One of the real difficulties for amateur mushroom hunters is deciding how to get started. While many rely on local "experts", others prefer to learn it for themselves, but then they have to decide which books they can trust to get started with. Well, I have some suggestions which may help, and some annotations concerning my dozen best selections. These, again are the opinion of a mid-range amateur, and the way you value books may differ considerably from mine. I will also confess some prejudice in favor of the first books from which I learned identification skills.
I have some personal standards for preferred books, listed below in roughly decreasing importance. You might be surprised to see me including some older Dover reprints, but those older books relied a lot more on good descriptions than they did on photos. Watch out, though for nomenclature changes: One of our family favorites, commonly called "blewits", or "wood blewit" has been known variously as "lepista nuda", "tricholoma nudum", "tricholoma personatum", "rhodopaxillus nuda", "gyrophila nuda", and "clitocybe nuda", the latter being the most popular of late.
|Mushrooms Demystified||David Arora||Ten Speed||1986||2000||90%||pix mostly b/w, text entertaining, good differentiation, excellent tech ref's|
|Mushroom Hunter's Field Guide||Smith & Weber||U Mich||1980||282||83%||rigid key, good beginners info|
|Mushrooms of North America||Orson K Miller||Dutton||1977||422||75%||good key, good pix, good charact, weak rules|
|Foraging for Edible Wild Mushrooms||Haard & Haard||Cloudburst||1978||36||75%||rigid key, good beginners info, mostly b/w pix, good differentiation, too few species|
|The Mushroom Manual||Lorentz C. Pearson||Naturegraph||1987||300||71%||good key, good beginners info, b/w sketches, good for beginners, good differentiation|
|The Gilled Mushrooms of Michigan (two vol's)||C.H. Kauffman||Dover||(1918)||884||69%||good key, b/w photos, fair differentiation, unique characteristics|
|Mushrooms (Peterson Field Guide)||McKnight & McKnight||Houghton Mifflin||1987||500||68%||no key, color sketches, good differentiation, good rules|
|Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms||Gary Lincoff||Knopf||1981||756||61%||pictorial key, good color photos, good differentiation|
|Macmillan Field Guide Mushrooms||Bessette & Sundberg||Macmillan||1987||200||55%||no key, color photos, good differentiation, good rules, spore data|
|Mushrooms of North America||Roger Phillips||Little Brown||1991||1000||50%||fair key, color photos, no differentiation|
|One Thousand American Fungi||McIlvane & Macadam||Dover||(1902)||1000||50%||fair key, b/w sketches, little differentiation, fair on unique features|
|Simon & Schuster's Guide to Mushrooms||Gary Lincoff||Fireside||1981||420||49%||good key, good color photos, admixes European species|
|photos and artwork
© Ralph Czerepinski