The Best Mushroom Foraging Books

This is my list of the best mushroom foraging books, plus a few related books on cultivation and the wonderful world of fungi. Enjoy!

Below are some of the ones I’ve been enjoying thus far, along with their Amazon links (remember, if you decide to buy anything on Amazon… click through one of my links and I’ll make a few pennies).

All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms

one of the funniest wild mushroom foraging books

Even if you don’t live on the west coast, this book is worth buying just because David Arora is brilliant and hilarious.

You wouldn’t think that a mushroom guide would be funny, but this one is a scream. I was laughing out loud and waking my wife up.

Next is a more in-depth book from Arora that’s a must-have for serious wild mushroom aficionados.

Mushrooms Demystified

Mushrooms Demystified is a hefty book with a ton of information in it. Very worth having, if somewhat unwieldy. It’s also packed with snarky jokes and visual gags, despite its scientific pedigree. I really like David Arora’s writing and endless enthusiasm.

For the person just interested in getting started with edible mushrooms, here’s another option:

100 Edible Mushrooms

Micheal Kuo isn’t nearly as fun as David Arora and some across as a little persnickety after the wild exuberance of “All That the Rain Promises,” however, 100 Edible Mushrooms is in-depth and thoughtful, plus it’s easier to dive into than a tome such as Mushrooms Demystified. It also has recipes. I own it and have been enjoying picking my way through it.

Now if you’re ready to hit the field, I’ve found this guide to be the best so far:

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (National Audubon Society Field Guides)

This guide was actually written by the brilliant mushroom hunter Gary Lincoff and the expertise shines through. It’s well-organized and contains excellent photographs in color, unlike the black and white of most of the photos in Mushrooms Demystified. Gary Lincoff also wrote this book, which I own as well:

The Complete Mushroom Hunter: An Illustrated Guide to Finding, Harvesting, and Enjoying Wild Mushrooms

The Complete Mushroom Hunter will fill you with excitement for the hunt. It was the first book I read after Paul Stamet’s must-read book Mycellium Running and it really pushed me out the door.

Speaking of Paul Stamets, here’s a link to his book:

Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Paul Stamets is pretty much the final word on mushrooms. A must-have book that will blow your mind.

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation

I haven’t yet read this book yet but it comes highly recommended. I’ve seen Tradd Cotter’s videos on YouTube and I’m a fan.

Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms

This is a must-have how-to guide for anyone that wants to grow their own mushrooms. Definitive. Get it.

Finally, if you’re in Florida, don’t forget to get a copy of Common Florida Mushrooms from the UF bookstore!

I’m feeling rich – in the past I wasn’t able to afford to eat as many mushrooms as I’d like… yet they’ve been growing under my feet all the time. I was just too scared to eat wild mushrooms.

Armed with lots of reading material and guides I’m no longer afraid – and it’s not like I’m taking risks! None of the species I’ve eaten has any dangerous lookalikes that can’t be weeded out with a cursory examination of the mushroom in question.

Grab some books and give it a go yourself!

edible mushroom guides helped me find chanterelles

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  • What mushrooms grow wild or are able to be farmed in SW Florida?

    • David The Good

      I’m not exactly sure… the varieties seem to drop as you head further south in the state. The book “Mushrooms of Florida” is helpful, though.

    • David The Good

      Also, I know you can grow oysters down there, no problem.

  • I have two of the books you show already, and a couple more. I also use a microscope to help in ID as well.
    I belong to Central PA Mushroom Club and have learned from many experts.
    I just watched you video and read your article on good and bad “Boletes”. I was instructed by my friends in the club to stay away from blue when hunting boletes. I have found several big Kings Boletes I think the term is ” Boltecus Edulus in my travels close to my home.I appreciated your article very much , keep up the good work.

  • Don LaGrone (

    My wife and I are moving from Portland Oregon – Gods mushroom country – to Ft. Pierce, Fl. Next month. We’ve gathered hundreds of pounds of mushrooms here and hope to find some foraging in south Fl. I’ll order the Florida book to go into our library, but really want to learn the seasons, and the environments in Fl. That are conducive to mycology. Don

    • That is a tough move for a mushroom hunter!

      Ft. Pierce isn’t the best because of its more tropical climate, but you can find boletes, some small puffballs and oysters here and there.

      Most of my foraging was in North Florida and the best time of the year for hunting (often the only time) was September/October in a rainy year. Too hot during the summer, too dry most winters.

      Fortunately, there are a lot of other wild edibles worth hunting in Florida, like the excellent winged yam, hog plums and smilax shoots.

  • Charles Bingham

    Are you familiar with ‘Common Florida Mushrooms’ by James Kimbrough. From what the limited reviews I can find it looks like a great resource for Florida mushroom hunters. I’m going to pick it up soon and check it out.

  • Any recommended readings on tropical mushrooms / Asia that we , on this part of the world could check out? 🙂

  • For those of us in the Northeast, I suggest adding “Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada” by David L. Spahr
    This beautifully illustrated guidebook provides specific, easy-to-understand information on finding, collecting, identifying, and preparing the safer and more common edible and medicinal mushroom species of New England and Eastern Canada. Author David Spahr, a trained commercial photographer, here combines his mycological expertise and photographic skill to produce an attractive and detailed overview of his subject. Based on decades of practical experience and research, the book is written in a clear and forthright style that avoids the dry, generic descriptions of most field guides. Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada also provides useful ideas for cooking mushrooms. Rather than simply providing recipes, the book discusses the cooking characteristics of each variety, with advice about matching species with appropriate foods. Many mushrooms contain unique medicinal components for boosting the immune system to fight cancer, HIV, and other diseases, and Spahr offers practical and prudent guidelines for exploration of this rapidly emerging area of alternative therapeutic practice.
    ISBN-10 1556437951
    ISBN-13 9781556437953

  • I see a couple books on here that I would highly recommend. Tradd Cotter’s mushroom farming book and the Audubon Society Field guide are both good reads. The Audubon Society book is what I carry for field identification. I’m going to be reading your book Mycelium Running. As someone who lives near the Youghiogheny river I’ve seen what acid mine runoff can do. Do you know of any particular mushroom that absorb iron in large amounts?

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