Alabama Mushroom Society


We're commonly asked what books we recommend, so here's some of our favorites.
 We do not receive any compensation for these recommendations, we just want you to have a list of quality publications. This list is organized by category and the books are listed in no particular order.  

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. 

*We do not sell any of these books, but 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. 

Generalized North America
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

Another great, but very dated guide. The keys used to determine identification in this books is pretty good, but not excellent. Many names have been changed or determined to be a separate species since this was published in 1981. There is an updated Audubon guide in the works to be published soon.

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

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

This guide by Walter Sturgeon is a great go-to for Appalachian eco-regions.

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 .

Special Interest
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.