Learning to correctly identify mushrooms is a must have skill for those walkers who enjoy foraging for wild food.

The Collins Gem series of reference books are renowned for their attention to detail and this is reflected well in their “Mushrooms” title.

The pocket sized guide is aimed squarely at nature and foraging enthusiasts allowing them to easily identify the most commonly found mushrooms and toadstools across Britain and northern Europe.

Clear and detailed descriptions

The author, Patrick Harding, has ensured that the descriptive text is written in clear and uncomplicated way and avoids too many botanical terms that are likely to confuse the novice forager. I have seen some other titles recently that are far too technical in their descriptions which, for the uninformed like myself, can lead to confusion when identifying fungi which is not ideal when dealing with something that can easily poison you if you make the wrong decision.

Detailed imagery

The book is full of beautiful and clear photographs taken by Alan Outen, a photographer of some note when it comes to documenting the natural world. Each photograph is presented at a reasonable size alongside very detailed botanical illustrations by John Wilkinson which helps to show the distinguishing features of each mushroom and toadstool.


Each description includes details of size, habitat and when it can be found, whether it is edible or poisonous and most importantly, which similar species it can be confused with and why. This is an area where I find the book is worth it’s weight in gold.


The book itself has been designed to be well thumbed and bashed about in rucksacks and the like which is refreshing to see as I have had some guides that start to fall apart after only a few trips out. I have owned my copy for some time now and I am pleased to say that, apart from a few creases to the cover, it is still in one piece and very readable.


This compact guide manages to include over 240 species of mushroom and toadstool and I would recommend it to fellow foragers to help improve their fungi recognition skills.

Collins Gem Mushrooms

Quality of Content - 8
Overall Design - 8
Value for Money - 9


A good guide

I would recommend it to fellow foragers.

Date Published: 2011
Format: 7.6 x 1.5 x 11.4 cm
ISBN: 978-0007183074
Cover Price: £4.99
Available From: Amazon

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