Mushroom identification

Alter S. Reiss asreiss at
Wed Dec 1 11:55:06 EST 1999

On 29 Nov 1999, Andreas Gminder wrote:

> misterguch schrieb in Nachricht <81hppm$d4j$1 at>...
> >How difficult is it to learn to distinguish the different types of mushroom
> >>From one another?
> Just by yourself with one or more books: nearly impossible.

	This seems a bit needlessly alarmist.  For simple pot collecting,
it shouldn't be that hard to build a "library" of familiar, easy to
recognize species, and stick to those.
	Chanterelles are not hard to identify.  While identification of
Boletes can be a royal pain, recognizing that a mushroom is a Bolete is
fairly easy in most cases, and as there are no deadly poisonous Boletes,
any failure in further identification might have unpleasant, but not
excessively dangerous, consequences.  Puffballs are not that hard to
recognize.  Neither are some familiar edibles like Hen of the Woods, or
Chicken Mushrooms, or Hedgehog, or . . .  Well, a great many others.
	Which isn't to say that there aren't some edibles that might well
be confused with poisonous species.  "Honey" Mushrooms are something that
I've personally been very carefull about, primarily because the common
name seems to be associated with several species, some of which seem a bit
too close to Galerina Autumnalis to the eye to allow me complete
confidence in gathering them.  Gypsy Mushrooms (Rozites, er, caperata?)
also seem a bit too tough to be certain of, so they wouldn't be something
that I'd eat on my own identification.

> With the help of experienced people in a mushroom society or somrthing like
> that: Not too difficult, but some years time will be necessary at least.

	It does not take the help of experienced people, and years of
experience to recognize a giant puffball.  Honest.  If it's really big,
and round, and white, and mostly smooth, it's either going to be a giant
puffball or something that isn't a mushroom.

>  My wife claims to be able to do it, but she does this
> >just by looking at the pictures in books.  Am I likely to be poisoned
> >anytime soon?
> Yes.

	Maybe.  It depends on whether your wife is concious of her
limitations as far as identification goes, or not.

  Alter S. Reiss --------------------

			    "Whom do you love?"

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