Mushrooms and Toadstools by John Ramsbottom

Published by Bloomsbury, 1977, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.

Condition: Very Good in Good Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper with a short closed, but slightly untidy, tear to the foot of the upper panel. Previous owners’ inscription to the first blank.

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Later Printing. Illustrated with black and white photographs. From the cover: Britains neglect of fungi as table delicacies has perhaps been responsible for our surprising ignorance of the natural history of such fascinating plants. Puff-balls, more than a foot in diameter; moulds in j am-pots; dry rot; truffles; these are examples of the wide range of the Phylum, comprising some 100,000 species. Many are of economic importance for example, the rusts that attack wheat and other crops, and the yeasts which ferment beer and there are others of great biological interest, such as the mycorrhizal fungi which live in association with the roots of forest trees, orchids and other plants, and help them to absorb food from the soil. Penicillin, of course, has become a household word, and this books final chapter on the industry is one of the best short accounts of the subject yet written.

Dr Ramsbottom was for many years Keeper of Botany at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, and devoted his life to the study of fungi in all their aspects. He was equally at home in the field, the laboratory and in the library. One of the special features of Mushrooms and Toadstools is the wealth of historical allusion to fungi extracted from old books. In fairy rings, science and superstition have gone hand in hand to produce a lively story of alternating surmise and research and even today a full and final explanation of these mysterious rings has not yet been made.

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