Mushrooms Demystified Info

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Simply the best and most complete mushroom field guide and
reference book, MUSHROOMS DEMYSTIFIED includes descriptions and keys to
more than 2,000 species of mushrooms, with more than 950 photographs.
Mushroom authority David Arora provides a beginner's checklist of the 70
most distinctive and common mushrooms, plus detailed chapters on
terminology, classification, habitats, mushroom cookery, mushroom
toxins, and the meanings of scientific mushroom names. Beginning and
experienced mushroom hunters everywhere will find MUSHROOMS DEMYSTIFIED a
delightful, informative, and indispensible companion.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.68

1264 Ratings

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Reviews for Mushrooms Demystified:

2

April 12, 2017

Not great for the Pacific Northwest: it's Black & White and Outdated
This book will sort of teach you how to read a key, but there are online resources that are much better. For example, in the Pacific Northwest where I live, there are two very good region-specific keys which can be found online:

The Svims Pacific Northwest Key Council and the Alpental Pictorial Key. Both can be found on google. The reason region-specific keys are better is because you won't ever find 90% of the mushrooms in this or any book when you are out foraging. Furthermore, in my area, the region specific keys are very good, in color, and they'll help you get better at identifying the specific families. I'd pass on this book, sadly.

I would, however, recommend All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms as a great field guide to carry around with you. Again, a lot of things you find will not be in there, but it's all in color, it's concise, and it emphasizes what you need to know to identify specific families.
2

February 12, 2011

Outdated
Simply put, this fungal guide is rather dated since so many mushrooms have been reclassified since it was written. For example the various chanterelles of California were not known at the time it was published. The section on Russulas is quite out of date as it seems at least a third to half the names are no longer valid. I should also mention that this book, in the best of times, is not easy to use without a microscope. The book is an interesting reference for the curious, but certainly not a current field guide. I like the humor in the book and the honesty on the part of the author that there is not enough space to be thorough on various groups.
1

August 30, 2015

Shouldn't have been sold as new.
Cover is bent and 1st page is ripped. Not bad enough to go through the trouble, but not what I expect when I buy new. Looks like a machine mishap, but didn't a human pack?
3

November 3, 2017

This is a book for those who already have a lot of time invested in the scientific study of fungi and are able to decipher the 1000+ pages on the matter (albeit there is a fair amount of humor weaved within the mushroom descriptions that makes reading each passage more of an enjoyment than
This is an incredibly extensive guide to mushrooms, which would serve the well-trained mycologist quite well. For a novice or even competent mushroom forager, this guidebook will likely be too frustrating and confusing to reference with trust. Most of the photos (except for a small section) are in black-and-white and of tolerable resolution, meaning that no photo can be truly helpful in determining the type of mushroom you have found. All the names in in scientific Latin form, which is professional...but near impossible to memorize for the reader without serious time dedication. This is a book for those who already have a lot of time invested in the scientific study of fungi and are able to decipher the 1000+ pages on the matter (albeit there is a fair amount of humor weaved within the mushroom descriptions that makes reading each passage more of an enjoyment than a task).
0

Nov 15, 2015


Maybe Arora doesn't know about these Portuguese ones, I've been photographing.
(You may click on any of the photographs)





























Ain't they pretty?
5

December 26, 2017

A must have!
This is amazing book. Don't wanna call it "the bible of shroom world" as some people may get offended, but that would be the best description. I wish it was the hardcover, but I will laminate the cover pages to last longer. After reviewing 7 books form the library and reviews on Amazon, I knew this would be a great book as many authors cite it (include Michael K on internet). It has a great description of mushrooms in N America, and if people say it does not have enough coloured photos, I say use more than one book as a (cross)reference. I usually use 5-9 before eating mushrooms we collect in wild. The book is very well written and in a humorous way, so it's not a dry boring material. What a great addition to my growing collection!! Thank you all who wrote great reviews which made it easier for me to pick it too!
5

December 29, 2015

This book is the best I've found
This book is the best I've found, even though it is written primarily for the west coast and I live in the east. The author is opinionated and possesses a good sense of humor, but he knows his stuff. I like the keys, although they are as subjective as any in the mycological world, so there is an element of art and interpretation in using them. The only quarrel I have is that the photos are too few and too limited. One should be able, after going through the keys and word descriptions, to find an image that reinforces the almost always tentative identification. The upshot is, it is the best thing I've found for putting a name on a fungus.
5

August 3, 2015

Funny and Accurate - The BEST mushroom book out there
After buying "The Hip pocket guide to Western Mushrooms" by the same author, I knew I had to get his most famous book. My family and I love to collect mushrooms, it's our fall tradition.

As for the book itself, the keys are excellent. We keyed out several species and groups on a recent trip that we just could not identify using any other guidebook. The book is intuitive to use. I taped in some bookmarks for the keys and major groups which makes it even more useful. The funny writing makes it a joy to have along. Plus the species descriptions are accurate, well written and information rich.

It's a weighty tome though, so it stayed in camp while we were out hiking. Then, later we'd identify the two or three species unknown to us that we collected. My other guides were no help at all, either having no good keys, or none at all. It took less than a minute with this book to ID them. It also has a beginner's section that looks excellent. Every other collector we've met also seemed to have a copy. Finally we have our own:) Get it!
1

August 4, 2015

Disappointed
Useless book. Practically no color photos. It is better to see once than read description 1000 times.
1

October 22, 2016

even though they were pretty common mushrooms
This is definitely not a book for someone that just likes to wander around the woods and figure out what mushroom they are looking at. As a matter of fact, I found it confusing and didn't really help me identify the 3 I'd picked up during my walk that day, even though they were pretty common mushrooms. I found the writing dry and sometime unintelligible; 90% of the pictures are pen and ink drawings, there are about 30 pages of color plates in the middle of the book. This book seems to try and identify every mushroom there is in the U.S., it's about 3" thick, not something that you'd be dragging around on a hike. For someone that is a mycologist or had studied a lot about fungi it is probably THE book to own, but for the rest of us there are easier more interesting ones available that center on a particular area or state.
5

May 29, 2009

This is one of the most amazing biological guides ever. In addition to being an almost comprehensive guide to most macroscopic fungi of the western US, it is also weird, hilarious, and just plain wacky. Pretty much every time I grab it to look something up, I come across some new gem from Arora. Here's one I just found:

Since so few bracket fungi are edible, they are ignored by most people and barely mentioned in many popular mushroom books. As I am also ignored by most people (and have yet to be This is one of the most amazing biological guides ever. In addition to being an almost comprehensive guide to most macroscopic fungi of the western US, it is also weird, hilarious, and just plain wacky. Pretty much every time I grab it to look something up, I come across some new gem from Arora. Here's one I just found:

Since so few bracket fungi are edible, they are ignored by most people and barely mentioned in many popular mushroom books. As I am also ignored by most people (and have yet to be mentioned in any kind of book), I feel I have something vital in common with these unheralded but indispensable organisms. Therefore, a fairly extensive (but by no means comprehensive) treatment is offered here, in hopes that readers will at least learn to notice polypores, if not identify them. ...more
1

January 11, 2018

One Star
All black and white pics. Not any color which would've helped in identifying.
5

July 15, 2016

Unbelievably comprehensive.
An amazing book - I can't fathom the breadth and depth of the author's knowledge. Be warned, however, that this kind of comprehensiveness comes at a price. The fact that it contains so many different mushrooms from all over the US makes it more difficult for a beginner to identify the common ones in my area. For many beginners, a more local guide to just the more common shrooms might make more sense (AND be more portable - this thing is huge). For the serious mushroom hunter though, this is the bible.
1

November 4, 2015

One Star
If i new this was a west coast book i wouldn't have bought it.not enough pictures.its for sale.
1

November 3, 2014

One Star
Poor photos, for a prof. mycologist, not me, big letdown.
5

September 30, 2017

Four stars for Amazon but five for Arora!!
This is my first review ever because I needed to share! This textbook was optional for my class, but after reading a couple sections at my school's library I needed to purchase it. I found Arora's writing style to be very entertaining! I literally laughed out loud a couple times (as I still do), which has never happened to me from a nonfiction textbook. A little annoyance: the book was kind of bent and dinged up from shipping, as I'm keeping this and not reselling, but I plan on bringing this out on the field with me when I go mushrooming so I can't complain too much. I extend my deepest gratitude to David Arora!! Mycology is the very first science class I've ever really enjoyed!!

Four stars for Amazon but five for Arora!!
1

August 16, 2014

The condition of this book is good, however
This book was advertised as a simple read. I do not find that to be so. The condition of this book is good, however, I do not find the illustrations to be very good. The study is also to long and complicated for me to find it user friendly. It is not something I would recommend to anyone else.
5

Jun 23, 2007

I will actually be "currently reading" this book for the rest of my life - at least during those months that the mushrooms are out.

The most extraordinary thing about it is that it's actually fun to read -- no small feat for what's fundamentally a guidebook. Arora leads you to approach the overwhelming task of figuring out the wild mushroom in your hand like a mystery, and like many mysteries you end up chasing down dead ends, eliminating suspects, and enjoying every minute of it.

It seems that I will actually be "currently reading" this book for the rest of my life - at least during those months that the mushrooms are out.

The most extraordinary thing about it is that it's actually fun to read -- no small feat for what's fundamentally a guidebook. Arora leads you to approach the overwhelming task of figuring out the wild mushroom in your hand like a mystery, and like many mysteries you end up chasing down dead ends, eliminating suspects, and enjoying every minute of it.

It seems that every time I pull this out to identify some new thing that's pushed up under the pine needles (can I eat it?), another hour goes by as I follow some tangent about Avenging Death Angels or the like.

The book is worth it just for his section demystifying the Latin names of fungi -- which he makes into something of a sleuthing project. This has been the essential guidebook since it was first published in 1978, and I odn't think anything else has come close for combining science with a literary flair. ...more
5

Nov 12, 2007

One of the great reference books of our times! I have so often leafed through this book for the simple sheer pleasure of it, that I have found myself in the forest identifying wild mushrooms that I didn't realize I knew anything about. I can think of no higher praise.
3

September 22, 2018

Still has a California slant
The preface notes that the first edition was for California, and the second is more comprehensive. While that is true, I found constant references to "in our area" (i.e. California) in "habitat" sections for various species. Maybe instead of "habitat" the section should have been titled "habitat and range" with the US divided into 5 sections and a brief indicator of the likelihood of finding the species in any of these areas. At any rate, the bias toward California distinctly remains. I'm not saying the book isn't something a mushroom hunter who doesn't live in California shouldn't have, but you'll probably want to find some mushroom hunting books with a slant toward your own region, especially if you're just starting out. Probably state mycological societies would provide some good material
5

July 2, 2018

The Bible of foraging mushrooms!
A must have for nerdy mushroom lovers or serious foragers. The bible of mushroom identification and information. For foraging mushrooms it is wise to have a few books. I have been foraging for about 10 years on the east and west coast. I have about 8 or so different ID books. I usually look at certain others first because they have less mushrooms and better color pictures but cross reference mushrooms I'm not as sure of with this book or look through if other boos don't have ones i find (All That The Rain Promises and More, the companion book, is the other must have mostly for the west coast). It gives you more possible look a likes and more in depth information. I have had 3 copies of this book, i buy used ones i see and give them to interested friends. It can be overwhelming looking for mushrooms with this book but if you are going to try to eat a mushroom you should be certain and this book will give you the best possible information to keep you safe. There are tons of fun facts in this book as well even if you don't forage.
3

March 28, 2017

Not so much.
Lots of technical, more black and white images not helpful for this beginner. Heavy chunk of paper to carry in backpack.
5

Sep 11, 2013

Invaluable. I have learned so much from this book.
Okay, I didn't technically read the whole thing straight through, but I did read all of the sections aside from the identifications straight through. This is as good as it gets in a single source for mushroom identification. And, it's an easy read — the author's a bit whacky in a good way — which really helps, because latin naming conventions make my mind fog over if there's not something lighter to break it up. If you've never used a Dichotomous Invaluable. I have learned so much from this book.
Okay, I didn't technically read the whole thing straight through, but I did read all of the sections aside from the identifications straight through. This is as good as it gets in a single source for mushroom identification. And, it's an easy read — the author's a bit whacky in a good way — which really helps, because latin naming conventions make my mind fog over if there's not something lighter to break it up. If you've never used a Dichotomous Identification Key before, you're in for a treat, because it's kind of like a grown-up Choose Your Own Adventure. ...more
5

Jan 17, 2016

This is probably not a book you would sit down and read cover-to-cover. However it is the mycology "Bible" for those interested in gleaning mushrooms from forests & field. Arora's occasional humor, and cute pictures are worth the price of the book alone (see plate 217, "too many mushrooms - overindulgence")
4

Nov 11, 2013

Authoritative and comprehensive, often witty, but altogether somewhat dense. While this mushroom hunters' bible is indispensable, it could benefit from more pictures.

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