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Field Guides - reference books to help you identify wild plants

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers
Mushrooms: The Visual Guide to More than 500 Species From Around the World.
Simon and Schuster's Guide to Mushrooms
Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America - a Field to Kitchen Guide

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National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers - Eastern Region -All Levels

A field guide with good color photographs of the plants.  I like this guide because it is easier to use than the Peterson guides which have pen drawings instead of color photos.  Although the guide is not specific to medicinal plants, most of the plants listed are indeed medicinal.

 

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Mushrooms: The Visual Guide to More than 500 Species of Mushroom from Around the World.
By Thomas Laessoe and Gary Lincoff.

This is by far my favorite field guide for mushrooms. This excellent guide is very descriptive and is complete with beautiful color pictures of the mushroom species. Each mushroom identified clearly shows individual pictures of the gill structure; cap shape and color; often a cross section of the mushroom, which can be critical in identification; and finally a picture of the mushroom growing in its natural state. I find that that mushrooms of the same species often look dissimilar depending upon the age and location of the fruiting body. The task of identification is made much easier with this guide since it offers multiple views of the same species. It's only drawback is that it does not really address the edibility of the various mushrooms, nor does it address the medicinal properties. However, this is not something I normally would expect a field guide to do. There are several other books which I discuss in the "Mushroom Section" which do and excellent job regarding edibility and medicinal properties of mushrooms.


Simon and Schuster's Guide to Mushrooms
By Gary Lincoff

This is another field guide to help you identify mushrooms and fungi. This book is part of a field guide series and follows the typical format of most field guides. Again the photographs are incredibly clear, however, there is only one photo per species. The guide does identify which mushrooms are edible and also provides cautionary notes about possible look-alikes which might impede identification.


Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America - a Field to Kitchen Guide
By David W. Fischer and Alan E. Bessett

This excellent book describes mushroom identification, edibility, and offers some delicious recipes for cooking these delicacies. Although the identification guide is clear and offers information about possible look-a-likes, I strongly recommend using this book in conjunction with a mushroom field guide. The book is well organized and offers beautiful color pictures of the identified species. There is even a small section which addresses the issue of mushroom poisoning which has clear descriptions (including photos) of the poisonous mushrooms.


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