There are so many choices for mushroom identification books that it's hard to know where to start.  The first tip is to get one as local as possible.  Usually these are smaller books with fewer species, but beginners get overwhelmed quickly with too much information. By picking several of the most common mushrooms you see and finding them in a book, you are off to a good start in learning to identify. 

All Color Book of Mushrooms and Fungi

Moira Savonius (1973) ISBN: 706401921

The strange and beautiful world of mushrooms and fungi is described in this book. Attractively illustrated in 104 color photographs, there are edible mushrooms, with hints on the cooking them.


All That the Rain Promises and More

David Arora

Over 200 edible and poisonous mushrooms are depicted with simple checklists of their identifying features, as David Arora celebrates the fun in fungi with the same engaging bend of wit and wisdom, fact and fancy, that has made his comprehensive guide, Mushrooms Demystified, the mushroom hunter’s bible.

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Bird's Nest Fungi (The)

Harold J. Brodie (1975) ISBN: 0-8020-5307-6

The intriguing Bird’s Nest Fungi (Nidulariaceae) of forest, meadow, and garden have been familiar to botanists since 1601, but only relatively recently has the significance of their peculiar form been realized. Dr Brodie traces the long controversy that arose when Bird’s Nest Fungi were first classified as seed plants because of the numerous seed-like bodies contained in their small cup-shaped fruit bodies. The ‘seeds’ are now known to contain spores like those of other fungi such as puffballs, to which the Nidulariaceae are related. Present-day research has shown that certain Bird’s Nest Fungi produce chemicals having previously unrecognized molecular structure. Between these milestones Dr Brodie reveals the solution to the mystery of the dispersal of the ‘eggs’ from the ‘bird’s nest’: the fruit bodies are splash guns from which the reproductive spores are ejected by the force of falling raindrops. This explanation of the phenomenon is supported by copious observations and hitherto unpublished experiments. All known species of Nidulariaceae, including many only recently recognized, are described in this volume. All aspects of growth, structure, development, and life-cycle of these fungi, both in nature and in laboratory culture, are reported in a modern, comprehensive treatment of a subject which is of interest not only to mycologists but to amateur naturalists as well.


California Mushrooms 1970-1980

H. Saylor and P. Vergeer ISBN: 0-918942-01-2


California Toxic Fungi

Thomas J. Duffy, MD and Paul P. Vergeer (1977) ISBN: 0-918942-00-4

This pamphlet compliments other standard reference books by detailing the various types of poisoning caused by certain mushrooms. It will be of particular value to physicians who are confronted with this complex problem, because it explains clearly the symptoms and varied methods of treatment according to the type of toxin ingested. It is also a dynamic reminder to the amateur pot-hunter about the potential danger involved if he is not certain of his identification of an edible mushroom. Most of the species mentioned here also occur in others areas of the United States and Europe, and this booklet will therefore be of general value.


Chanterelle - A Rocky Mountain Mushroom Book

Millie Miller and Cyndi Nelson (1986)

A unique little book with recipes for a variety of mushrooms found in the Rocky Mountains. Delightful illustrations


Collecting and Studying Mushrooms, Toadstools and Fungi

Alan Major (1975) ISBN: 0-668-03725-3


Color Treasury of Mushrooms and Toadstools

Uberto Tosco (1973)


Concise Illustrated Book of Mushrooms and Other Fungi (The)

David Pegler (1989) ISBN: 0-8317-6193-8

Shows and describes the characteristics, distribution, and edibility of more than thirty varieties of mushrooms.


Ecology and Management of Commercially Harvested Chanterelle Mushrooms

David Pilz, et al. (2003)

During the last two decades, the chanterelle mushroom harvest from Pacific Northwest forests has become a multimillion dollar industry, yet managers, harvesters, and scientists lack a current synthesis of information about chanterelles. We define chanterelles and then discuss North American species, their place among chanterelle species around the world, international markets for chanterelles, our current understanding of the organism, reasons for declining production in parts of Europe, and efforts to cultivate chanterelles. Shifting focus back to chanterelles of the Pacific Northwest, we describe our species, regional forest management issues, recent studies, and future research and monitoring needed to sustain this prized resource.


Ecology and Management of Morels Harvested From the Forests of Western NA

David Pilz, et al. (2007)

Morels are prized edible mushrooms that fruit, sometimes prolifically, in many forest types throughout western North America. They are collected for personal consumption and commercially harvested as valuable special (nontimber) forest products. Large gaps remain, however, in our knowledge about their taxonomy, biology, ecology, cultivation, safety, and how to manage forests and harvesting activities to conserve morel populations and ensure sustainable crops. This publication provides forest managers, policymakers, mycologists, and mushroom harvesters with a synthesis of current knowledge regarding these issues, regional summaries of morel harvesting and management, and a comprehensive review of the literature.


Field Guide to Mushrooms and Their Relatives (A)

Booth Courtenay and Harold Burdsall, Jr. (1982) ISBN: 0-422-23117-2

Identifies more than three hundred of the most common mushrooms and fungi, warns of poisonous species, and explains how to collect edible mushrooms.


Growing Wild Mushrooms - A Complete Guide to Cultivating Edible and Hallucinogenic Mushroo

Bob Harris (1976) ISBN: 0-914728-17-2

A complete beginner’s guide to growing mushrooms. Step-by-step instructions, with drawings and photographs—16 in full color, introduce the novice to the full range of growing methods, from sterile culture procedures—the basis of all tissue culture cloning techniques—to indoor bottle gardens to indoor/outdoor compost gardens. Includes a section on producing small quantities of precisely-mixed compost indoors and a taxonomy of selected psilocybin-containing mushrooms.


Guide to Western Mushrooms

J.E. Underhill (1979) ISBN: 0-88839-031-9

This an informative book on identifying the different kinds of mushrooms from the west. Mushrooms have attracted and intrigued mankind through the ages. Their hallucinogenic properties of others, contrasting so sharply with the delicious flavors that certain wholesome varieties bring to our tables, all lead us to view these strange plants with special curiosity and wonder. Most people seem to want to know first if a strange mushroom is edible or dangerous. This small book is a guide to some of the most common mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest, and it identifies some of these as safe varieties for the beginner to eat. It also tries to go beyond that to generate awareness of the various vital roles the mushrooms play in the community of life and to spark an interest in their fascinating variations and adaptations.The full story of the importance of mushrooms in the plant world is far from being understood today, and only a little of it can be stated here. The mushrooms that you see is a 'fruiting body', roughly equivalent to the fruit of other plants. The vegetative part of the mushroom plant is a thready mass hidden within the material it feeds upon - a log, cow dung, buried wood, an insect pupa or whatever. Mushrooms do not contain or need green chlorophyll, the substance which, in higher plants, captures the energy of sunlight to create biological energy. Mushrooms, like all the great groups of fungi to which they belong, get their energy second-hand. Many form beneficial partnerships with the trees of our forests and are essential to their well-being. No mushroom is either good or bad in the natural community of life.


Introduction to Mushroom Hunting

Vera K. Charles (1974) ISBN: 0-486-20667

The study of the wild mushrooms of the woods and fields will appeal to the amateur collector and the lover of nature, as well as to the scientist with an interest in the field. The beautiful colours and textures displayed by these fungi provide an immense attraction to the artistic, while the more practical minded are interested in their culinary applications; to the more advanced student, the variety in form and detail of microscopic investigation offers an unlimited area of study. This fascinating book offers a comprehensive treatise on all of these topics, and anybody interested in mushrooms and their uses will find great value contained herein. The chapters of this book cover the main families of common mushroom and include: Danger from Poisonous Fungi, Agaricaceae, Polyporaceae, Hydnaceae, Clariaceae, Phallaceae, Lycoperdaceae, and Ascomycetes. This scarce book has been elected for republication because of its immense educational value, and is proudly republished here with a new introduction to the subject.


McIlvainea - Journal of American Amateur Mycology

NAMA - Vol9. No.2 (1990) ISBN: 0099-8400


Meandering Mushroomer (The)

Dick Graham (1993)


Morel - A Lifetime Pursuit

V.V. "Tommy" Thompson (1994)

A captivating mix of biography and adventure, MOREL, A LIFETIME PURSUIT is fun to read--the best book of its kind. Morel hunters will sympathize with V. V. Thompson's quest for the elusive morel and they will relish what he has captured in his memoirs. Reading the recipes. I couldn't help gazing out the window, looking for the first hint of spring and anticipating morel season. The book includes some of the author's favorite recipes for cooking and eating wild morels.


Morel Hunter's Companion - Guide to True and False Morels (A)

Nancy Smith Weber (1995) ISBN: 1-882376-16-1


Mushroom Hunter's Field Guide (The)

Alexander H. Smith and Nancy Smith Weber (1980) ISBN: 0-472-85610-3

The Mushroom Hunter's Field Guide is the guide that tells when, where, and how to find delicious edible mushrooms and how to avoid poisonous ones. Beginners as well as experts will be able to identify mushrooms in a matter of minutes. All of the mushrooms included are illustrated in beautiful color, adding visual enjoyment to the textual materials. The descriptions are tinged with wit and wisdom, making the use of this guide an enjoyable and rewarding experience. This edition of The Mushroom Hunter's Field Guide should be useful throughout the United States and Canada, but users should remember that each region has certain species peculiar to it, and it is impossible to include all of them here. The coverage is best for the Northeast, Great Lakes region, Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific Northwest. It includes most of the truly fine edible wild mushrooms, whether they are common or rare. It also includes the most dangerous ones in order that collectors may recognize them for what they are.


Mushroom Madness - From the Wild to the Table

Terri Mandell, et al. (1984)


Mushroom Pocket Guide

Howard E. Bigelow (1974) ISBN: 0-02062200-7

A carry-along knapsack reference for the novice mushroom hunter. Concise and reliable, this book covers 61 different kinds of fleshy fungi - some that are delicious to eat and others that are just beautiful to look at (and deadly poisonous). Identification of types is made possible even for those who have never hunted mushrooms and all aspects of collecting are discussed.

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Mushroom Poisoning in the Pacific Northwest

Puget Sopund Mycological Society (1972)



Albert Pilat (1960)

From dust jacket flap: To most people the mushroom is known mainly as a food or garnishing, which in the hands of an expert chef is a source of delectation. To them it will come as a surprise to learn of the extent, complexity and interest of fungi, the branch of vegetable life to which mushrooms belong. This is an Oversize Folio book which contains a section of comprehensive up-to-date selection of mushrooms which assists you in learning about mushrooms and also contains and atlas of mushrooms.


Mushrooms - Natures Major Protein Food

G. J. Binding (1972) ISBN: 722501951

The book outlines the history of the mushroom. Investigates the nutritional ingredients and healing powers. There is a chapter on how to grow them. A chapter with a wide variety of recipes of how to use when cooking.


Mushrooms - Wild and Edible

Vincent Marteka (1980) ISBN: 0-393-01356-1

Identifies edible mushrooms readily found in the wild according to their season, and offers .recipes for preparing them


Mushrooms and Other Common Fungi of Southern California

Robet T. and Dorothy B. Orr (1968)


Mushrooms and Other Common Fungi of the San Francisco Bay Region

Robert T. and Dorothy B. Orr (1971) ISBN: 0-520-00977-0


Mushrooms as Health Foods

Kisaku Mori (1974) ISBN: 0-87040-332


Mushrooms Demystified

David Arora, Ten Speed Press (1986) ISBN: 0-89815-169-4

Simply the best and most complete mushroom field guide and reference book, MUSHROOMS DEMYSTIFIED includes descriptions and keys to more than 2,000 species of mushrooms, with more than 950 photographs. Mushroom authority David Arora provides a beginner's checklist of the 70 most distinctive and common mushrooms, plus detailed chapters on terminology, classification, habitats, mushroom cookery, mushroom toxins, and the meanings of scientific mushroom names. Beginning and experienced mushroom hunters everywhere will find MUSHROOMS DEMYSTIFIED a delightful, informative, and indispensable companion.


Mushrooms in Color

Orson K. Miller, Jr and Hope H. Miller (1980) ISBN: 0-525-93190-0

Illustrates and describes the characteristics and habitats of various species of North American mushrooms, focusing on morels, puffballs, boletes, polypores, chanterelles, gilled fungi, and other edible species.


Mushrooms of North America

Orson K. Miller, Jr. (1978) ISBN: 0-525-47482


Mushrooms of Northern California (The)

David Biek (1984) ISBN: 9612022009

Identification/Field Guides: densely packed with mushroom information including many hand drawings. Focusing on Northern California.


Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest

Revised Edition, Steve Trudell (2022) ISBN: 978-1643260860

In Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest, Steve Trudell describes and illustrates 493 species of the most conspicuous, distinctive, and ecologically important mushrooms found in Oregon, Washington, southern British Columbia, Idaho, and western Montana. With helpful identification keys and photographs and a clear, color-coded layout, Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest is ideal for hikers, foragers, and natural history buffs and is the perfect tool for loving where you live.

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Mushrooms of Western North America

Robert T. and Dorothy B. Orr (1980) ISBN: 978-0520036567

The authors give full reliable descriptions for over 300 species of mushroom. Another 123 species are described by comparisons adequate for identification.

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New Savory Wild Mushroom (The)

Margaret McKinney (1987) ISBN: 978-0295964805

"He hunts only at the crack of dawn and wears his shirt inside out. To ask why is to ask why fire burns. His credo may be stated thus: he has sworn an oath to keep his mushroom patches secret and to find and to poach on the patches of other hunters. When mushrooms are the prize, the scope of all his aspirations is narrowed to these two goals. Though in all else he may be as Saintly as St. Francis, in the pursuit of these ends he is more Satanic than Satan. He will betray his nearest and dearest without the slightest twitch of flesh or spirit. He is amoral."--Definition of a mushroom hunter by Angelo Pellegrini This classic field guide answers the amateur mycologist's two most important questions: "What is it?" and "Is it good to eat?" Color photographs illustrate 199 species of mushrooms ranging from boletes to puffballs, chantrelles to truffles. Full descriptions clearly identify the edible or poisonous qualities of each.

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One Thousand American Fungi

Charles McIlvaine and Robert K. Macadam (1973)

Details the characteristics of poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms, and includes guidelines for the cultivation and preparation of edible species.


Peterson Field Guide - Mushrooms

Kent. H and Vera B. McKnight (1987) ISBN: 0-395-42102-0

Uses drawings and detailed descriptions to identify more than a thousand species of mushrooms, and indicates which are edible, and which are poisonous.


Some Edible Mushrooms and How To Cook Them

Nian Lane Faubion (1972)

If you like to gather mushrooms, study them, or eat them -- you will want this informal, practical guide to nearly one-hundred edible species and one hundred savory recipes. All are described in simple, non-technical language. Over two-hundred photographs and drawings, many in full color. Glossary. Index. Two-hundred pages. Whether you like to go afield for your edible mushrooms -- or to your favorite grocer -- this handbook will introduce you to a hundred delicious species, and a hundred ways to prepare them.


Totally Mushroom Cookbook

Helene Siegel and Karen Gillingham (1994) ISBN: 89087-727-0

Shiitake, oyster, porcini, chanterelle… whether you like your mushrooms wild or tamed, you’ll find plenty to eat in this pocket-size book on fabulous fungi, with recipes such as Mushroom Quesadillas, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Wild Mushroom Pizza, and Veal Chops with Morel Cream.


Treasures from the Kingdom of Fungi

Taylor F. Lockwood (2008) ISBN: 978-0-9709449-0-0

A tribute to mushrooms and other fungi from around the world, Treasures from the Kingdom of Fungi showcases Taylor Lockwood's world-class photography. Grouped by appearance and characteristics with sections including a "A Touch of Glass," "Magic Carpets and Spore Gardens," and "The Wild, Weird, and the Wonderful," Treasures showcases fungi shot in Russia, Finland, Sweden, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, India, Switzerland, Japan, and United States.


Twelve Mushroom Hunts in Western Washington

Don Downing (1984) ISBN: 0-930180-07-0