Mushrooms can be quite tricky to ID correctly; some species can only be positively identified by making a spore print. To make a spore print you place the cap of the mushroom - gill side down - on a sheet of white paper and leave it for a day or so. The spores fall out of the mushroom and onto the paper, leaving behind a distinctive pattern.
Very true Mike!
I purchashased a copy of arguably the finest "mushroom book" available (Mushrooms of the Southeastern United States
, co-authored by 5 different mycologists), which tags at over $90, and still have trouble identifying several species. While this book carries a high retail cost (I got a deal on it for $65+ at amazon.com), and is accompanied with absolutely stellar photography, the scientists who put the book together likewise discuss the "spore patterns" of the various species as a means of identification.
While I have purchased many field guides to flowers to help me with identification, the photography in most of the flower guides I have got from Amazon is terrible, and none compares to the photography in Mushrooms of the Southeastern United States
. Yet despite the clarity and quality of both the photos and text in this work, it remains true that some species are simply impossible to identify without dissection (as well as others not being covered with photos in the book), which is why I was hoping that someone more knowledgeable than I might be able to help with these
The 'costs' of misidentifying a mushroom can be quite high! Oh, and never go by, "I saw a squirrel eating these". The definitely does not work.
In the immortal words of one of my college professors: "Whenever you take people out on a plant walk, walk ten steps ahead and step on anything you can't identify."
LOL, while very, very true Mike, no worries there though (at least for me) ... because I have no culinary interest at all in these bizarre fungi, just a photographic one
Thank you very much for responding, Mike. I guess I will either leave the ones I have trouble with as "unidentified" on my site, or just try my best to get the ID right, unless and until someone takes me to task on any mistakes I've made, in which case I will welcome the information