If you’re into it for the edibles: the best way to stay out of the emergency room – or the morgue – is to collect with experienced mushroom hunters, and to use reliable field guides. The best way to find experienced mushroomers in your area is to get in touch with your local mushroom club(s).

But there’s more to it than food. Mushroom hunting is the perfect excuse for long walks in the woods, breathing in all that fresh air. And fungi are fascinating: so many forms and colors, most of them a far cry from those solid white button mushrooms from the store. As one woman said after attending her first club meeting : “Now I know: if it looks like it came from outer space, it’s a mushroom.”

Clathrus ruber, a “whiffle-ball stinkhorn” (1817), watercolored engraving by Nees von Esenbeck

There is nothing like finding amazing fungi like this for yourself out in the wild!