Andrus Voitk pens new mushroom book
Archived Articles 02 Nov 2007  EWR
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Andrus Voitk. A Little Illustrated Book of Common Mushrooms of Newfoundland and Labrador. Gros Morne Cooperating Association, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9699509-4-3

Andrus Voitk has written and compiled the first book to deal with the mushrooms of Newfoundland & Labrador, recently published by The Gros Morne Cooperating Association. The new 272-page, pocket-sized field guide comes hard on the heels of Andrus and Maria Voitk’s “Orchids on the Rock: the wild orchids of Newfoundland” (See Estonian Life #10, March 9, 2007).

As the author told Corner Brook newspaper The Western Star’s Gary Kean in an interview published on October 27, he hopes that his field guide will stimulate interest in mushrooms and help amateurs identify and learn more about these fleshy fungi.

When it comes to estimates of mushroom species numbers, “nobody really knows how many there are,” Voitk told Kean.
“The reasonable estimates range between 2,000 and 8,000 in Newfoundland alone and there are an estimated 10,000 in North America. The fact the upper scale of these estimates is four times as much as the lower end indicates we know very little about mushrooms.”

Kean writes that “Voitk cautions that the word common can mean different things to different mushroom enthusiasts. One definition of common is a mushroom that tends to be encountered in a particular place every year. Common could also refer to those species of which many collections are brought in during mushroom forays in a given year, even though that doesn’t guarantee that mushroom will appear in the following season.”

Common “could also describe a mushroom which grows regularly in certain habitats not often frequented by humans, such as an inaccessible wet bog, underneath a shrouding alder thicket or atop a remote barren landscape. Even if people rarely encounter it, if it grows in those isolated spots each year, it should be considered common.”

“One of the beauties is, when you go out, you always see something you haven’t seen before and it becomes sort of a detective game to find out what it is,” said Voitk. “When we do our forays, we have about 50 people in the bush for two days looking for whatever they can find. We usually come up with about 200 species. So, if we can only find 200 of 8,000 species after a relatively major effort, clearly most of them are uncommon.”

The world of mushrooms is one open to people of all ages. As Andrus quipped in the interview, “I can still sneak up on a mushroom.”

As with his orchid book, Voitk provided the Gros Morne Cooperating Association the manuscript for this latest field guide. They printed and distribute the book, with proceeds going back to the society in its support of Gros Morne National Park. (See the article “Announcing a new mushroom book” here on our website, posted in Articles in English, October 31, for order information.)
(Ref. TWS/GK)
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