Identifying mushrooms and fungi from photographs is extremely difficult. Sometimes the only way to precisely identify a mushroom is to look at its “spore print”. HAZ is a hiking website, not a mushroom and fungi website. HAZ has been accumulating a large amount of “Unidentified Mushroom and Fungi”
We are always asking ourselves: “How do we improve the HAZ Experience?” (and “Where is the best Mexican Food in Arizona?”)
The Field Guide to Mushrooms of North America (“the Field Guide”) has a “QUICK Identification Guide to Major Groups” which identifies Ten major groups. I proposed and a majority of the HAZ Mushroom committee accepted that we simplify and post Mushrooms photos into the 10 major groups instead of worrying about the exact identification of each specific mushroom or fungi. Full Disclosure (and a brag) – the Field Guide considered and accepted one of my photos (which is here on HAZ), paid me and sent me a free copy of the recent edition. http://hikearizona.com/books.php?ID=1236
If mushrooms can be readily identified, they will be. For instance, mushrooms such as Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) will still be specifically identified. HAZ will not identify whether a mushroom is edible (or psychedelic). But now, based on the “Quick Identification Guide to Major Groups “ in the Field Guide, instead of specific biological descriptions and families, HAZ will now have “Descriptions” and “Families” based on guidance from The Field Guide as follows:
Gilled Mushrooms - Familiar fungi with a cap and platelike gills where spores are produced. A vertical or lateral stalk is usually, but not always present. The National Audobon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms http://hikearizona.com/books.php?ID=1234 has numerous subclassifications of Gilled Mushrooms. HAZ will not be following this convention at this time.
Chanterelles – Spores born on ridges or folds on the underside of the cap and running down the stalk. The cap is often centrally depressed or funnel shaped
Tooth Fungi – Spores produced on downward-facing teeth, spines or “icicles”. Distinct cap present or absent.
Club and Coral Fungi – fruiting bodies erect or club-shaped or fingerlike or profusely branched and ocean coral-like
Jelly Fungi - rubbery, gelatinous, disklike, tonguelike or shapeless blobs growing on wood, often colorful and translucent. Many shrivel when dry and rehydrate when wet.
Crust Fungi– thin, effused, exposed spore bearing layer lying flat on wood substrate.
Boletes – spores born in pores on the spongy underside of a fleshy cap. The pore layer is separable from the cap.
Polypores and Conks – spores born in pores on the underside of a tough or woody cap. The pore layer is inseparable from the cap. Some have a stalk, others are stalkless and some lie flat on their substrate.
Birds Nest Fungi– small, nestlike fruiting body with spore bearing eggs.
Stinkhorns–Spore-bearing surface a layer of slime that smells like decaying flesh. The he fruiting body is unbranched, upright and clublike or ornately branched
Puffballs and Earthstars – fruiting body a rounded sac containing spores which are not ejected from the sac. The spores are released through an apical pore or when the sac wears away. In earthstars, the outer layers split to form rays.
Morel, cup fungi and allies. –Spores born in microscopic sacs called asci. Fruiting bodies contain tiny spore bearing flasks or the spores are produced in a layer of simple or complesx cups with or without stalks
The Committee has called in the best and brightest to help us. But this project could take some time since I am still (sort of) competing in Pixel Trivia (when I am not looking at mushrooms in HAZ at and Whole Foods) and Big_Load is only evaluating mushrooms that have already been cooked into traditional Italian recipes. The Committee has not yet but will eventually agree with me to not specifically identify Psilocybin mushrooms because I do not want to specifically identify areas where they grow in Arizona (and Flagstaff).
If you have a problem with this or want to be responsible for the Shroom section of HAZ, let me know (and leave your door unlocked so that my friends and Big_load’s friends can “dialogue” with you). :A1: