It is very important to know and understand the picture on the left if you ever want to identify an unknown mushroom species. Many mushrooms look alike, some are even identical unless you see them under a microscope, but yet the one is edible and the other is lethal. So you do need to be very serious about it. Therefor the following rule:
Do not, ever, eat an unknown mushroom. Do not eat wild mushrooms, unless you know what you’re doing.
There are 3 parts of the mushroom that you will need most to positively identify a mushroom.
- The cap: always look at the shape and texture of the cap. Look closely to see all colors or (white) dots on the cap.
- The gills: look at the formation and color of the gills
- The stalk: is it small or tall, robust or narrow. These are also very important features to identify a mushroom.
Besides the physical appearance of the mushroom one should closely look at the substrate the mushroom is growing on. When you want to identify it further you will need this information most of the time and it will make the difference between a positive and a negative identification.
Also look if the mushroom is growing alone or in clusters (many mushrooms growing from one point). This might come in handy later.
Last but not least you will need to take one of the mushrooms home with you. There you will make a spore print. To see how to make one, click here.
Now you have all the information to positively identify most mushrooms. All you need now is a good field guide that will help you identify. You can buy very nice books on eBay or Amazon on this matter. We selected what seemed to be the best books: