Mushroom resources and why we do not identify mushroom based on photos only

The ISU Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic provides mushroom identification as part of our diagnostic service. To identify mushrooms, we need a fresh physical sample accompanied by digital pictures. See full instructions on our Mushroom identification page.

We do not identify mushroom solely from digital photos. When it comes to identifying mushrooms, we need a physical specimen to look for specific characteristics. We used books, different microscopes, and reagents. 

We like digital photos to accompany a sample as the photos can include important parts of information, and because some specimens may suffer in transit and we may miss important pieces of the puzzle, see our article Mushroom Identification, What to Know Before Collecting Them

Please also be aware, we do not make recommendations on edibility see article ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic Identifies Mushrooms, Not Safety

To learn more about the process of identifying mushrooms in the clinic see our article and video Mycology for Kids- Part 1

If you are interested in learning about mushrooms, we encourage you to join a mycological society, or mushroom group like the prairie states mushroom club, check their site at

We recommend seeking learning opportunities and from experienced mushroom enthusiasts and finding a mentor when you are just starting. There is also plenty of great books, pocket field guides, US forest service publications, DNR articles and some very good websites. The prairie states mushroom club has a great list of links, see


Lina Rodriguez Salamanca Extension Plant Pathologist and Diagnostician

Dr. Lina Rodriguez-Salamanca is an extension plant pathologist and diagnostician with the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic  (, a member of the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN,&nbsp...

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