Getting Started

One of our members' Joanna Dodsworth has written a helpful guide for beginners on identification of fungi as follows:-

Getting started with fungi

Join your local Fungus Group

Find your local group at http://www.britmycolsoc.org.uk/mycology/recording-network/groups/

Go on a course

The Field Studies Council (FSC, Preston Montford, Montford Bridge, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY4 1HW.0845 345 4071. enquiries@field-studies-council.org, runs courses at various levels of fungal expertise at their field centres. The British Mycological Society (http://www.britmycolsoc.org.uk/ ) runs workshops and residential week-long forays including an international foray every year. Derek Schafer of the Bucks Fungus Group has started to run courses in the Forest of Dean: see more details at http://www.deanholidays.co.uk

Fungus Books for Beginners

Geoffrey Kibby's "Philip's Guide to Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and Northern Europe". ISBN 0540089362, paperback, about £10, is an excellent book for beginners interested in getting started with identifying. There is very good introductory material which you should read carefully, and a KEY to many common fungi starting with spore colour. The illustrations are Geoffrey's own paintings, and this makes it much easier to show characteristics. It also illustrates the spore, and gives a cross-section to show gill attachment for each of the over 400 species included.

"Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms & Toadstools", by Paul Sterry and Barry Hughes, ISBN 9780007232246, paperback, about £12, uses photographs, but also includes photographs of characteristic details, it uses the English names (as well, of course, as the proper Latin ones) for over 1,000 species, and has very good introductory material as well as details of special habitats and a handy tree-identification section. No keys, but in the cases where you key something out in Kibby's Guide to a genus or species he doesn't cover, you can look it up in Sterry & Hughes.

The following two books are not in print, but if you can possibly find secondhand copies, seize the chance. They are both excellent follow-on books for when you have more experience in identifying: "Collins Field Guide: Mushrooms & Toadstools of Britain & Europe", by R. Courtecuisse & B. Duhem, ISBN 0002200252. "The Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and North-western Europe, by Marcel Bon, ISBN 034039935X.

The BMS's quarterly journal: "Field Mycology", has articles, reports and photographs covering a wide range of levels. You can join the BMS and receive it as part of your membership, or you can subscribe (£22 a year) to Field Mycology without becoming a member; contact the sales office at http://www.elsevier.com


Roger Phillips (of the big mushroom book) has an excellent fungus website with keys, thousands of photographs, and much other mushroom lore. Find it at http://www.rogersmushrooms.com. MycoKey, at http://www.mycokey.com/ is a Danish site in English, with masses of excellent photographs, and much mycological information, including an online key to genus.