Tools for Identifying Mushrooms

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by Frog, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. Frog

    Frog Well-Known Member Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Tools for Identifying Mushrooms

    I've tried to make a short but reasonably complete list. Some identification characters won't be relevant to your specimen at all, while some may identify your specimen pretty quickly. So, in general, it is useful to take note (and/or photos) of every feature you can, when you don't know which features are most significant. There are many resources available for more details in print, online, and via your local mushroom club.
    Having said that, I sense this forum is open to & welcomes requests for IDs also when you have very little info on the critter, so please don't let this list be a barrier to your participation in the forum!

    Before collecting note HABITAT & HABIT:
    • On wood - eg. live, dead, very decayed, conifer, hardwood
    • On ground
    • On dung
    • On other - eg. horn, insect, mushroom, underground, grass
    • Field or forest or other
    • Nearby dominant trees/plants
    • Growing alone or in clusters

    COLLECTING
    • Disturb the surrounding habitat as little as possible, take only as much as you will use, use all of what you take, never take all that is there.
    • Store in paper, wax paper or foil, in dry place or fridge. Don't use plastic or freezer.
    • Collect the whole mushroom, including the base of the stem (if it has a stem).

    IDENTIFICATION FEATURES

    • Size - overall size, relative size of eg. cap vs. stem
    • Shape overall - eg. Cap&stem mushroom, coral/club/antlers, stinkhorn/puffball/star, cup/ear, slime/flat, shelving/conk, brain/cauliflower, etc.
    • Shape specifics
      • Stem - eg. narrow, wide, bulbous at bottom, attach to centre or side of cap, etc.
      • Cap - eg. conical, flat, funnel, centre nipple, ridged, wavy margin, etc.
      • Volva - eg.is there a volva (cuplike) holding the bottom of the stem, etc.
      • Veil & ring - eg. any remnants of veil on cap, cap edge, ringing stem, ring colour/position/texture etc.
      • Branches - eg. Single, forking, shape of branch ends, branch base
      • Cup/ball - eg. Hard, rubbery, soft, circular, lobed, stalked, pear-shaped
    • Spore-producing surface type - eg. Gills, tubes, pores, pits, teeth, balls, other
      • Gill attachment to stem - eg. not attached, completely attached, notched, running down stem)
      • Gill features - eg. crowded or far apart, straight or forked, exude latex (what colour) when cut, colour, etc.
      • Tube/pore/pit/teeth - eg. Size, pattern, colour, shape
      • Cup/ball - eg. Spore mass colour, if has rind, if has peridioles (spore cases) etc.
    • Spore colour - look at gills, veils, places on which spores might land, like stems or another cap below. Or take a spore print by placing spore producing surface face down on white (or white & black) paper for a few hours.
    • Colour - eg. Colour of each part of mushroom, whether colour changes with time or bruising or wetness, etc.
    • Smell - eg. Mushroom, almonds, ammonia, corn, cinnamon, lemons, pepper, garlic, licorice, maple sugar, sperm, etc. Don't sniff hard at the spore producing surface, as spores in your lungs can be an irritant.
    • Taste - eg. As above. Remember to spit it all out after tasting. To be on the safe side, don't taste any Amanitas or little brown mushrooms.
    • Texture
      • Surfaces - eg. Smooth, warts, slimy, fibrous, hairy, netted, powdery, velvety, spiny, etc.
      • Interior - eg. hollow, stuffed, gooey, powdery
      • Overall - eg. Hard, meaty, brittle, cartilaginous, rubbery, jelly, spongy, leathery, watery, etc.
    • Microscopy - a whole topic unto itself
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2015
  2. RPBnimrod

    RPBnimrod Active Member

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    How can you collect whole fungi that grow in living trees without cutting out a large part of the tree (which I have never done)?
     
  3. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    you could only remove the exterior parts from the tree if you were not going to cut into the tree itself.
     
  4. Frog

    Frog Well-Known Member Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I used the term "mushroom" instead of "fungus" with just that question in mind <grin>.
    In the vast majority of cases you can remove a mushroom / fruiting body without cutting into a tree. Perhaps better to just photo any specimen that cannot be removed without hurting the tree.
    cheers and thanks for bringing this up!
    frog
     
  5. Radica

    Radica Member

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    I have some mushrooms can anyone help me identify them?
     
  6. Frog

    Frog Well-Known Member Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Radica,

    Please start a new thread for your mushroom identification question, as this thread is just about ID tools.

    If you've not done this before there is some information here about starting threads:
    How to post a message

    If you have photos, please post those as well:
    Attach photos and files


    thanks!
    frog
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2015
  7. Kildale

    Kildale Active Member

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    I posted a lot photos of fungi thinking that it may help ID some of the fungi in BC, all were actually taken on Vancouver Island, however no one has commented on them, we have put them into the different groups.
     
  8. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    When I view the above post in the new forums software each apostrophe (and some other characters) have been converted to a string of 2 or 3 special characters which makes the post hard to read. I'm told this is a Microsoft conversion issue, so I'm not sure if it is a problem for all users or only those like me who use Firefox or other browsers.
     
  9. wcutler

    wcutler Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Thanks. I've fixed up that posting. If you find others (in any forum), you can let me know and I'll fix them (private message would be good for that). They don't seem to be findable via Search, but I only really care about fixing them in postings that people are still reading.
    I've also changed the links in the how-to-post posting. Same deal - I'll correct any help links you come across that are no longer valid.
     
  10. Frog

    Frog Well-Known Member Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks for addressing this Wendy
     

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