Outline for describing your mushroom hunting find
When describing a mushroom, it is useful to use the same terms professional mycologists use when describing them. First, you will learn what the terms mean so that when you read the description from a book you will understand exactly what they meant. Second, your descriptions will then be similarly understandable by anybody who has learned these terms.
A description of a mushroom can be given in terms of the following outline. Where a feature does not exist on a specimen the appropriate section can be left out. When describing a species, try to have young and mature specimens on hand and make sure your description describes the collection, not just one particular specimen.
Bold indicates things that need to be described even if you have a photograph. In other words, if you have photos of your specimens, you can use the photos as the description of the things that are shown in the photos. If you've cut one in half, we can see how the gills are attached to the stem. If you can't tell comething from your photos, then you need to describe it with words.
1.1. Size usually measured in centimeters. Measure the width and thickness, also the height if greater than the width.
1.2.1. General Shape these shapes are fairly general and vague. That is deliberate. It is OK to combine shapes to describe, e.g. convex-flat. If the mushroom changes shape as it ages, describe all forms.
188.8.131.52. Campanulate or Bell Shaped
184.108.40.206. Funnel Shaped or Infundibuliform
1.2.2. Modifiers e.g. convex, prominently, broadly umbonate.
220.127.116.11. Umbonate having a rounded bump (an umbo) above where the stem attaches to the cap.
18.104.22.168. Umbilicate having a depression like a belly button above where the stem attaches to the cap.
1.2.3. Margin if it is distinctive, describe the edge of the cap.
22.214.171.124. Inrolled extreme case of Incurved.
126.96.36.199. Appendiculate or Finged
1.3.1. Touch describe the feel of the mushroom to your fingertip.
188.8.131.52. Sticky or Tacky
184.108.40.206. Slimy or Viscid or Glutinous if there is a visible slime layer, say so.
220.127.116.11. Smooth or Glabrous without any hairiness or fuzziness.
18.104.22.168. Fibrous or Fibrillose there can be large differences of degree in this feature.
22.214.171.124.1. Flattened or Appressed
126.96.36.199. Warted mostly for Amanitas.
1.4.1. When naming colors use obvious names (red, yellow) or try to compare to something which most anybody will be familiar with (cinnamon brown). Especially with browns or grays try to give a more detailed idea of color than simply saying it is brown.
1.4.2. Note differences between the center of the cap and the edge.
1.4.3. Note if the cap is Hygrophanous (if it changes color as it dries out), and what it changes from and to.
1.5. Context the flesh of the cap.
1.5.1. Thick or Thin
1.5.2. Color note color changes on exposure to air and on bruising.
1.5.3. Tough or Fragile note this only if it is unusually so.
1.5.4. Odor note any distinctive odor. This can be very important for identification in some species. Avoid naming an odor very few people are likely to have experienced. Some distinctive odors are:
188.8.131.52. Mild lacking in any distinctive odor.
184.108.40.206. Green Corn like the husks of fresh corn.
220.127.116.11. Almond sweet, like almond extract or benzaldehyde.
18.104.22.168. Phenolic like phenol, library paste, or sometimes described as Metallic.
22.214.171.124. Spicy something like cinnamon.
126.96.36.199. Sewer Gas
188.8.131.52. Mushroomy like the white button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) from the grocery.
184.108.40.206. Radish like
220.127.116.11. Farinaceous like freshly ground meal.
1.5.5. Taste break off a small piece of the cap (smaller that a fingernail), put it in you mouth, and chew for a few seconds to a minute, then spit it out (do not swallow). (Note avoid tasting species known to be very poisonous, such as deadly Amanitas). Avoid naming a flavor very few people are likely to have experienced. A few distinctive tastes are:
18.104.22.168. Mild lacking in any distinctive taste.
22.214.171.124. Acrid like hot pepper (this can be very strong in some species).
126.96.36.199. Farinaceous like freshly ground meal.
1.6. Other anything not described above which is noteworthy.
2. Gills or Tubes or Teeth (Spore bearing surface)
2.1. Attachment to Stem in some species the gills are attached when young and become free; this is called Seceding.
2.1.2. Adnexed or Notched
2.2. Spacing Applies only to Gills.
2.2.1. Crowded so close together it is almost difficult to distinguish individual gills.
2.2.2. Close average
2.3. Breadth a relative judgement call. Only use this if they are unusually so. Applies only to Gills.
2.4. Color the color often changes from young to mature specimens. In many species it is important to know the color in a young specimen. Note any color changes which may result due to injury. If the edge of the gill is a darker different color than the face it is termed Marginate note both colors.
2.5. Margin only note if the gill edge is not a smooth curve.
2.6. Other anything not described above which is noteworthy. A common example would be gills which turn into an ink-like slime as the mushroom ages these are termed Deliquescent.
3. Stalk (Stipe) note if the stalk is absent.
3.1.2. Eccentric off center on the cap, but not from the edge.
3.1.3. Lateral from the edge of the cap.
3.2.1. Length from base to where it connects to the cap.
3.2.2. Thickness where it connects to the cap.
3.3. Shape in some species this may change with age.
3.3.2. Tapering state which direction is thinner. Tapering upward is thinner at the top.
3.3.3. Clavate or Bulb Shaped
3.3.4. Ventricose thickest in the middle.
3.3.5. Rooting the stem extends into the substrate like a taproot.
3.4.1. Touch describe the feel of the mushroom to your fingertip.
188.8.131.52. Sticky or Tacky
184.108.40.206. Slimy or Viscid or Glutinous if there is a visible slime layer, say so.
220.127.116.11. Smooth or Glabrous without any hairiness or fuzziness.
18.104.22.168. Fibrous or Fibrillose there can be large differences of degree in this feature.
22.214.171.124.1. Flattened or Appressed
3.6.1. Hollow if filled with pith, note it.
3.8. Other any noteworthy feature not mentioned above. Many mushrooms have a prominent Basal Bulb.
4.1. Partial Veil encloses the underside of the cap when the mushroom is young.
126.96.36.199. Cortina like a cobweb.
188.8.131.52. Membranous a solid sheet of tissue.
4.1.2. Leaves a Ring?
184.108.40.206. Persistent the ring is almost always present on mature specimens.
220.127.116.11. Evanescent the ring often or usually disappears as the mushroom matures.
4.1.3. Ring or Ring Zone
18.104.22.168.1. Superior near the top of the stem.
22.214.171.124.2. Median near the middle of the stem.
126.96.36.199.3. Inferior toward the bottom of the stem.
188.8.131.52.4. Free and Movable as in some Lepiotas, for example.
184.108.40.206.1. Skirtlike membranous and hanging from the stem like a skirt.
220.127.116.11.3. Fibrous Ring Zone typical of many Cortinarius.
18.104.22.168.4. Slimy a zone of slime.
22.214.171.124.5. Double sometimes close examination will show the top and bottom edges of the ring will be free of the stem giving the appearance of two rings.
126.96.36.199. Color it may be different on the top and bottom. Note any color changes.
4.2. Universal Veil encloses the entire mushroom when young.
4.2.2. Color including color changes.
5. Spores and Spore Print
5.1. Color this should be taken from a spore print on white paper. Note that in some species the color can change as the spore powder dries.
5.2. Size measure in microns. Requires a microscope and a minimum of about 400x magnification.
5.3. Shape requires a microscope.
5.3.1. Globose spherical or nearly so.
5.3.3. Oblong similar to ellipsoid, but more squared off.
5.3.4. Ovoid egg shaped.
5.3.5. Fusiform or Spindle Shaped
5.4. Ornamentation requires a microscope. Usually requires an oil immersion objective.
5.4.2. Partial or Broken Reticulum Reticulum is Latin for net.
5.4.5. Striate or Grooved
5.5.1. Amyloid staining dark blue with Meltzer's reagent. (Tincture of Iodine can substitute for Meltzer's)
5.5.2. Dextrinoid staining brownish with Meltzer's reagent.
6.1.1. On the Ground note the kinds of trees nearby (pine or not is OK if you don't know)
6.1.2. On Wood note if living or dead.
6.1.3. On Dung
6.1.4. On Mushrooms attempt to determine what kind, even if only to genus.
6.2.1. Single or Solitary
6.2.2. Groups a few at a time.
6.2.3. Gregarious or Troops many at a time.
6.2.4. Cespitose many growing from a common base
6.2.5. Fairy Rings
7. Other - anything else you think it might be helpful to mention
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Published on: 2004-04-12 (367 reads)
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