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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth De Cicco

Stokes Foray and Broad Street Books

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

This past weekend, there was a mushroom foray at Stokes. The weather hasn't been great for mushrooms, so we didn't find much. My best find of the day was a slime mold growing on a log, which isn't a fungus at all. Some mycologists study slime molds, but they are free-living eukaryotic organisms.

After making some identifications, we had plans to visit some other places in the area. One of our stops was Broad Street Books. We tend to find some unique botany reference books at used bookstores, and this was no exception. We asked the owner to show us the environmental science section, but botany books were in the "gardening section" and bird books were in the "pets" section. Perhaps saved by categorization, we left with some pretty nice finds. I bought North American Species of Hygrophorus (1963) and A Field Guide to the Ferns (1963).

The Hygrophorus or wax cap book was published before Fungi were given their own kingdom. I attended an online lecture this year about a wax-cap specialist working on genetic testing. New species are being named and others are being reclassified, but this is still the only published book on the subject.

Every fern in the field guide has an illustration with roots. There is a very nice section in the front of the book with silhouettes of each fern, making it easy to identify the ferns quickly by the shape of the blade. I found other copies online for less than $10. In comparison, New Jersey Ferns and Fern Allies, which is also out of print, can go for $70. The illustrator was Laura Louise Foster. Laura and her husband were members of the American Rock Garden Society and early native plant gardeners in Connecticut.

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