Alabama Mushroom Society


Free Photo Of Books On Wooden Shelves Stock Photo

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 or where they are often much cheaper, if they are available. 


These books cover general interest across the US or North America (or a large enough portion to warrant placement here)

Mushrooms Demystified

Mushrooms Demystified 

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: A Mushroom Reference Guide (Corrie Herring Hooks)

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 (A Timber Press Field Guide)

Mushrooms of the Southeast 

By Todd Elliott and Steven Stephenson, this is a decent guide to some of our more common species.

Edible Wild Mushroom Foraging & Identification  

Presented by the Alabama Mushroom Society 

By Anthoni Goodman. This book covers the most easily identified edible mushrooms found in Alabama and neighboring states so that you can know this select list inside and out. 220 pages with over 500 pictures. 

Appalachian Mushrooms: A Field Guide
Appalachian Mushrooms: A Field Guide  

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. 

Mushrooms of the Gulf Coast States 

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: A Color Guide to the Fleshy Pored 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.

Tricholomas of North America 

By Alan BessetteArleen BessetteWilliam Roody, and Steven Trudell. Covering the large genus Tricholoma with over 100 species and color panels. 

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.

A Mushroom Word Guide  

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!

Amanitas of North America by Britt Bunyard
Amanitas of North America

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. 

How to Identify Mushrooms to Genus III: Microscopic Features
How to Identify Mushrooms to Genus III: Microscopic Features

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.