Introduction to the mushroom identification methods proposed"
Introduction to the mushroom identification methods proposed
The identification methods proposed here are primarily meant to be used by beginners, who don't know much about mycology, and look for an easy way of helping them identify the wild mushrooms they collect. More experienced persons might see this as a complementary help to sort out species which are likely to be close to the one sought.
We use here simple morphological criteria that can be seen with the naked eye, such as colours, size, presence of a ring on the stem, and various other chracteristic features.
These methods appear under two forms, depending on the complexity and type of the mushroom to determine:
- either through a kind of search engine, driven by the answers provided to a small set of simple questions related to the mushroom.
This method is particularly suited to hard-to-guess mushrooms, such as mushrooms with gills or pores.
For this approach, all questions are asked independently, and the methods returns the most relevant mushrooms in terms of similarity with the mushrooms to be identified, as a web search engine would do.
- or using the classical determination keys, for all other cases.
Unlike the previous method, questions asked depend on answers provided to the previous questions, and the process continues until a name is finally output for the targetted mushroom.
In all cases, these method end up providing a link to the allegedly identified mushroom's web page, which provides then extra information to compare with and hopefully complete the identification process of the target mushroom.
The methods used here (as all identification methods for fungi based on macroscopic morphological criteria) can only help identifying common mushrooms. The vast majority of them can indeed only be identified with a high degree of certainty by experts with the help of a microscope.
They should however help beginners spot relevant criteria and get familiar with the differences between mushrooms, differences which can prove ultimately very useful to identify them!