Contents: Introduction and acknowledgements. Abbreviations. 1. Field study of mushrooms and other fungi. 2. Conditions under which mushrooms grow and thrive. 3. Forest types, with reference to distribution of the higher fungi. 4. How to collect, study, and prepare mushrooms for the herbarium. 5. Life history and general characteristics of mushrooms. 6. Economic importance of fungi. 7. Common edible mushrooms. 8. Growing mushrooms. 8. Poisonous mushrooms ("toadstools"). 9. The wood-destroying fungi. 10. The literature on mushrooms and their allies. 11. Systematic account of selected larger fungi. 12. Names of the principal authors of fungus species. Bibliography. Glossary of technical terms. Appendix: Nomenclatural changes. Index.
From the Preface: "Prepared as an interpretive source of information for students, farmers, researchers and other in the horticultural fields, this book is concerned (both experienced and beginning) about all the information he is likely to need on mushrooms; their botanical position, mode of growth, structure, physiology, habitat and ecology, economic importance both as food and as pest, preparation of edible forms (with recipes), varieties of poisonous mushrooms and the poisons involved, cultivation of edible mushrooms, the higher fungi systematically considered, and many special topics like fairy rings and luminosity.
The key features of this book lies in its detailed, impeccably accurate descriptions of important mushrooms. After a 20-page finding key (down to genera) follow full descriptions of more than 225 species (down to subspecies, races and varieties in some cases), covering physical appearance, habitat and growing conditions, seasons, poisonous or edible status, and whatever else is necessary. These descriptions are particularly helpful in indicating individual variations in color, shape and size that might mislead a beginner and in offering hints on distinguishing between mushrooms that might be confused. More than 300 other mushrooms are fully covered by cross reference. Much of this information is not generally available in other non-technical studies.
Despite the scholarly stature of this book and the breadth of its coverage, it is not technical, and it can be used immediately by readers without previous knowledge of botany. This single volume the reader can have unlimited, safe pleasure in gathering and identifying mushrooms."