Essential Reading for the Mushroom Grower:

Radical Mycology, McCoy, P. (2016):

Interwoven with short essays on the lessons of the fungi, Radial Mycology begins with chapters that explore the uniqueness of fungal biology, the critical ecological roles of micro and macro fungi, how to accurately identify mushrooms and mycorrhizal fungi, the importance of lichens as medicines and indicators of environmental quality, and the profound influences that fungi have held on the evolution of all life and human cultures. With this foundation laid, the reader is then equipped to work with the fungi directly. Techniques for making potent fungal medicines, growing fermenting fungi for food, and cheaply cultivating mushrooms using recycled tools (and yet still achieving lab-quality results) are explored in-depth. Subsequent chapters grow far beyond the limits of other books on mushrooms. Detailed information on the principles and practices of natural mushroom farming–largely influenced by the design system of permaculture–is presented along with extensive information on cultivating mycorrhizal fungi and the science of mycoremediation, the application of fungi to mitigate pollution in the environment and in our homes. The book ends with deeper insights into the social effects that fungi present from the reflection of mycelial networks in the design of whole societies to a rigorous examination of the history of psychoactive fungi. Written for the beginner as well as the experienced mycologist, Radical Mycology is an invaluable reference book for anyone interested in Do-It-Yourself (or Do-It-Together) homesteading, community organizing, food security, natural medicine, grassroots bioremediation, and the evolution of human-fungal-ecological relations. More than a book on mushrooms, Radical Mycology is a call to ally with the fungi in all efforts to spawn a healthier world. Heavily referenced and vibrantly illustrated by the author, this unprecedented book will undoubtedly remain a classic for generations to come.

The Mushroom Cultivator: A Practical Guide for Growing Mushrooms at Home, Stammets, P (1985):

Mushroom cultivation in the Western world has been a mysterious art. This guide covers every aspect of growing mushrooms at home. It gives step-by-step instructions for every procedure from starting spore cultures to harvesting fruiting bodies and dealing with contaminants and pests.

 Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, Stammet, P. (1994):

With updated production techniques for home and commercial cultivation, detailed growth parameters for 31 mushroom species, a trouble-shooting guide, and handy gardening tips, this revised and updated handbook will make your mycological landscapes the envy of the neighborhood.

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation: Simple to Advanced and Experimental Techniques for Indoor and Outdoor Cultivation, Cotter, T. (2014):

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation is a complete guide to indoor and outdoor mushroom cultivation ranging from the fundamentals of mushroom ecology and life cycle to extremely advanced and experimental techniques the author developed for morel cultivation, training mycelium to respond to bacteria and environmental contaminants, and more. The content of the book is heavily weighted towards cultivation there is only one chapter on mycoremediation but the key point to understand is that throughout the text the author discusses important principles of fungi behaviour that form the foundation of mycoremediation. Tradd approaches cultivation with a holistic framework, stressing that an understanding of the relationships between organisms and different kingdoms of life is critical to successful cultivation, remediation, or other applications. His approach is also distinctly scientific, guiding readers through lab work and experimentation and constantly reinforcing the idea that the most important skills in mushroom cultivation are careful observation, and the ability to think like a mushroom .

The Essential Guide to Cultivating Mushrooms, Russel, S. (2016):

From the basics of using mushroom kits to working with grain spawn, liquid cultures, and fruiting chambers, Stephen Russell covers everything you need to know to produce mouthwatering shiitakes, oysters, lion’s manes, maitakes, and portobellos. Whether you’re interested in growing them for your own kitchen or to sell at a local market, you’ll soon be harvesting a delicious and abundant crop of mushrooms.


Marren, P. (2012) Mushrooms. Published by British Wildlife Publishing, Dorset. – A vivid introduction to the world of fungi, compiled with infectious enthusiasm and conservation insight by one of our foremost natural history writers.

Spooner, B. and Roberts, P. (2005) Fungi. Published by Collins. One of the finest titles in Collins’s unrivalled New Naturalist Series this volume covers everything from evolution to economics to ecology. Written in an accessible style this is a tour de force by two of the country’s leading mycological experts who until their recent retirement worked at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens.

Mycelium Running: A Guide to Healing the Planet through Gardening with Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms (2004) – “Mycelium Running” is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. That’s right: growing more “mushrooms” may be the best thing we can do to save the environment, and in this groundbreaking text from mushroom expert Paul Stamets, you’ll find out how.

Field Guides:

Buczacki, S. and Shields, C. (2012) Collins Fungi Guide. HarperCollins London. Comprehensive and easy to use this handy field guide describes and illustrates 2,400 species.

Courtecuisse, R. and Duhem, B. (1994) Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and Europe. Collins Field Guide, Collins, London. Another excellent field guide describing 1750 species (including European species) though poor on bracket fungi and some other groups such as puffballs and jelly fungi. Illustrations superb.

Dobson, F.S. (2000) Lichens. An Illustrated Guide to the British and Irish Species. 4th revised colour edition. Published by The Richmond Publishing Co. Ltd., Slough. An attractive field guide with excellent photographic images, authoritative text and good selection of most widely occurring species.

Phillips, R. (1981) Mushrooms and Fungi of Great Britain and Europe. First edition published by Pan Books, London. 2nd edition published in 2006 by Macmillan. Wonderful colour photographs. Covers a large, carefully chosen list of fungi.

Sterry, P. and Hughes, B. (2009) Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. HarperCollins, London. Comprehensive and very well chosen set of fungi, very well illustrated with photographs.


Deacon, J. (1997) Modern Mycology (Basic Microbiology) – Modern Mycology is an established text that continues to provide a comprehensive introduction to fungi––a group of organisms distinct from all other forms of life. It will appeal to undergraduate students taking courses in microbiology, mycology and biology. This edition has been fully revised and updated to reflect the many exciting developments in the field; notably, those relating to understanding fungal cell biology and the application of fungal molecular genetics. The author maintains the tradition of clarity and accessibility set by previous editions, and the text is extensively illustrated with photographs and diagrams

Deacon, J. (2005) Fungal Biology – Fungal Biology is the fully updated new edition of this undergraduate text, covering all major areas of fungal biology and providing insights into many topical areas. Provides insights into many topical areas such as fungal ultrastructure and the mechanisms of fungal growth, important fungal metabolites and the molecular techniques used to study fungal populations. Focuses on the interactions of fungi that form the basis for developing biological control agents, with several commercial examples of the control of insect pests and plant diseases. Emphasises the functional biology of fungi, with examples from recent research. Includes a clear illustrative account of the features and significance of the main fungal groups.

Specialist volumes:

Boertmann, D. (2010) The genus Hygrocybe. 2nd revised edition. The essential identification guide for this important genus of grassland fungi. The British Isles hold more species and the best sites for this group than any other European country and they are now regarded as prime indicators of sites of conservation interest.

Kibby, G. (2012) The genus Russula in Great Britain. Self published.

Other monographs published by Kew are available eg Hebeloma, Agaricus, Boletes – these are usually well illustrated and essential for critical identification work.

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