If you ever had an interest in hunting for wild fungi, whether those were puffballs, truffles, brackets, or regular wild mushrooms, you may have stumbled across the website Roger’s Mushrooms at one point.
Roger’s Mushrooms was a haven for budding mycologists, featuring colorful photographs of all major mushrooms. It also had information about mushrooms that were safe for use in the kitchen as well as how to detect signs of poisoning. All said and done, this website was quite popular.
Return to Roger’s Mushrooms now, and you’ll find a broken domain – no entry allowed.
Why? What happened to Roger’s Mushrooms? Here’s everything you need to kno
Who is Roger Phillips?
To understand the true intent of Roger’s Mushrooms, you must first know who Roger Phillips is. This man was the founder of Rogers Plants Ltd., the company that owned Roger’s Mushrooms along with RogersRoses and RogersTreesandShrubs.
Roger Phillips was an expert mycologist, renowned for his work tracking and recording more than 1,600 species of fungi in North America and Europe. Considered a pioneer in the use of photography for documenting and identifying mushrooms, Phillips also wrote numerous books and was considered a leading mushroom specialist – he had more than 40 years of experience.
In addition to Roger’s Mushrooms, Phillips also created a mushroom identification smartphone app. The app, luckily, is still active and available for download on Android devices. Phillips also wrote numerous books, including Mushrooms: A Comprehensive Guide to Mushroom Identification and has been praised for his detailed courses, prints, and research in the field.
What Happened to Roger’s Mushrooms?
Unfortunately, Roger’s Mushrooms fell victim to a common conundrum when it comes to websites that are designed solely for the purpose of education (and not monetary profit). Suffering from poor design and low-quality images, the website was infrequently updated and rarely maintained.
Roger Phillips isn’t respected for his website-building savvy – he’s respected for his work with mushrooms. There’s no clear reason as to why the website went offline, but it was last active in 2017 and finally became defunct.
Fans speculate that the decline in Roger’s Mushrooms had to do with images that loaded poorly on a browser along with a lack of frequent updates with modern taxonomy and photographs. The site seemed to rely wholly on Phillips’ work, and once he stopped updating the site, it slowly began to drop away from the public eye.
Some pages are still actively referenced on popular mushroom hunters’ forums, like Mycotopia – many of the identification pages are even screenshotted so that Phillips’ work doesn’t go unnoticed.
Top Alternatives to Roger’s Mushrooms in 2019
If you’re interested in finding more information similar to what you’d see on Roger’s Mushrooms, you’re in luck – there are plenty of ways to stay in touch even though this database is now defunct.
Here are some of your best options.
Mushroom Expert is probably the most similar to Roger’s Mushrooms. Although the layout and design of the website aren’t the fanciest, it has plenty of information on how to hunt for wild mushrooms. It’s owned by Michael Kuo, an English teacher and amateur mycologist out of Illinois.
The herbarium database contains records for more than 4000 mushroom collections from North America. You’ll get all the information you need about the ecology, appearance, and range of the most common types of fungi. In addition, the website has information about how to collect mushrooms for study, make spore prints, and more.
MykoWeb is produced by Michael Wood, a former president of the Mycological Society of San Francisco. One of the Internet’s first mycology website, it was founded in 1995.
This website gives users access to The Fungi of California, a larger version of the former “Fungi of the San Francisco Bay Area.” This collection includes photographs of more than 710 species of wild fungi found in California. To date, there are more than 7200 photographs of mushrooms along with links to other online photos, description, and field guides.
Mushroom-Collecting.com is a website dedicated to collecting, finding, identifying, and preparing the safest and most common mushrooms in New England. The website was founded by David Spahr, a mycologist native to central Maine.
This website, operated by a so-called “Mushroom Maineiac” features mushrooms that are mostly found in Maine but also can be discovered in Eastern Canada and portions of New England.
The site is broken down into mushroom categories like Medicinal Mushrooms, Mushrooms with Pores, Mushrooms with Gills, Ridges or Teeth, and Collecting, Photographing, and Cooking. Spahr also provides information on dying fabrics, increasing awareness of medicinal species, and the equipment you might need to collect or photograph wild mushrooms.
The Mushroom Forager
The Mushroom Forager is a website founded by Ari Rockland-Miller, Jenna Antonino DiMare, and Eliana Mina – and don’t forget the team’s foraging canine, Judah, either!
Established in 2010, the goal of the website is to cultivate the art and science of hunting for wild mushrooms, as well as to make mycology safer for everyone. The founders have facilitated more than a hundred presentations and workshops on mushroom foraging and cultivation.
This website has a solid reputation, with its work featured on CNN, Vermont Public Radio, New England Public Radio, and more. The ForageCast is an updated list of all the delicious and distinctive edible mushrooms you’ll find in the Northeast, giving you an idea of where to look for and how to enjoy wild mushrooms.
Mushroom Revival has one of the best user interfaces of all the other websites we’ve referenced – but its purpose isn’t just to educate users about how to find and safely harvest wild mushrooms.
This website is broken down into five major categories: Shop, Learn, Our Story, Podcast, and the Blog. More of a sales website than anything else – Mushroom Revival sells a variety of mushroom spores and plugs for you to grow at home – there is also plenty of information on the most common mushrooms you can produce.
There’s not quite as much information on wild mushrooms, but it’s still a helpful resource for people who are just getting started, as well as for those seeking to make the transition from wild hunting to home growing.
Roger’s Mushrooms offered aspiring mycologists a great resource through which to learn more about wild mushrooms. While this website is unfortunately no longer in existence, there are plenty of other tools to help mushroom lovers learn more about their favorite hobby.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either – when it comes to identifying wild mushrooms (many of which can be toxic when consumed) it’s best to be armed with information from several different resources. The more websites there are (and that you consult!) that are dedicated to mushroom identification, the better.