypores and slime molds.
The book’s authors are a virtual who’s who of regional mushroom experts:
- Landon Rhodes, associate professor emeritus in Ohio State University’s Department of Plant Pathology.
- Britt Bunyard, publisher and editor-in-chief of Fungi Magazine.
- Walter Sturgeon, president of the Ohio Mushroom Society.
- Sarah Williams, academic program specialist, also in Ohio State’s plant pathology department.
“We hope it’s an easy guide for beginners to use in the field because of the high-quality images,” Williams said.
The publisher is Ohio State University Extension, which is the statewide outreach arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
“The idea for the book started with a class in Plant Pathology called ‘Field and Woodland Fungi,’ ” Williams said. “The instructor, Dr. Rhodes, would keep a running list of the mushrooms that the students saw on their weekly forays looking for mushrooms around Ohio. The ones that were found in abundance, and that readers will likely find, were included in this book.”
The book has 166 pages and is spiral-bound for easy use. It may be ordered through OSU Extension county offices or online through OSU Extension’s eStore at go.osu.edu/mushroombook. The price is $26.25 plus Ohio state sales tax and shipping. There’s also a PDF version available for $8.50 at go.osu.edu/mushroombookpdf.
Spring is an especially exciting time for Midwestern mushroom hunters because that’s when good-to-eat, almost obsessively popular true morels start growing, Williams said.
“You can usually find them when the temperatures warm up a bit and after a good rainfall in April and May,” she said. “But we don’t advise people to eat any mushroom they find unless they have an expert mycologist identify it first.
“For instance, this spring, people might confuse the false morel with the true morel. The false morel can be toxic if consumed and should be avoided. People can learn more about both of them in the book.”
Fungi hit another peak in September that continues through November, Williams said. “But you can really find mushrooms and macrofungi year-round.”
She said another way to learn more is to join a guided foray, or field trip. In Ohio, forays are listed on the Ohio Mushroom Society’s website, http://ohiomushroomsociety.wordpress.com/, under “Events.”
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