Saturday, February 13, 2021

Field Guide to Mushrooms & other Fungi of South Africa by Gary B Goldman & Marieka Gryzenhout

Mushrooms have fascinated me from a young age, and always with my mother's admonishment of certain death should I even think of touching them unless they were prepackaged from the local store. Yet in recent years we've also seen growth in interest for foragers taking advantage of South Africa's great diversity of fungi, many of which are not just edible, but downright delicious, be it a pine ring or Kalahari truffle. In their Field Guide to Mushrooms & other Fungi of South Africa by Gary B Goldman & Marieka Gryzenhout have created a functional and informative guide that, I hope will, not only serve as a clear guide to steer foragers to delicious edible boletes but help them identify the poisonous copper trumpets, salmon coral, aptly named death caps and more.

But this book is more than that – in my mind it serves as an enticement to look closer at nature, for there are so many fantastic types of fungi – a whole wonder world of them worth exploring. By the time I was done flipping through these pages, I was on the verge of buying a macro lens for my iPhone. My sense is that we spend so much time exploring South Africa's macro-fauna, we completely overlook these subtle, ephemeral beauties.

As with any field guide, there is only so much information that can be given. The introduction offers the usual of the instructions on how to use the book, what mushrooms are, their growth and reproduction, their identification, the fungal kingdom as a whole, the role of mushrooms in nature, edible and poisonous kinds, foraging, and also photographing mushrooms.

The species accounts offer many clear photos and concise descriptions that most certainly make IDing mushrooms far easier, and not only that, but there's even a bunch of recipes at the back – so I'd hazard to say, this book offers just about everything you need to get started for your mushroom hunting, whether you're framing photos, taking spore prints or collecting for your next meal.

No comments:

Post a Comment