Collecting Fungi

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By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

When making a collection it will facilitate identification if you note the salient characteristics of a species in the same order as they are mentioned in the text:

Cap Note the size in centimetres, the shape, the colours, the texture. Is it smooth, sticky, fibrous, or scaly?

Stem Make sure you get the whole stem out of the ground and note the height and width in millimetres, the colours, the presence of a ring, volva, root, or basal bulb.

Flesh Note the colour and the texture. Is it fibrous or crumbly? Does it exude milk? Check the smell and taste. To ascertain taste, nibble a little bit and break it up on the tip of your tongue without swallowing it. Spit out the remains and completely clear your mouth. With care, even the most poisonous species can be tasted in this way; in practice, you will soon learn to recognize and so avoid tasting the main poisonous genera.

Gills Note the shape, attachment to the stem, and colour.

Spores Note the spore colour, which can sometimes be seen beneath the cap on the grass or leaves. If not, make a spore print (this may not be possible with brackets).

Habitat Note if it grows on wood, soil, or manure, and in grassland or woodland. Under or near what species of tree or plant? Is the soil chalky or acid?

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