Recommended Mushroom Guides For New England Area

These, each beginner should get, in the given order, as soon as possible. 

National Audubon Society
1. Field Guide to North American Mushrooms
by Gary H. Lincoff
Recommended because it is small enough to take with you in to the field and woods.  Also it is least expensive and covers all kinds of mushrooms.

2. Mushrooms of Northeastern North America
by Alan E. Bessette and others
Has mushrooms listed and described that are not found in #1.  Written specifically to describe mushrooms found in the North East.  Saves you time so that you do not try to match your find to something that grows only in Arizona or California.

3.  Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America
by Roger Phillips
Covers more mushrooms then any of the other three, in living color.  Very handy for a beginner who first tries to identify through comparison with pictures.  As you will learn, the picture is not enough and you will have to learn to compare your unknown to the description of the mushroom that you suspect it is.  But this gives you a place to start to get some idea what the mushroom might be.

4. North American Boletes
by Alan E. Bessette and others
This is the most expensive book since it is a hard cover and a first addition, published in 2000.  Unless the authors put out an updated addition it is bound to become even more expensive in next few years, particularly if it goes out of print.  It has a list price of $95 and on 11/10/05 it sells for $67.85 at  This is actually $10 less then I paid last September.  If you are interested in Boletes, you will want to get this, the most complete Bolete guide currently available.

Recommended mushroom books for off season reading:

"Celebrating the Wild Mushroom" by Sara Ann Friedman
Very interesting and humorous.  A lot of general information about wild mushrooms.  A rational warning about poisonous mushrooms, unlike the mycophobic version found in most guides.  She mentions Charles McIlvaine and Greg Wright, two "OLD BOLD" mushroom hunters who tasted most mushrooms that were labeled "poisonous" or "not edible" in guides of their time.  She devotes quite bit of space to Amanitas and so called "magic" mushrooms, which do not interesting me, so I just skimmed over this material.  My feeling is that if I can not solve my problems with a clear head, taking mind altering drugs is not going to help.

"Magical Mushrooms Mischievous Molds" by George Hudler
The first half of the book describes diseases caused by fungi.  The second half deals with the good side of the fungi.  I found out that Bob Dillon had a life threatening encounter with some mushroom when he was young and foolish.  He was a good songwriter and poet when he was young, and did not even know it.  Maybe that is the good he got from mushrooms :o) 

"In The Company of Mushrooms, A Biologist's Tale" by Elio Schaechter
A lot of information about mushrooms and mushrooming in Massachusetts.  Very interesting and humorous.