Once active as a birdwatcher, my interests in natural history are now focused primarily on mycology: the identification and photography of wild mushroom species, and the consumption of some that are edible.
For many years I have presented an annual program on mushrooms at Nixon County Park in Jacobus, Pa. I am an active member of the Eastern Penn Mushroomers, an affiliate of the North American Mycological Association, which sponsors lectures, workshops and local collecting forays.
SOME USEFUL REFERENCES ON MUSHROOMS
(A selective bibliography prepared by Dr. John Dawson)
David Largent, How to Identify Mushrooms to Genus, Vol I:
Macroscopic Features, Mad River Press (Rte. 2, Box 151-B,
Eureka, CA 95501), 1973. (paperback) An excellent book to
acquaint the beginner with basic mushroom terminology and
principles of identification. No color photos, but excellent
line drawings. Other volumes (II through IV) cover field
identification, microscopic features, and keys to families and
Alan E. Bessette, Arleen R. Besette, and David W. Fischer,
Mushrooms of Northeastern North America, Syracuse University
Press, 1997. The most comprehensive guide for our area, but
bulky to carry around. Lacks cross references between photos and
David Arora, Mushrooms Demystified, Ten Speed Press (P.O. Box
7123, Berkeley, CA 94707), 2nd ed., 1986. (paperback) Broad
coverage of a great many species. Sound advice and good color
photographs. Amusingly written. Too big for convenient use in
the field, but very good for subsequent identification work at
home and fun just to read.
Orson K. Miller, Jr., Mushrooms of North America, E.P. Dutton
(New York, NY), 1977. (softback) A very good field guide written
by one of America's foremost mycologists. Somewhat more
technical than Arora's book. Good color photos. Waterproof
cover. Handy size for carrying along.
National Audubon Society, Pocket Guide to Familiar Mushrooms,
Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY) 1990. (small paperback) No keys
and limited coverage, but excellent color photos of the
mushrooms one is most likely to see.
Giovanni Pacioni and Gary Lincoff, Simon & Schuster's Guide to
Mushrooms, Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 1981. (paperback)
Minimal keys, but good color photographs of a great many
species, including many not illustrated elsewhere.
Helen V. Smith and Alexander H. Smith, How to Know the
Non-Gilled Fleshy Fungi, Wm. C. Brown Co. (Dubuque, IA), 1973.
(spiral-bound paperback) The best source for identifying
mushrooms without gills, such as boletes, puffballs, morels, cup
fungi, shelf fungi and stinkhorns -- species often given limited
coverage in other guides. Line drawings, but no photos.
Unfortunately, the keys and text are fairly technical.
Gary Lincoff and D.H. Mitchell, Toxic and Hallucinogenic
Mushroom Poisoning, A Handbook for Physicians and Mushroom
Hunters, Van Nostrand Reinhold (New York, NY), 1977. By far the
most comprehensive and accurate compendium of information on
mushroom toxins. Fascinating reading, despite its wealth of
technical detail. Should be required reading for every would-be
mycophagist (before the first collecting trip).
Jack Czarnecki, Joe's Book of Mushroom Cookery, Atheneum (New
York, NY), 1986. Gourmet mushroom recipes from what was
America's most famous wild mushroom restaurant, Joe's, in
Reading, PA. (The restaurant is now defunct, having closed in
January of 1997. Jack has moved to Oregon and reopened there.)
Jane Grigson, The Mushroom Feast, Alfred A. Knopf (New York,
NY), 1975. Many good recipes, but a distinctly snobbish text,
replete with pretentious French titles and terminology.
David W. Fischer and Alan E. Bessette, Edible Wild Mushrooms of
North America: A Field-to-Kitchen Guide, University of Texas
Press, 1992 (paperback). A combination field guide and cookbook,
with some excellent recipes.
The Joys of Mushrooming:
Elio Schaechter, In the Company of Mushrooms: A Biologist's
Tale, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1997. A
delightful book, containing a wealth of mushroom lore.
Edward S. Matisoff, Mushrooms and Light: The Nature
Photographer's Guide to Photographing Mushrooms (privately
published by the author, 7584 Lemur Street, Ventura CA 93003),
1993. (50-page spiral-bound paperback) Contains many useful
suggestions concerning equipment and lighting.
Using Mushrooms as Dyestuffs:
Miriam C. Rice, Mushrooms for Color, Mad River Press, Inc.,
(Rte. 2, Box 151-B, Eureka, CA 95501), 1980. (paperback)
Mushroom Web Sites:
mycoElectronica: A privately maintained British site with much
Site of Taylor Lockwood, renowned mushroom photographer
There are many other mycological sites as well. Try searching
with Yahoo or Web Crawler, or follow links from the sites above.
Amateur Mushroom Organization:
Eastern Penn Mushroomers. Conducts regular
meetings in the winter and frequent forays during spring, summer
and fall. $10 annual membership fee includes membership in NAMA
as well. Web site: