Submitting a Mushroom for Identification

Example of picture of mushrooms before their collection
An example of pictures of mushrooms before their collection. Photos can help significantly during the identification process.

We are happy to assist identifying mushrooms, we focus on these found associated with plants or found in natural habitats. See our submission form and guidelines at Sample Submission Form.

To identify mushrooms, we need a physical sample accompanied by digital pictures. Scroll down to see our video on how to collect and submit a mushroom sample.

Before Collection

  • Take photos of the mushroom before disturbing it. see our Digital Photography page for some guidelines.
  • Include a size reference (i.e. a coin or a ruler).
  • Include photos of the entire mushroom (side profile), a close-up of the top and the underneath of the mushroom.
  • Use the mushroom identification section on the form

Collecting the Specimen

Wax or parchment paper are great to pack mushrooms to submit
Wax or parchment paper are the best material foo packing mushrooms

  • Include the whole mushroom: cap, stalk and complete foot (base or stipe).
  • Carefully scoop the specimen from the substrate.

Packing the Specimen

  • Place the mushroom on wax paper or a paper bag that matches specimen size.
  • Avoid using plastic bags (conducive to deterioration).
  • Keep the mushrooms out of direct sunlight and cool.

Mailing the Specimen

  • Pack the samples in a sturdy box and mark each sample clearly.
  • When submitting multiple specimens, include separate submission forms and match the form with the bag identifier.
  • Send samples by overnight courier.  
  • The Clinic cannot guarantee timely analysis for samples arriving on a Friday or before a holiday.
  • A report will be issued within ten working days from receipt of sample.

Lunch bags are great to pack mushrooms to submit
Lunch bags are great to pack mushrooms to submit

Because mushroom identification is a complex process, we reserved the right not to process the sample, if an insufficient sample is submitted.

Liquified mushroom in plastic bag
Note the liquefied mushroom on the right bag. Avoid plastic bags. This is and insufficient sample.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can't:

Make recommendations on the edibility of wild mushrooms. see article ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic Identifies Mushrooms, Not Safety

Identify fungi present in households or associated with food production. Identify Mushroom based on photos only.

For information on Morel Mushroom Certification Workshop visit https://www.ipm.iastate.edu/morel-mushroom-certification