Collins Mushroom Miscellany

Written by Patrick Harding.

Collins Mushroom Miscellany

This labour of love isn’t a guidebook to the mushrooms you’ll find under foot on your woodland walks, but more a wonderful book of everything else mushroom-like. Folklore, recipes, fables and facts have been woven into this quirky tome and make for addictive reading.

Long time mycologist, Patrick Harding, has many years under his belt as a university lecturer and has become something of an oracle on all things mushroom. Whilst his first residential weekend course on fungal forays drew only a modest crowd, the same course is now heavily oversubscribed, with people hungry to know more about the mushroom scene.

So what morsels of information will you glean from this book? Well, bizarre findings such as the archaic belief that mushrooms were formed from the slime left by snails, and the tendency of the aptly nicknamed ‘jack o’lantern’ mushroom to glow in the dark.

When it comes to handy statistics to wow dinner party guests, here are a few: over 3,200 species of fungi have been found on Esher Common in Surrey, there are 100,000 named fungal species worldwide, and the record for the largest spreading single organism goes to a mushroom which covered almost 3km².

This is one of those books you could constantly dip into, only to find something that amazes you. A bewitching, intriguing and beautifully illustrated read.

Mushroom Miscellany by Patrick Harding, priced at £14.99, published by Collins.