Amanitas of North America — by Britt Bunyard and Jay Justice

Get this new book on Amanita mushrooms! You can buy it here, from Fungi Perfecti, whom I stole this photo from.

Amanitas of North America on Fungi Perfecti website.

Amanitas are one of the most beautiful and dangerous mushroom groups on the planet. The edible ones are considered choice, and called things like “American Caesar.” The non-edible ones have names like “Destroying Angel.” Knowing what is edible and what will kill you is important!

The first author for this newly published book is Britt Bunyard, owner and publisher of Fungi Magazine. From the few times I’ve met him, he seems to be a really genuinely nice person, that has the ability to make academic topics easily understood. He makes mushrooms interesting to people not interested in mushrooms. I’ve seen him give talks few times, and he’s approachable.

The second author on this book is Jay Justice. I love that man! Dry wit, wicked sense of humor, and his Latin pronunciations are adorable. Super knowledgeable, has forgotten more about mushrooms than many people ever learn; he’s incredible.

What I like about Jay is he won’t just give you the answers, he points you in the right direction and gives you the things you should be looking for. He’s the mycologist that identified what I thought (and previously written about) was Amanita jacksonii as an as yet un-named species currently identified as Amanita sp-AR01 based on a not even remotely diagnostic photo I sent him in a sarcastic email about finding Satan’s mushrooms (because they were red).

He emailed me back and told me they were NOT A. jacksonii, but a closely related species, and then pointed out the features that I should look at to determine which species it was and then confirmed my eventual hypothesis of Amanita sp-AR01. All based on the below photo.

He really, really knows his mushrooms and his amanitas! If you are a mushroom hunter, a forager, or an outdoor enthusiast, I highly recommend this book. I just ordered my copy and expect some sort of dry witty, and sarcastic entry in the front cover the next time I see Jay. Which given the whole COVID situation may be a while.

Jay and Brit often travel the country speaking at various mycological societies and groups. You can check out a video of Jay being interviewed about the book on the below YouTube page. Check your local mushroom society when COVID is over and see if they are scheduled to speak. If not, make some noise and see if you can get them scheduled! I also suggest you get a subscription to Fungi magazine

Watch “Steve Roberts discussion and book review with Jay Justice, coauthor of “Amanitas of North America”” on YouTube


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