We're often asked what books are best to start with. There are many options so here are some of our favorites. The list is organized by category and we do not receive compensation for any but one book (the one with our name on it!). All of the books on this list have been vetted by leadership so that you know you're getting a good one!
The decision of which book(s) you should purchase will be based on your interests and how deep you'd like to dive into this hobby. A general book can only cover so many species, book covering more narrow topics are usually more inclusive.
You can learn more about (and buy) our book here, for the rest the images provided will link to Amazon, where they are usually available. Its also worth checking to see if there is a second hand copy available at www.abebooks.com or www.thriftbooks.com where they are often much cheaper, if they are available.
GENERALIZED NORTH AMERICA
These books cover general interest across the US or North America (or a large enough portion to warrant placement here)
By David Aurora. This tome has been called the gospel of mushroom identification. While many entries are dated in classification, no other book has nearly the range of information that this book does. We highly recommend this book for those seeking to both learn about mushrooms/fungi and ID them. However, it does not contain any color photos and be sure to cross reference specie's names, as many have been updated since the release of the most up to date edition of this guide from 1986.
Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms
The updated Audubon guide, published April 11, 2023. Last published in 1981, so there are many changes to reflect accurate classification, based on DNA sequencing and other advancements. Includes nearly 3000 full-color photographs.
Ascomycete Fungi of North America
By Michael Beug, Alan Bessette and Arleen Bessette. Since Ascomycetes account for >75% of all 'mushrooms' this book is included here rather than under the special interests.
These books focus on the eco-regions that are present in Alabama
Mushrooms of the Southeast
By Todd Elliott and Steven Stephenson, this is a decent guide to some of our more common species.
This guide by Walter Sturgeon is a great go-to for Appalachian eco-regions - especially those mountain and forested portions of Appalachia and the Piedmont.
A Field Guide to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
The latest book by the Bessette's and Lewis that focuses on the gulf-states.
These books will cover specific types or aspects of mushrooms.
North American Boletes
This is the older guide to boletes by Alan Bessette, William Roody and Arleen Bessette (authors we highly recommend) which spans North America.
Boletes of Eastern North America
This is the newer, but more focused bolete book by the Bessettes and William Roody that is as gorgeous as it is informative. A must-have for bolete enthusiasts.
Waxcap Mushrooms of Eastern North America
By Alan Bessette, William Roody, Walter Sturgeon, and Arleen Bessette. A focus on members of the Hygrophoraceae family, commonly known as waxcaps which are often visually stunning, just like the images in this book.
By Robert Hallock. An excellent book covering the etymology, pronunciation, and meanings of over 1,500 words that are related to mushrooms and fungi. The more you know about the words, the easier it will be to learn them!
By Britt Bunyard and Jay Justice. Discover the Amanitas of North America! Amanitas arguably are the most recognized and fascinating of all mushrooms. Amanita species mostly are big and showy, and ubiquitous over most of the planet wherever terrestrial plants grow. These mushrooms have been the subject of lore, make the news headlines with regularity, and Amanitas have even changed the course of world history.
By David Largent, David Johnson and Roy Watling. With so few English titles that focus on fungal microscopy, this book stands apart as a necessary reference on microscopic features of mushrooms, techniques and materials.