Test Cover Image of:  Fungipedia


A Brief Compendium of Mushroom Lore

Illustrator: Amy Jean Porter
An engaging, informative, and at times, humorous, compendium of fungi facts, from short biographical entries of figures in the history of mycology to succinct descriptions of fungi form and function, and everything in between.

An illustrated mini-encyclopedia of fungal lore, from John Cage to Terrence McKenna and from mushroom sex to fairy rings

Fungipedia presents a delightful A–Z treasury of mushroom lore. With more than 180 entries—on topics as varied as Alice in Wonderland, chestnut blight, medicinal mushrooms, poisonings, Santa Claus, and waxy caps—this collection will transport both general readers and specialists into the remarkable universe of fungi.

Combining ecological, ethnographic, historical, and contemporary knowledge, author-mycologist Lawrence Millman discusses how mushrooms are much more closely related to humans than to plants, how they engage in sex, how insects farm them, and how certain species happily dine on leftover radiation, cockroach antennae, and dung. He explores the lives of individuals like African American scientist George Washington Carver, who specialized in crop diseases caused by fungi; Beatrix Potter, creator of Peter Rabbit, who was prevented from becoming a professional mycologist because she was a woman; and J. P. Morgan vice-president Gordon Wasson, who almost single-handedly introduced the world to magic mushrooms. Millman considers why fungi are among the most significant organisms on our planet and how they are currently being affected by destructive human behavior as well as by climate change.

With charming drawings by artist and illustrator Amy Jean Porter, Fungipedia offers a treasure trove of scientific and cultural information. The world of mushrooms lies right at your door—be amazed!

Author Information

Lawrence Millman, mycologist and writer, is the author of numerous books, including Our Like Will Not Be There Again, Last Places, Fascinating Fungi of New England, and At the End of the World. He has done mycological work in places as diverse as Greenland, Honduras, Iceland, Panama, the Canadian Arctic, Bermuda, and Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he has documented 321 different species. Amy Jean Porter is an artist, illustrator, and naturalist. Her illustrated books include Of Lamb and The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook, and her artwork has appeared in such publications as McSweeney’s and The Awl. Twitter @LawrenceMillman


"Having relished Lawrence Millman’s previous books on mushrooms, places, and people, I eagerly anticipated the arrival of Fungipedia. However, I did not expect this masterpiece. It contains wisdom and knowledge (taxonomic and ethnomycological), and combines a rare didactic ability with a cheerful chutzpah that travels effortlessly between the simple and profound. It totally fulfills its purpose as a mini-encyclopedia. This useful and entertaining book will delight all who read it." —Elio Schaechter, author of In the Company of Mushrooms

“Lawrence Millman is a consummate storyteller and the fungi that fill this book run the gamut from the overlooked to the incredible. A marvelous distillation of Millman’s obsessions, Fungipedia is peopled with his mycological mentors and heroes, and brims with science, lore, literature, art, music, cinema, and religion—all inexorably bound to fungi. Fungipedia is the next best thing to being on a walk with its author.”—Tom Bigelow, president of the New York Mycological Society

“Tar spots! Stinkhorns! Beech aphid poop fungus! What fun to read Lawrence Millman's witty, wry, and wonky compendium of all things fungal.”—Eugenia Bone, author of Mycophilia

"Who knew? What a charming introduction into a kingdom most of us ignore."—Bill McKibben, author of Falter

"With whimsy, wisdom, and deep knowledge, abetted by Amy Porter's thoroughly charming drawings, Lawrence Millman has conjured the most interesting, readable, and useful fungus book ever. His introduction, full of art and mirth, is the best essay I have read on this mysterious kingdom."—Robert Michael Pyle, author of Mariposa Road and Magdalena Mountain

Fungipedia is a most unusual, humorous, and enjoyable book. A true pleasure to read, it covers practically all aspects of fungi and elegantly explains mycology’s mysteries. Even seasoned mycologists will find it enlightening.”—Leif Ryvarden, University of Oslo

"Fungi may be rarely noticed, but they play major roles in ecosystems. This informative and entertaining book makes them unforgettable."—Bernd Heinrich, author of A Naturalist at Large

Audience: General/trade;Professional and scholarly;College/higher education;