HOW TO IDENTIFY FUNGI

In order to identify a fungal specimen accurately it is important to adhere to a very strict set of identification criteria.  Only when all parts of the fungus have been checked against a reliable literary source may a true naming take place. 

First and foremost before the collection of specimens it is necessary to have access to several in depth field guides.  For out in the field it is obviously better to use a pocket-sized volume to make on the spot identifications, however this may result in the sacrifice of textual matter.  Specimens that may not be named out in the field can then be collected and taken for further study.  When at home with your collection it is then that more informative field guides may be used. 

When out in the field collecting fungi it is vital to always take notes of habitat, colour change upon cutting and growth patterns (solitary or trooping).  Use a sharp knife to collect your specimens so as to cut clean through the fungiís stem rather than pull it out and risk damaged the mycelium.  Transport all specimens in a well-aerated, covered container therefore limiting damage and drying out.   

Once at home with the specimens a more extensive study can take place.  Each specimen should be dealt with in turn following a logical sequential identification process.  All parts of the fungus need close inspection and testing, so a knife, hand lens (58 - 520), pen and notebook and plenty of patience will be required.

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