Submitting a Mushroom for Identification

We are happy to assist in identification of fungi, see our submission form and guidelines at Sample Submission Form.

Example of picture of mushrooms before their collection
Wax paper or paper bags are the best material for packing mushrooms.

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

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

Packing the Specimen

Example of picture of mushrooms before their collection
Example of pictures of mushrooms before their collection can help significantly during identification process.

  • 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.

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

We can't:

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

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. 

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