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Best field guide fungi (1 Viewer)

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
Dear all

I'm having another year of struggling to identify fungi. I know a bad workman blames his tools and all that but I'm looking to expand my selection of books - Roget Phillips, David Pegler and Courtecuisse and Duhem. What would people recommend?

Regards

Steve
 

Trichia

Well-known member
The guides you gave are already good but the problem is that trying to shoehorn a whole kingdom into a book is never gonna work perfectly (can you imagine a field guide to animals - Including insects, birds, mammals, arachnids, molluscs, nematodes etc?).

My advice is spend the rest of the season working out which groups you'd like to concentrate on and which ones to ignore. From there you can get a more detailed guide like:
https://www.nhbs.com/fungi-of-northern-europe-volume-1-the-genus-hygrocybe-book

It's possible nowadays to be able to study a group without buying any books - There are plenty of online guides and keys (and plenty of enthusiastic mycologists willing to help), like these:
http://pyrenomycetes.free.fr/xylariaceous/index.htm
https://mycena.no/
(that way you can always spend your money on a microscope instead!)

Cheers,
Nick
 
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Had.enough

Registered User
Supporter
Thanks for starting this thread Steve. I have varying degrees of enthusiasm in this field, but also really struggle. A question I have, is what data should we collect to have the best chance of subsequently identifying?
I'm seeing photos of fungi picked, or knocked over to see the underneath. Is this bad practice, or something we should be doing?
I typically take a profile shot and then narrow it down to any one of a dozen species!!
 

Jon Turner

Well-known member
More years ago than I care to remember, I was living in the Netherlands and the house we were living in backed onto some extensive mixed woodlands. There were lots of Fungi. I got hold of a guide: The Collins guide to Mushrooms and Toadstools, by Morten Lange and F Bayard Hora and was able to make a good start on identifying some of them.
I still occasionally refer to this book 50 years later, I have no idea if it is still in print.
 
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Trichia

Well-known member
what data should we collect to have the best chance of subsequently identifying?
I'm seeing photos of fungi picked, or knocked over to see the underneath. Is this bad practice, or something we should be doing?

Good question.
Firstly, try to concentrate on good collections of more than one mushroom - This gives a good impression of variability (a single specimen may have, for example, developed abnormally).

I generally encourage people seeking an identification to turn a fruit body over by carefully digging the base of the stem up (breaking the stem or over handling sometimes causes the loss of useful features).
As long as there are several mushrooms, turning one over will have a minimal detrimental effect on the population.
The underside will give you more information than any other feature. The first thing you need to look at is the colour of the gills (if it has them) and the attachment to the stem.

If you have a camera with adjustable settings, a good depth of field is useful to capture all features in focus.

As much data as possible is preferable. It's usually possible to estimate the size from a photo (as long as there's something in the background to give a sense of scale!).
Taking note of what the fungus is growing from is very useful, e.g. soil, wood etc.
Many fungi that grow on soil are mycorrhizal species so they depend on a certain tree (or plant) to live. Taking notes of what trees are nearby increases the chances of an ID.

Also useful to give the fungus a sniff - Many have characteristic smells.

Cheers,
Nick
 

Had.enough

Registered User
Supporter
Excellent, thanks Nick. I'll go out slightly more prepared next time. I think my sense of smell is a bit naff, for example, I once checked out a fragrant orchid, and by the time I got the vanilla scent, I was subsequently sneezing for 3 days.
 

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