A New Guide to Kansas Mushrooms

Sherry Kay, Benjamin Sikes, and Caleb Morse

Originally published in 1993, A Guide to Kansas Mushrooms went out of print in 2017. Original author Richard Kay suggested his wife, Sherry Kay, could assume the undertaking of revising the book, collaborating with him working as a consultant. After Richard’s death in 2018, Sherry later added two coauthors, Benjamin Sikes and Caleb Morse, to complete the task.

Kay, Sikes, and Morse have revised this new edition to account for the variety of ways mycology has changed in the last twenty-five years, while holding to its original purpose as a guide for active mushroomers. Primarily, A New Guide to Kansas Mushrooms highlights the upheaval in taxonomy caused by advances in molecular genetics: an estimated 25 percent of fungal names included in the original guide have changed since 1993. Second, the list of mushrooms found in Kansas has expanded and the new edition adds 50 species to the 150 described in the original guide. All anthology entries have been updated to reflect these changes in the field, and the essays have also been edited, reduced, or expanded to include updated information as well as brand-new material. The outdated genus-level classification of fungi has been replaced by two cladograms—diagrams that illustrate how organisms branch off from their last common ancestors.

This revised edition provides a wealth of new material on Kansas mushrooms that will aid and fascinate both newbies and seasoned mycophiles and includes information on online resources and notes on how to grow mushrooms in Kansas. While the book fully treats 200 species, readers will be able to identify 320 different macrofungi using the keys and discussions. Additionally, this book introduces readers to fascinating, common slime molds (myxomycetes). A New Guide to Kansas Mushrooms incorporates new understanding of fungal taxonomy that has been largely unearthed by genetic tools over the past three decades, highlights key taxa, and includes a life list of the more than 1,200 species now cataloged from Kansas—nearly twice the number known at the time of the first edition.

“A mycological masterpiece! This delightful and practical guidebook is an invaluable companion to anyone interested in experiencing the fascinating world of wild mushrooms.”

—Jonathan M. Conard, professor of biology at Sterling College and coauthor of Kansas Trail Guide

“I have been looking forward to the revised A Guide to Kansas Mushrooms. It is finally here and provides an outstanding up-to-date resource for mushroom enthusiasts. Its revised taxonomy, updated images, and insightful commentaries make this field guide a true pleasure to own and use.”

—Ari Jumpponen, professor of biology at Kansas State University

About the Author

Sharon Kay is a field mycologist in Lawrence, Kansas. She has over forty years of experience foraging and researching and served as a former president of the Kaw Valley Mycological Society.

Benjamin Sikes is associate professor and scientist of microbial ecology t the University of Kansas.

Caleb Morse is collection manager for the Division of Botany in the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute.