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Brook

The BEST field guides?

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What is your favorite mushroom field guide???

I am looking to expand on my Mushroom Books, and I am not sure which ones I should get first, or if I even need them?

I currently have 'All the Rain Promises...' and 'Mushrooms Demystified'... which I am sure you are all familiar with.

My local Mycological Society uses several reference books in addition to the ones I own, they are listed on their website, and the books I might be interested in are as follows;

~ Mushrooms of Western Canada - Helene M. E Schalkwyk

~ Mushrooms of the boreal forest - Eugene F Bossenmaier

~ National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms

~ Mushrooms of North America - Roger Phillips

Does anyone have any experience with any of these books? I live in Alberta (Calgary) so I am close to the Rocky Mountains, so if you know of any books great for my area (west) that are not on the above list, please feel free to suggest it!!!

...Also saw this book on Amazon and I am thinking about purchasing it:

Field Guide to North American Truffles: Hunting, Identifying, and Enjoying the World's Most Prized Fungi

Matt Trappe (Author), Frank Evans (Author), James M. Trappe (Author)

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For the western side of North America, I think it Arora's books may be the best. However, MD is a bit short on color photos. Audubon is full of good info, and there's plenty of photos. My favorite books are:

Audubon

Mushrooms of Northeastern North America by Bessette, Bessette, Fischer

Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Appalacian Region by Roody

Mushrooms of North America by Phillips. Actually, one may access the Phillips manual online at

http://www.rogersmushrooms.com/gallery/default~GID~253~chr~a.asp

Mushroom Demystified by Arora

And, another good online source is Michael Kuo's Mushroom Expert. http://mushroomexpert.com/

My first manual was Mushrooms of North America by Orson K. Miller.

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I have heard that 'Mushrooms of Western Canada' is really good, but it is illustrations, not photos.... what does everyone think of trying to ID from an illustration? I am not sure I trust it as much?

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In some ways, illustrations can be more useful than photos... because an illustrator has the freedom to accentuate specific ID characters, whereas a photo can only show what it shows. Personally, I prefer a good photo because I think it better gets across the "gestalt" of particular mushroom type.

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Brook, In my opinion most folks need way fewer books and guides than they think they do, so here is my version of a recommendation...

1)Go visit your local mycological society (does anyone else think that calling a mushroom club a mycological society is a bit pompous?) and ask them for a copy of their species list. Any mushroom club worth its salt will have compiled a list of every species they have confirmed finding over the past umpteen years. Realize that likely 99.9% of what you find has been found and listed by someone in the club. So if you identify a mushroom you have found the very first thing you want to do is check to see if it is on the list. If no one in the club has found what you think your species is there is a real good chance your id is wrong. Take a look at the list. Are there a LOT of species or just some species. If the club has found only 8 kinds of boletes you likely dont need the big expensive bolete book because you also will find 8 kinds of boletes.

2)Get a field guide that has both a lot of photos and some discussion of look alikes. I like Audubon for this. It is nice to be able to get an id for your species but it is even nicer to be able to go to the page for that mushroom and see a bit of a discussion for what else the thing might be. I find that this look alike discussion is really useful.

3) Remember that field guides only deal with the species that the author had an urge to deal with. There might be 300 bolete species where you live and your field guide describes 20 of them. This is going to happen no matter which book you get so dont be alarmed, just be aware.

4) you have a computer or you wouldnt be here. You likely also have a color printer. Make your own addendum to whatever guide you use. When you find something that isnt in your field guide get an internet picture, print it and tuck the photo into your field guide for the next time you find that species. If you have a good printer you can get really carried away and make your own field guide. Take the club species list, get on the internet, and print of a photo and description of every mushroom on the club list. That custom guide will cover 99% of what you will find in the woods and will be mush more targeted than any guide you can buy.

5)Decide what your real interest in mushrooms is. If it is eating them then it might be a good plan to get one of the 100 or 101 edible mushrooms books out there. Kuo wrote one (although he claims to not eat mushrooms) and I think Arora has one. These books deal in greater depth with the mushrooms you will consider eating and that is a good thing. If it is food you are after I think you can stop buying books right there. Between an Audubon or one other decent guide, your club list, 101 edible mushrooms and a couple internet sites you very likely will be able to id anything that you might eat. If your interest goes beyond eating mushrooms there are lots of other interesting books but I would suggest waiting a season or two before plunking down your cash. What will look in depth and spiffy to you now might look very beginnerish in a year.

That's my story and Im sticking to it. Always remember that if you get stuck you can post a photo and a description here and Dave will id it for you :)

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WOW - thanks for the great and thorough reply!

My local 'mushroom club' haha has an online database of all specimens (and locations shown in maps) that have been collected on their forays. I have used it to double check my IDs, and to see if some choice edibles grow in Alberta. The list is very extensive, so I am not sure I would want to print it off, but I will keep your suggestions in mind!

http://wildmushrooms.ws/shrooms/

I really like the thought of more detailed 'look-a-like' conversations in Audubon... Mushrooms demystified has a bit... but it sounds like Auddubon may be more thorough.

I have noticed the species listed in demystified weigh heavily towards the very west coast. This is why I am looking for supplement information more specific to my hunting grounds. (Alberta & interior BC, Rocky Mountains, Boreale forest etc.)

I live in a funny spot in Canada, and we have very different weather patterns that make a climate NOTHING like the west coast(ever heard of a chinook...?)

So I was hoping a more specialized guide would pick up more species common to my area....thus why I checked out what the local mushroom club uses.

I like the thought of supplementing my guide with additional stuff I have printed off for myself.... but oh my - doesn't that get messy tucking pages into your guide? Hmmm...must think on this, perhaps use an old daytimer that I can add or remove pages from....hmmmm......

My REAL interest in mushrooms.... well I guess in the end I want a free delicious dinner... but I do not cast away specimens simply because I don't think they are edible. I enjoy trying to ID them, I find it a challenging and rewarding hobby. I also love walking through the forest looking for them... so sometimes I even hunt when there is no rain.... or is that called hiking? haha So I don't think I want to purchase an edible mushroom book... I would find that limiting.

Looks like I should give Audubon a try.... then perhaps the western canada one? More research is required I think LOL.

Thanks again for the feedback guys!

(oh, anyone have an i-phone? My GF showed me a free app on hers for the Audubon society for mushroom ID... very cool! Too bad I only have a blackberry lol.)

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I know a guy who carries a pocket sized notebook. Whenever he encounters a new species he uses a page split between a drawing and a very detailed description of the mushroom. After he gets an id he will write in its name. In winter he will rewrite the entire notebook to get the mushrooms into some order (I think he uses date found) so at the beginning of each season he has a fresh custom field guide that is specific to mushrooms he has found. Show this guy a mushroom and if he has ever seen it before it takes him about 10 seconds to come up with an id. After rewriting the entire book a few times I would think you would really learn what was in it.

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I use National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms the most often.

I have a whole shelf of others though, all of which I enjoy and check as backups to the Audubon Field Guide which has most stuff, but not everything...and it's always nice to see as many pictures as you can to help train your eye to all the slightly different ways a single mushroom species can look in the actual field.

Recently I've been trying to learn more about Boletes and have been wading my way through North American Boletes: A Color Guide to the Fleshy Pored Mushrooms by Alen E. Bessette,William C. Roody and Arleen R. Bessette. It's got a fabulous color picture section that has helped me out a lot so far as I try to train my eye to see the details that are described in the identification keys. The problem I have with the book is that the pictures and ID section are two separate parts of the book,and you have to flip back and forth too often, especially considering it is a large, and a bit heavy, reference sized book. Despite it containing more boletes than ever assumed existed,I still found boletes over the past 2 summers that I couldn't place in the guide despite several attempts! Still, I'm learning a lot from it and it was worth every dollar.

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I just bought some new mushroom books and have not yet had a chance to dive into them just yet. I got:

Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians by William Roody

The Book of Fungi a lifesize guide to 600 species from around the world by Peter Roberts and Shelley Evans

and

Mycophilia by Eugenia Bone

These are not field guides but will be useful with ID's I hope!

About 2 months ago I also got :

North American Boletes AND Mushrooms of the Southeastern US by Bessette, Roody, Bessette and Dunaway

Happy as a clam with my new books!!!

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I highly recommend Mycophilia by Eugenia Bone...great and fun read!

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Over the weekend I was at a Barnes and Noble and looked through the field guides they had. Out of three, Audubon's mushroom field guide was by far more straight to the point and specific. It comments on spore color, size, habitat, etc. All you need to identify. At the front there are photos of the mushrooms which have a reference to the page with the details. Other field guides had historical information about certain mushrooms which is interesting but doesn't help you identify a mushroom.

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I have most of the books mentioned above. I especially love this one.

Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians by William Roody

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My mushroom book library has grown a lot over recent years since I've relocated to the east coast. I learned mushrooms when I lived in CA and then I lived a bit in WA, OR and 13 yrs in MT so I never really picked or learned my east coast mushrooms. Now it's like starting over for me but it means I get to buy all new books! I was in Kennett Square this spring and found a bunch of good books 50% off so I stocked up. One of the new ones I got is Mushrooms of Colorado and the Southern Rocky Mountains by Vera Evenson. I love all the Bessette/Roody books and am also very fond of the Roody book mentioned directly above. I also picked up a few more mushroom cook books...can never have too many cookbooks!

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Sunny, I also really like Roody's "West Virginia" book. The photos are excellent, there's lots of info provided for each species, and --with all the DNA-generated name changes-- the fact that Roody includes both old and new species names is particularly useful.

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Although this is not a field guide, I thoroughly enjoyed Paul Stamets 'Mycelium Running'. This book toughes on so many aspects of mycology and I feel it really adds a great resource to anyone interested in mushrroms. Actually, anything by Paul Stamets I have found to be very enjoyable.

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I have 'North American Mushrooms' by Orson K. Miller JR, and Hope H. Miller

And am waiting on 'Mushroom Demystified' by Arora which I have heard is one of the best on the market from many folks.

I also watched this youtube two hour presentation that I found very helpful:

So much to learn... uffta

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Gotta say, DufferinShroomer is da bomb on this thread. Just received the Audubon book and love it already. A Field Guide to Southern Mushrooms is okay but a little lite. I still use Stamets' book on growing mushrooms as a reference. Getting the list of the local club has to be the best idea yet.

Thank you

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RE: William C. "Bill" Roody's Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians (2003)

I actually picked up the Roody guide just now for $26 shipped to my door.

West Virginia is lucky to have Mr. Roody!

This volume will sit nice next to my Audubon and my Peterson field guide.

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This one is 100-percent free and has some nice color. Tax dollars at work! On something legit.

https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/38089

Of course, its focus is Eastern U.S. forests. No real taxonomic key inside. It's just nice photos, but as part of a whole it's good.

Edited by KY-FUNGI

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I received Mushrooms of the Northeast, by Marrone and Sturgeon yesterday as per Dave's recommendation. I love it. Not only am I learning new things about mushrooms in the first few pages(I'm relatively new), leafing ahead, the book looks organized for easy use and small enough to take afield. I probably wont carry it in the woods, but actually think it may fit in my back pocket, to give a size reference.

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"Mushrooms of the Midwest" by Kuo. It has at least one picture and a great key. Definitely my most used field guide. 

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