This free online FUNGI Guide volume compliments FUNGI eBook series on Amazon Kindle. Photos are in the gallery as i can’t add them to this page.
This online Guide volume of FUNGI will be updated from time to time. (dates of updates will be noted at the end of the page)
This series of books are unique in that each volume is dedicated to a single species and contain more photos per book, per species than most other books currently on the market.
In each volume I have tried to describe the Fungi as clearly as possible by avoiding too much technical ‘jargon’ that Ammeter Mycologists may find difficult to decipher, using images and illustrations where necessary to help make positive identifications.
This volume also explains the book series and how it works.
Disclaimer at end of page.
Each book is dedicated to a single species of fungus, with multiple photos, descriptions, cross sections, spore images, illustrations, edibility guides, chemical tests and more.
Firstly the books are color coded, see the photo gallery for book colors.
Collecting for study: To photograph and study specimens either in the field or indoors it is best to remove the specimen ‘whole’ by sliding a knife or similar object beneath the fruit body and lifting the whole specimen, once it is free from the soil, handle it as little as possible to avoid damage or leaving finger prints. Each specimen should be stored safely in a container, basket or bagged (described below).
Collecting for food: When collecting for food it is not important to have the ‘whole’ fruiting body, the mushroom can be cut away at ground
level this also preserves the Mycelium beneath, try not to turn over every specimen you find, this can damage future harvests in the area and do not take all that you find, you should take only what you can resonably use and ideally at most half of the patch, leave the remainder for nature and other collectors, whilst collecting large numbers of fruit bodies should not harm the underlying fungus colony, it is only fair not to take everything. I recently found out that people had been up in the woods where i live collecting bag loads of edible species! With that going on it’s no wonder i never find any! Which in turn means it will take me longer to gather the photos and information i need to do the books on those edibles.
My method :
I prefer to ‘Bubble’ Bag specimens by tying a long bag into a bubble around the specimen (See photo in gallery of a bagged cup fungus specimen). Air bubble keeps specimens from being damaged and stops the fungi from drying out.
The bags i use are 20 cm x 30 cm Gusseted food grade freezer bags (From Lakeland Ltd. UK)
Any tall gusseted bag is ideal and a few larger bags are handy for larger specimens.
Best to only bag Ink cap species when you can attend to them within a few hours or so, as they will tend to ‘melt’ no matter how they are transported.
Photographing fungi can sometimes create an illusion, causing a small fungus to appear large in the photo with no frame of reference to size and scale it can be mistaken as actually being large or tiny when its really large.
Many Mycologists use a coin, for example an American quarter or a one Cent coin, or a UK Penny or ten pence coin, these give an idea of ‘scale’.
The 1cm scale cube shown in the gallery photo of Fluted birds nest fungus is often used to show scale of metiorites but is superb for Mycology photos.
Light and Position
Focus, lighting and positioning are key to good fungi photos, there is a series of photos in the gallery with good positioning to show also several stages of growth of Flammulina Velutipes in the one shot, the light is good and most of the fruiting bodies are in focus. However, i could have done with moving that twig on the left!
When setting up to take a photo try to remember to remove debris, leafs and twigs, they may not appear obvious to the naked eye but they tend to show up in the final image.
The chart in the photo gallery shows many of the various shapes of cap and the words used to describe each one.
A fungus often changes shape dramatically as it grows, sometimes young specimens of one species can be mistaken for something else.
Ideally the best way to identify any fungus is to view it at several stages of development.
Caps can have the spore bearing surfaces on the underside (gills) and on the upper surface too.
Gills come in many varietes, crouded, close, wide etc….
They can also have differing lengths and even patterns to the lengths.
Gills can be thin, rubbery, brittle, millimetres thick etc……
Some fungi have Pores, see page .
A cross section of a fungus can show many helpful features for identification, particularly if the flesh color changes when cut.
Spores are usefull to all mushroom entusiasts but rarely in microscopic detail, the most useful detail is the spore-print color.
Some similar looking fungi can be distinguished by their differing spore print color.
It is not often easy to obtain a microscope due to cost but it can be very helpful in giving confirmed spore shapes, you may be able to pick up a very nice old microscope in sales of unwanted goods or on ebay, they may not be new and shiny but if you can view the spores clearly then its perfect.
Milk and bleeding
I use frosted end microscope slides, water based mountant. And Cedar wood oil for my microscopes 100/1.25 Oil objective (the ‘objective’ is the magnifying lense).
My microscope is a Compound microscope by Am Scope purchased through a USA seller on ebay and shipped to me in the UK, this microscope has 4 objectives
100/1.25 Oil (160/0.17)
This scope has a simple web cam type digital camera that has a specific simple computer program that allows still’s to be taken, i advise saving images as JPEG for ease of use with other programs.
If your microscope view becomes ‘blotchy’ this is usually dush that has managed to get in side, use a can of compressed air to blow out dust from internal lenses.
Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)
10% Weight/WeightVolumetric solution
Iron Salts (FeSO4)
5% Volumetric solution
Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)
10% Volumetric solution
Iron III Sulphate ()
Phenol (Carbolic Acid)
& Vanillin (Vanilla)
I purchased my chemicals pre-prepared from Mistral Chemicals.