The UK and Ireland are home to roughly 15,000 species of wild mushrooms.
Anybody starting out in the world of fungi will find the task of mushroom identification extremely difficult without the support of a few solid mushroom guide books.
This article is intended to make some recommendations of fungi identification books to set you on the right path and make the task easier for you.
There is no one fungi book that will give you everything you need so you will always need to cross reference books on mushroom identification and fungi reference books to help id your findings.
No mushroom hunting is complete without a good meal and some of the recommended mushroom books will include fantastic recipes.
List of recommended mushroom foraging books
Mushrooms: A comprehensive guide to mushroom identification – by Roger Phillips
This is the mushroom encyclopaedia book any respected forager uses to help with fungi identification at home.
The pictures are excellent, descriptions are precise and edibility notes are included, which ticks all the boxes for me.
This fungi photo book uses academic writing style and technical data, which makes it suitable for the intermediate-advanced level.
Edible Mushrooms: A Forager’s Guide to the Wild Fungi of Britain and Europe – by Geoff Dann
Looking for new mushroom books? This is one of the most comprehensive guides on British fungi, bursting with colour photographs and detailed information.
Nearly A4 size and over 500 pages long, this book is packed with information. Everything is covered, from description to smell, taste, habitat, season and edibility of the species.
There is also a comprehensive introduction that goes through safety, equipment, laws, ethics and methods of preparation.
River Cottage Handbook no1 Mushrooms – by John Wright
This is a mushroom book for beginners that focus on the 50 edible species that you are most likely to find in Britain. Nearly A5 size and just over 250 pages long, it’s light enough to use as a field guide.
The style of writing is fun and light-hearted and includes clear photographs for every fungi species and the recipes included. It provides information on habitat, season, taste and cooking preparation.
There is also a user friendly key and a chapter dedicated to poisonous lookalikes. The back of the book becomes a fungi recipe book.
Collins Complete guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools – by Paul Sterry & Barry Hughes
A good all-rounder book for both amateur mycologists and mushroom lovers that covers every fungi you are likely to encounter in the UK and Ireland.
It’s very comprehensive in its coverage in comparison to other pocket guides, yet at the same time remains small enough to be useful as a field guide.
It’s a good book to expand on mycological identification skills and the science of fungi.
Mushrooms (Collins Gem) – by Patrick Harding & Alan Outen
This is the most comprehensive pocket sized guide to carry on your rucksack.
The book commences with a key to species illustrated in the book so you know where to start, which makes it easy to navigate.
Afterwards, the book is divided into different chapters by genera and itemised into one species per page, including size, habitat, season, edibility and similar species.
Collins Fungi Guide: The most complete field guide to the Mushrooms & Toadstools of Britain & Ireland - by Stefan Buczacki
This Collins field guide is a comprehensive book that covers 2,400 species of mushrooms that you can find in the UK and Ireland..
The Fungi Guide contains detailed illustrations (as opposed to photographs) with descriptions and notes on how to correctly identify the mushrooms, including details of lookalikes.
Complete Mushroom Book, The Quiet Hunt – by Antonio Carluccio
Driven by passion and enthusiasm, this is an inspiring book that makes you want to go out foraging in the woods.
The first half of the book offers an authoritative well-illustrated field guide to help you identify wild mushrooms.
The second half becomes a mushroom cookery book with over 100 recipes ideas.
These are my favourite mushroom hunting books, but there are plenty more out there, each with their own particularities and for different purposes.
I hope I have released your inner mycologist and have encouraged you to explore further into the amazing world of fungi.
What’s the best guide on foraging mushrooms in your opinion?
Have you got any other sugestions?