There is an estimated 250 000 species of fungi in Australia. Just 5% of these have been described. This is astonishing when you consider that up to 25% of the world’s biomass is fungal.
There is so much to learn about fungi. However, it can be overwhelming to know what books will be the most useful. These books will help beginners on their journey.
The Allure of Fungi
The Allure of Fungi presents fungi through multiple perspectives – those of mycologists and ecologists, foragers and forayers, naturalists and farmers, aesthetes and artists.
Alison Poulit explores how fungi go far beyond the fruiting body we see above the ground. She provides an alternate perspective, showing how they fit as part of a larger ecosystem. She does this through storytelling; weaving multiple perspectives together in an easy to understand narrative.
Her tone is engaging and gives you a new appreciation of fungi. Her photos are phenomenal; they alone are worth the price of the book.
This book isn’t a field guide. I wouldn’t recommend buying it if your main goal is identification. I would recommend it to any other fungi enthusiast. It will give you an appreciation for the complexity of fungi and inspire you to learn more.
A Field Guide to Australian Fungi
This guide covers more than 500 fungi species. Bruce Fuhrer shares information on fungal biology, ecology, classification, distribution, roles of fungi in nature, and spore prints. The book is considered to be the best introductory book for enthusiasts, but it still has its flaws.
The species descriptions aren’t comprehensive for most naturalists. These descriptions are mostly 2-4 lines long. The scientific name is given, not any of the common names. No map is given to show the range. Fuhrer does describe the type of environment it is found in and provides beautiful photos.
It is a great book if you want to learn more about fungi species. It may not serve it’s purpose as a field guide.
A Field Guide to the Fungi of Australia
This book contains more than 170 species from different parts of Australia. The guide includes descriptions, 36 colour photos and 260 line drawings.
This can be a useful guide for people who are just starting to learn about fungi. However, some amateurs may struggle with the lack of photographs. Many people – myself included – may struggle with line drawings.
It also has around 170 species. This isn’t much when you consider the wide variety of ecosystems in Australia.
Many people would get more from a guide specific to their location.
Fungi in Australia
This freely downloadable e-book, which consists of 9 parts, is intended to serve as a resource to assist in the identification of some fungi that may be encountered in our native forests. It contains 307 species and over 1500 photographs of fungi, plus references for further study.
Secretive Slime Moulds: Myxomycetes of Australia
This comprehensive monograph provides keys, descriptions and information on the known distribution for all of these species in addition to containing introductory material relating to their biology and ecology. Many species are illustrated, showing the diversity of their fruiting bodies, and greatly facilitating their identification.
This book will give naturalists a new insight into an often overlooked group of organisms in addition to providing an incentive to search for the many species which have undoubtedly thus far escaped notice.
Australian Subtropical Fungi
The guide covers 115 species, with illustrations and descriptions of each. Many of the species covered appear for the first time in a field guide.
This book is aimed at field naturalists wanting to develop an interest in the fungi of the Australian subtropics. It contains a simple morphological key to the main groups of fungi. The fungi of the Australian subtropics are a very diverse and little studied group of organisms, many of which appear to be unique to the region.
The Queensland Mycological Society also has fold-out guides.
Want more foraging and food ideas? Check out What Are The Best Books About Native Food Plants In Australia?
Wild Mushrooming is a guide for foragers. It helps readers find, identify, collect and prepare 10 edible fungus species.
There are a lot of species that look superficially similar. The book takes a ‘slow mushrooming’ approach to help avoid misidentification. The goal is to give you comprehensive information so you can correctly identify the edible species. Alison also shares 29 recipes from a variety of cuisines that can be adapted for both foraged and cultivated fungi.
The book will be released in March.
New South Wales
A guide to the common fungi of coastal New South Wales
A Guide to the Common Fungi of Coastal New South Wales is designed to be used by people of all ages to identify fungi in the field. It also contains some great information on what fungi are, why they’re so important, and where to find them.
Larger Fungi of South Australia
This book is a revision of J.B. Cleland’s Toadstools and mushrooms and other larger fungi of South Australia (1934–35) and gives detailed descriptions and identification keys for all species of macrofungi in South Australia. Line drawings of spores, basidia or hyphae are provided for every species and selected taxa are illustrated with colour photographs or watercolours. This is the standard reference work for everyone seriously interested in identifying larger fungi in the State and beyond.
Admiring The Fungi of the Lower Eyre Peninsula
This delightful natural history exploration of the little known macrofungi of the Lower Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Although not comprehensive a field guide there are many images and brief descriptions of these arid country macrofungi (Agarics, Boletes, Polypores, and other groups including a great selection of ascomycetes: Morels, Cups, Discs, Black Crusts, Clubs and Parasites). Those more technically minded will appreciate the inclusion of some microscopic character images, including some spores
A field guide to Tasmanian fungi
This book provides photographs and details for over 650 species found in Tasmania. Contains 50 additional species not covered in the first edition. Although this guide is Tasmanian based, it is relevant for the whole of southern Australia, including the wetter regions of South Australia and Western Australia. Covers all groupings of fungi, not only mushrooms, but also boletes, polypores, leather fungi, cup and disc fungi, puffballs and all other artificial groups that constitute the macrofungi. Contains extensive keys to the genera of gilled fungi and a table of characteristics containing descriptions of each genus of gilled fungi.
FungiFlip – A Pictorial Guide to Tasmanian Fungi
‘FungiFlip’ is a full-colour water proof brochure with 270 species found in the Tasmania. Authors are Genevieve Gates, David Ratkowsky and Rob Wiltshire, with photographers Michael Pilkington and Matthias Theiss. This is a quick reference is perfect for bushwalkers and naturalists to identify some tof the facinating and beautiful Tasmanian macrofungi. This version was printed in 2016.
Fungi of the Bendigo Region
This book, written and published by Joy Clusker and Ray Wallace with beautiful photography by Joy, is a field guide to the fungi of the Bendigo region with an emphasis on the dryer areas north of Bendigo.
It covers 284 species and a further ~200 yet to be identified. Printed locally, it is designed to fit in a backpack.
An easy to understand website that walks you through the basics of fungi identification.
An Australian website trying to document the fungi in Australia. They have a great set of identification tools.