Paul Stamets is a legendary observer of the fungi kingdom, and has been, ever since his first encounter with mushrooms as a forester some 30 years ago. They soon took over his imagination. Over the years Stamets wrote a series of beautiful books which generously informed an increasingly fungi-philic public on every step of his investigations into the life-form of mushrooms: their growth and cultivation, their phenomenal reach and expansive properties, their potential in medicine and environmental re-mediation strategies, and their key role as decomposers.
In his latest book Mycelium Running Stamets draws our attention to the wondrous underground fungal network of Mycelium. You can sense his awe:
"......Mycelium is the neurological network of nature....interlacing mosaics........ information-sharing membranes.....in constant molecular communication with its environment...."
Stamets compares the mycelium networks and growth patterns to the internet, the brain, dark matter and archetypal spirals such as galaxies and hurricanes.
From his awe comes an interest in seeking the mycelium as a conscious human alley:
"....enlisting fungi as allies we can offset the environmental damage.....we can come into balance with nature using mycelium to regulate the flow of nutrients....the age of mycological medicine is upon us. Now is the time to ensure the future of our planet and our species by partnering, or running with mycelium."
From this inspiring arc of insight Stamets proceeds to examine the expanding role and use of Mycelium and mushrooms in forestry, filtration, soil restauration, mico remediation, mycopesticides, cultivation, mycelium companion gardening.
Stamets ends with "magnificent mushrooms: the cast of species" --kind of a a who is who in mushroom land and how to cultivate and use them.
This is a great book and I haven't even mentioned the wealth of photographs and illustrations. Paul Stamets has no doubt grown into the foremost mushroom authority and has inspired millions to open their eyes to a distant but close ancestor: the humble mushroom.