Field Guide to Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic

Field Guide to Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic

Bill Russell
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Field Guide to Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic
    Book Description:

    To most Americans, mushrooms are the brown lumps in the soup one uses to make a tuna casserole, but to a select few, mushrooms are the abundant yet often well-hidden delicacies of the forests. In spite of their rather dismal reputation, most wild mushrooms are both edible and delicious, when prepared properly. From the morel to the chanterelle and the prolific and aptly named chicken of the woods, mushrooms can easily be harvested and enjoyed, if you know where to look and what to look for. Bill Russell’s Field Guide to the Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic helps the reader learn just that—specifically for the often-neglected East Coast mushrooms of the United States and Canada. Suited to both the novice and the experienced mushroom hunter, this book helps the reader identify mushrooms with the use of illustrations, descriptions, and environmental observations. Russell’s fifty years of experience in hunting, studying, and teaching about wild mushrooms have been carefully distilled into this easy-to-use and well-designed guide. The book is divided into the four seasons, each with its unique mushroom offerings. Each mushroom section includes a detailed description, information about the mushroom’s biology, tips on where the mushroom is most likely to be found, and a short “nutshell” description for quick reference. The book also includes color photographs of each of the mushrooms described. Russell’s Field Guide to the Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic shows the reader not only how to identify the most common mushrooms found in the region but also how to avoid common copycats—and what to do with the mushrooms once they’re identified and harvested. With both color illustrations and insightful descriptions of one hundred of the area’s most common mushrooms, Field Guide is an indispensable reference for the curious hiker, the amateur biologist, or the adventurous chef.

    eISBN: 978-0-271-05463-6
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xii-xii)
  5. Mushroom Basics
    (pp. 1-18)

    What is a mushroom? Your answer depends on who you are, where you come from, and what you think about mushrooms. For Americans, the white button mushroom(Agaricus bisporus)of the supermarkets likely pops to mind. After all, it was the mushroom of our cookbook recipes and restaurant menus before the supermarkets carried a selection of gourmet mushrooms. To people of certain other countries, a mushroom is any edible fungus. Authors of most mushroom field guides apparently use a definition I learned a long time ago: a mushroom is simply “a large fleshy fungus.” Defining a mushroom this way opens...

  6. One Hundred Mushrooms

    • One Hundred Mushrooms
      (pp. 19-22)

      This guide describes one hundred mushrooms that can be found growing in the central Pennsylvania region. These species also commonly grow throughout a large area of the northeastern part of the United States and into southeastern Canada. Here, they are roughly divided into four seasons of growth: spring, March to May; summer, June to August; fall, September to November; and winter, December to February. Under each seasonal section, the mushrooms are further divided into three subcategories:

      gilled mushrooms (with thin parallel bladelike plates lining the underside of the cap);

      pored mushrooms (with a layer of pores, not gills, lining the...

    • spring mushrooms
      (pp. 23-50)

      Some mushrooms are orphans. We neglect them—perhaps because we don’t know much about them, or because they don’t look or smell nice. Our guidebooks give them little attention or completely exclude them. We often find them stomped by someone to “save the children” who might otherwise ingest them. Such disdain may be understandable for the countless numbers of anonymous little brown mushroom species of unknown edibility. But to treatCoprinus variegatusthis way seems downright unfair. It’s a large, common, attractive species that grows in conspicuous, dense clusters that can hardly escape anyone’s attention.

      Perhaps the scorn comes from...

    • summer mushrooms
      (pp. 51-150)

      From the collection of scientific names that the authorities have given to this mushroom over time, you might think that they can’t agree on what to call it—or you may wonder whether they have nothing else to do through the winter months except idle away their time by renaming mushrooms. Neither is so. As knowledge of fungi expands, each name change represents an attempt to find a more suitable and meaningful niche for a mushroom species.

      Although the authorities have shuffled and changed the name of the weeping psathyrella, each attempt retains important information about this species’ significant features....

    • fall mushrooms
      (pp. 151-188)

      Start looking for this extroverted mushroom around the time of the first fall frosts in this region. It boldly shows itself off in big dense patches of bright white caps against the dark green background of mowed lawns. It seems to beg to be picked. Because it’s so easy to see, it’s a mushroom you can hunt from your car as you drive around suburban areas. Mushroomers in this region call the technique “road hunting.” (While this may be a good method for hunting shaggy manes, puffballs, and certain other species, forget it in morel season. Most mushroomers can’t see...

    • winter mushrooms
      (pp. 189-212)

      Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages around the time that you eat this inky cap! It contains chemicals that can temporarily make you sick. Pharmacologists have studied this mushroom and come up with medications to help cure alcohol addiction. A person takes the prescribed dosage before a situation in which he or she may be tempted to drink alcohol. The individual will get sick if he or she ingests anything containing alcohol during the time that the drug is active. Eventually, some people following this treatment begin to associate nausea and sickness with alcoholic beverages and lose the desire to drink....

  7. Edible and Non-Edible Mushrooms
    (pp. 213-222)

    When human beings appeared on the earth, one of the first questions on everyone’s mind was, “Where can I find something to eat?” Obviously, we are here, so it must not have taken long to discover that the woods were full of food. The invention of agriculture eventually freed us from our potluck dependence on wild places for our meals. Yet people all over the world continue to gather wild food. In some countries it’s still a primary way of life. Even in the most modern places—such as the United States, with our lives surrounded by computers, television, fast...

  8. Mushrooms in the Kitchen
    (pp. 223-229)

    After you get your edible mushrooms home, you have to get them ready for cooking or preserving. They will probably need cleaning, but if you have done some preliminary work before you put them in your collecting basket, your job will be much easier in the kitchen. At this point, beginning mushroomers often dump their collection of edibles in a pan of water for fast cleaning. Gilled mushrooms treated this way take up and retain a large amount of water in their structure. This may be acceptable if you plan to use your mushrooms in soups, stews, or other dishes...

  9. References
    (pp. 230-230)
  10. Index
    (pp. 231-236)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 237-237)