Ann Bell is already well-known for her superbly hand-coloured illustrated works on coprophilous fungi (Bell 1983, 2005). She has continued her careful field studies, and has been focussing, together with Daniel Mahoney, on a particular ascomycete family, Lasiosphaeriaceae, which has representatives of some genera, notably Cercophora and Lasiosphaeria, growing on wood as well as dung. The aim was to try and elucidate relationships between the dung and wood-inhabiting species. However, after 10–12 years of work they felt they were “no further along” in resolving that issue, especially as they had no access to molecular facilities. Instead, they decided to present the results of their examinations of material they found in the field, primarily in New Zealand but also from visits to the USA. I am so glad that they did, as now we have a superbly colour-illustrated account of many of these fungi for the first time. They did, however, conclude on morphological grounds that the primarily fungicolous Helminthosphaeriacae appeared to be indistinguishable from Lasiosphaeriaceae; it will be interesting to see if future molecular studies can confirm that hypothesis.
Four keys to the species are provided, with main divisions based primarily on perithecial vestitures (the terminology of which is discussed and illustrated). Species descriptions are accompanied by two full-colour pages of illustrations, one of exquisite coloured drawings and the other of colour photographs, including ones in phase and differential interference contrast, and showing details of not just features of value in identification, but also germinating spores, ascus tip structures, and asexual morphs, along with details of the peridial wall structures (including cephalothecoid plates in some taxa) and vesitures.
Eight genera and 39 species, of which 12 are newly described, are treated: Bombardia (1 species), Cercophora (9), Echinosphaeria (10), Helminthosphaeria (4), Hilberina (5), Iodosphaeria (2), Lasiosphaeria (7), and Rimaconus (1). That 31 % of the species proved to be new on the basis of field work in just two countries suggests that there are very many more species awaiting discovery in the family. This study is so well-illustrated that it should serve to stimulate field mycologists as well as professionals to take an interest in these poorly known fungi. All those working on fungi occurring on dung or dead wood should try and secure a copy.
The whole is superbly produced, as we have now come to expect of CBS, but attention is drawn on the website to the inevitable minor slips all works seem to have despite hours of proof-reading; these are reproduced belowFootnote 1 (so those with copies can annotate them accordingly.
Atlas of Chinese Macrofungal Resources. By Li Yu, Li Taihui, Yang Zhuliang, Bau Tolgor, and Dai Yucheng. 2015. Central China Farmers Publishing House, Zhengzhou, People’s Republic of China. Pp. 50 + 1,351, illustrated. [In Chinese with English brief.]ISBN 978-7-5542-1256-1. Price: 1480.00 ¥ [approx. 198 €].
Macrofungi are utilized more in China than anywhere in the world. They are not just a crucial part of the rural economy and rural diets, but also an important part of international trade in several Provinces. While a few species are cultivated on an industrial scale, most are harvested from nature and are sold in local markets. The total number of species utilized is unknown, but a staggering 1,819 fungi are discussed in this major new book, and lavishly illustrated in full colour. The number of genera represented is enormous, at 509. Further, 370 species are ones described from, and with the name-bearing types coming from, China. Colour photographs of many of these have not previously been made so widely available. That 260 of the species included were first described and published by the authors is a great tribute to their personal contribution to the knowledge of macrofungal resources in China.
The first part of the book covers the history and practice of naming macrofungi, an overview of the major habitats of interest in China, characters used in identification, and the overall taxonomic system used with the positions of treated genera indicated. The species are grouped into ten sections: larger ascomycetes; jelly fungi; coral fungi; polyporoid, hydnaceous and thelephoroid fungi; cantharelloid fungi; agarics; boletes; gasteroid fungi; larger pathogenc fungi on crops; and larger myxomycetes. The categories of sporophores in each are illustrated for quick guidance to the correct portion of the Atlas. Considering that even myxomycetes are covered, it was surprising not also to find at least a selection of the 126 macrolichens used in food and medicine in China (Wang & Quian 2013) included; that is, however, understandable, as that would have increased the size of the volume considerably.
Several macrophotographs are provided for most species to show their ranges of variation, including ones orientated to show the underside or sections where appropriate. Some are accorded a doublepage spread. There are no illustrations of microscopic features, but measurements of spores and some other structures can be picked out from the Chinese text. In order to assist those unfamiliar with mycological terms, a glossary of 124 terms with Chinese equivalents is included. A bibliography of 417 titles is also provided. Chinese and international scientific names are provided, and I was pleased to see it stated that the species figured were evidenced by voucher specimens, something lacking in so many field guides. The nomenclature seems well up-to-date, and I note that they have opted to retain Ganoderma lingzhi rather than G. sichuanense for the lingzhi mushroom. Different colour codes are used to indicate the sections in the book to facilitate quick reference.
The whole is superbly produced, with a flexible cover which enables open pages even in the middle of the book to lie flat when open, and is issued in a protective hard cardboard box to ensure it can be transported with minimal risk of damage. Considering the size of the volume, and lavish production, the price is rather reasonable. It will be a major asset to all those wishing to utilize the macrofungal resources of China who can manage to obtain copies, even if they have little or no previous knowledge of fungi, and it can be expected to result in an upsurge in their use. In addition, mycologists around the world may be able to find here photographs of macrofungi described from China belonging to genera they are researching. All centres dealing with macrofungal identification and utilization, not only in Chinas but throughout the world, will find it a most valuable addition to their resources.
Only books published within the previous 12 months are normally included in Book News. An exception is made here as in drawing attention to Philatelic Mycology: families of fungi (Marasas et al., CBS Biodiversity Series no. 14, 2014) I had not encountered this gem of mycological philately when commenting on that work (IMA Fungus 5(1): (19–(20), June 2014) — and nor does it appear to have been known to the compilers of the 2014 book. The two works do, however, complement each other in that the Chinese book has the stamps arranged by country rather than fungal families. They note that by October 2010, 1141 species of fungi from 267 genera had been figured on stamps. In a Preface addressed to “Mushroom Pickers in the Postal Sea”, Yu Li, an academician and one of the foremost mycologists in China, comments that he long cherished the idea of publishing a “mushroom philatelic item, which is better than the foreigner’s”. It took the authors 15 years to compile, and is surely now the reference work for philatelic mycology. The illustrations show the sets, and seem to have been derived from a variety of sources, including scans sent by colleagues around the world. Scientific names and synonyms are given, and there is a cross-index to scientific names at the end, but no systematic arrangement as in the 2014 work. If you are a fungal stamp collector, I am sure you would regard this as a “must have”. The book is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
1Page 3 line 17: New genera (Immersella and Lasiosphaeria) have been erected…”, should read: “New genera (Immersella and Lasiosphaeris have been erected…”
Page 13: under the heading Lasiosphaeria hirsuta (Fr.) Ces. & De Not.: the synonym Lasiosphaeria hirsuta (Fr.) A.N. Mill. & Huhndorf (2004a), should be Lasiosphaeris hirsuta (Fr.) A.N. Mill. & Huhndorf(2004a)…
Page 17: under the heading Lasiosphaeria hispida- same mistake in the synonym as before where Miller & Huhndorf’s genus for this species should also Lasiosphaeris.
Page 22: L. megaimmersa would be placed in the genus Lasiosphaeris by Miller & Huhndorf.
Field Studies in the Lasiosphaeriaceae and Helminthosphaeriaceae sensu lato. By Ann Bell and Daniel P. Mahoney. 2016. CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Pp. 124, 80 figs (78 col.). [CBS Biodiversity Series no. 15.1 ISBN 978-94-91751-05-9. Price: 30 €.
Stamps Collection on Mushroom & Lichen Worldwide (1958–2010). Edited by Hui Zheng and Zesheng Wang. 2011. China Agricultural Press, Beijing, People’s Republic of China. Pp. 338, illustrated. [In Chinese with some English.] ISBN 978-7-109-15540-4. Price: 128.00 ¥ [approx. 17 €].
Bell A (1983) Dung Fungi: an illustrated guide to coprophilous fungi in New Zealand. Wellington: Victoria University Press.
Bell A (2005) An Illustrated Guide to the Coprophilous Ascomycetes of Australia [CBS Biodiversity Series No. 3.] Utrecht: CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre.
Wang L-S, Qian Z-G (2013) [Illustrated Medicinal Lichens of China]. Beijing: Huayu Book Trade.