For millennia the mysterious nature of fungi has intrigued the intrepid. Fungal fruits of field and forest have fed the fearless, while the (surprisingly few) resulting fatalities have fuelled myths and legends. Monks and murderers have turned mushrooms to their advantage; artists and authors have fallen for the fascination of fungi.
Once enticed in to this quirky kingdom, the magical mix of majesty and mystery has enough power to captivate the interest for a lifetime. But the complexity and scientific jargon of the subject made it difficult for newcomers to gain a broad view of this vast topic... Problem solved! Fascinated by Fungi is an easy-to-follow introduction to a complex and largely unexplored kingdom of life and the history, mystery, facts and fiction born out of the fascinating foibles of mushrooms, toadstools and other fungi.
"To be bang up to date you have to get Pat O'Reilly's amazing book, a 'must have' with more than 1000 wonderful photographs. It combines one of the most readable and deliciously idiosyncratic accounts of what fungi are, where they come from and what they do for us with an excellent identification guide almost uniquely based on habitats. Excellent diagrams and photographs are provided to explain all. If you want to photograph it, look down a microscope or just eat it, there is all the help you need to get started and maybe become an expert." Ray Woods, review in Plantlife Magazine
"It's fantastic. For years, I have been looking for a good guide to fungi that includes identification tips, the kind of habitat that it frequents and similar species, and at last it's here." Iolo Williams, BBC Wildlife Presenter
"...this is a tour de force, a tremendous achievement in bringing this extraordinary kingdom to life... With its originality, freshness of approach and liveliness of text, I would like to think that Fascinated by Fungi will become a classic text, introducing a new generation to the wonders of fungi." James Robertson, review in Natur Cymru.
“A clear, logical guide to a crucial part of our life support system; the kind of book that most people (including me) really need.” Roger Thomas, Chief Executive, Countryside Council for Wales
"It's a fabulous field guide!" Doug Collins, California USA
"Its fantastic! Everything I wanted in a fungus book is there." Penny Turner, Drymos, Greece
"It's so nice to find a book that covers more than ID and delves into more aspects of the natural history." Laura, UK
"Let me take the opportunity to tell you how happy I am with the book. I'm only halfway through reading it, but I can tell you this is the best book on Fungi I've ever read." C.R., Sweden
Whether you are a beginner, an experienced fungus forayer, or a practising field mycologist, you will love this beautiful book. It is written in jargon-free plain English and a lively and highly readable style by one of our most entertaining and perceptive writers on wildlife and countryside matters.
Softback laminated, 450 pages all in full colour; more than 1000 colour photographs. Great value at RRP £25 plus P&P.
Uses, history, facts and mythology of mushrooms and other fungi
Fungus biology and classification
Wood, trees and forest ecology;
Woodland fungi and their vital roles
Grass, grasses and grassland types;
Fungi of grasslands – lawns, meadows, moorlands and mountainsides;
An Identification Guides to more than 400 of the most weird and wonderful mushrooms, toadstools and other fungi;
Fungus photography; microscopy; foray planning; recipes for the ‘Mushroom Magnificent Seven’ great fungi dishes...
...and much more.
"Sets a new standard that I would hope other writers will emulate." Daily Telegraph
"Best of the bunch." The Times
"An absolute must for anyone interested in this fascinating subject. I rate this superb book at 10 out of 10."
Martin James, BBC Wildlife and Countryside Correspondent.
Many books about fungi are field guides with just the essential information to aid identification. Fascinated by Fungi is different. While it does contain details of identifying features for more than 400 mushrooms, toadstools, brackets, puffballs and other kinds of fungi, what you also get are fascinating facts such as historic uses, infamous poisoning cases, uses in food, medicines including antibiotics, and country-craft processes plus illustrated guides to fungi photography and the selection, setting up and use of microscopes to help in identifying fungi.
There is advice on producing mushroom meals - field and forest food for free - with menus, preparation and cooking details, and pictures of the final meals. And if the biology of fungi interests you, there is a large chapter covering the structure, nature, growth, reproduction and habitat needs of basidiomycetes, ascomycetes and lichens.
Unique features of Fascinated by Fungi that book reviewers have highlighted are the liveliness and readability of its entertaining and informative text; the author's tremendous enthusiasm that shines out from every page; and the wealth of superb pictures and clear diagrams - more than 1000 colour images of specimens at their very best and photographed in their natural habitats plus close-up pictures of gills, pores and other key identifying features. This is a big book, with a great deal packed into it that you will not find in any other book about fungi.
So many fungi books are much the same as one another; this book on fungi is very different; it stands out from the crowd. One eminent mycologist has already described it as '...the best book on fungi produced in recent times'. Certainly the reviews support the view that Fascinated by Fungi is unique and destined to become a classic.
Pat O’Reilly’s fascination with mushrooms and other fungi stretches back more than 40 years and has taken him to many countries; but, as he says, there is a special satisfaction in finding and identifying beautiful fungi close to home.
Writing and broadcasting on wildlife and countryside topics for more than 30 years, Pat is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles. With his wife Sue he produced and maintains the First Nature website, which receives up to a million visits a year and hundreds of enquiries via an extensive Fungi section.
Pat, an active conservationist, has chaired and served on several advisory committees and special commissions. Until April 2013 he was a member of the Council of CCW (the Countryside Council for Wales, now Natural Resources Wales), making good use of his special interest and expertise in fungi conservation (he is a Member of the British Mycological Society) and the management of National Nature Reserves in Wales.
For his environmental work Pat O’Reilly was awarded an MBE in 2003.