Microscopy for Purposes of Identification (Newbie Question)

Michael Wood mwood at mykoweb.com
Sat Jun 7 12:44:08 EST 1997

Tim and Runjuan Childress <timantoi at crosslink.net> wrote:

>   My own interest at present is in identification and collection of
>mushrooms in the field, with a strong emphasis on mycophagy.  Given the
>evident phenotypic variation among specimens, I would feel much more
>secure if I could use microscopic characteristics as an aid to
>identification.  In particular, I am thinking of spore shape, size
>and color.  It so happens that I have a student-grade light microscope
>which magnifies up to 1000X; in the past I've used it to view hair,
>protists in pond water, and other such dabblings.  Now I wish to use it
>to identify mushrooms, making permanent slides of spores from prominent
>edible and toxic species, and perhaps doing a bit of photomicrography.
>Can anyone point me to resources for help on technique, supplies,
>references, online images of spores, etc.?

The best resource to learn to use your microscope to ID mushrooms is
the book:

by David Largent, David Johnson, and Roy Watling
Published by Mad River Press

The book had introductory chapters on laboratory techniques and
chemical reagents. Following these intro chapters are several chapters
on the micro-morphological aspects of Agarics (gilled mushrooms) that
you need to know in order to use your 'scope as an aid to

Good luck!

-- Michael Wood
-- San Leandro, CA USA
-- mwood at mykoweb.com
-- http://www.mykoweb.com/

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