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1. Unless noted otherwise, meet at the designated foray site at 10:00 AM. Groups will form and start off by 10:15. Forays will continue until about 12:30, at which time a lunch break will be taken at an area designated by the foray leader.

2. Forays will be held rain or shine and might be over rough trails or through heavy woods. Dress accordingly. Hiking shoes and insect repellent are strongly recommended.

3. Do not hunt at selected foray sites within one week prior to the foray.

4. The Foray Leader is responsible for organizing and conducting the foray. Cooperation of members and guests is expected It is the responsibility of each mushroom hunter to remain with the group. Your best learning opportunities will be in watching and hearing experienced forayers.

5. Collection: Paper bags or waxed paper, a knife and a basket are essential. Do not use plastic bags or plastic wrap, which induce premature spoilage. When collecting for identification, try to get specimens of the same species in various stages of development. Disregard old/rotting specimens. Use a knife to dig up the entire specimen, including those parts below the surface of the substrate. Do not mix different species in the same bag.

6. Specimens belong solely to the finder. However, when mushrooms of particular interest are located, please allow others to examine and photograph them in situ. Disposition of the specimen is the prerogative of the owner, but cooperation with the Taxonomy Group in building the club herbarium is urged for the benefit of the entire membership.

7. Collectors are urged to use good conservation practices and to endeavor to leave foray areas as undisturbed as possible. If fungi populations are repeatedly decimated by over-zealous collectors, future years will see decreases in the size and variety of the fungi flora of the area. Please think ahead!

8. Identification: After lunch, two tables will be set aside for the sorting, identification and display of fungi collected. Members are invited to place any specimen collected during the foray on the sorting table. Plates and collection forms will be available. Identified specimens will then be moved to the display table for general examination.

9. WARNING: Never eat any mushroom (fungus) that has not been positively identified as edible! Mushroom poisoning can be fatal, so take extreme care. While foray leaders and experienced mushroom identifiers may aid in classification, neither the NJMA nor the individuals present at the foray are respon- sible for the identification or misidentification of any fungus.

10. Members are encouraged to bring friends who may be interested in our programs to any club function EXCEPT THOSE WHERE FOOD IS SHARED.

11. Suggestions are welcome. Please advise the foray leader or any club officer.


In the past, the burden of identification has fallen on a few of our members whom we refer to as "experts". Please don't "dump" your collection on the table and expect someone to sort and identify your mushrooms. This is supposed to be a learning experience, so please try your best to identify your specimens to at least the Genus level. Beginners are encouraged to ask questions and be helped in their quest to identify mushrooms. However, beginners should collect only a few specimens (3-4) and try to learn these mushrooms before collecting more. It is easy to become overwhelmed with collecting and identifying mushrooms, so be patient and learn only a few at a time.

(from the Oregon Mycological Society’s Mushrumours, vol. 31, #2 by Jan Lindgren. edited by Rod Tulloss)

If you are a casual wild mushroom picker who is interested only in finding a few good edibles, field notes might never become an integral part of the mushroom collecting experience. On the other hand, if you want to become more proficient at finding the choice edibles, or if you are serious about learning more about mushrooms in general, you will find that good field notes are indispensable. Serious mycologists must have accurate, thorough, and concise information in the form of field notes in order to assure meaningful and correct taxonomic descriptions and valid research. Dedicated amateurs can also advance their understanding through the discipline of preparing careful field notes. The following is intended to give you an idea of what should be included, and how to make simple field notes.

First of all, your notes need not be long and involved unless you are doing an in-depth study or supplying specimens and information to someone who needs detailed notes. A few simple pieces of equipment are required:

1. A notebook. Some like a loose-leaf style and others prefer spiral bound so pages are never lost.

2. A pencil or pen. Each has advantages and disadvantages, so choose whichever you prefer.

3. A ruler, either in inches or centimeters (the latter if you want to follow the experts)

4. An outline of essential information that should be noted on preprinted forms or data cards.

5. Pieces of white and dark paper for spore prints.

6. A knife or single-edge razor for cutting into your specimens. Longitudinal sectioning is often important to check thickness of the cap, hollows in the stipe, gill attachment, etc.

7. A hand lens to aid in seeing some of the less obvious details.

8. An altimeter which is most helpful if hunting in the mountains.

Added to the above would be your collection basket, waxed paper, camera equipment, digging tool, books, maps, compass, whistle...Whoops!, this is supposed to be kept simple! All of these will help you, but remember, there is a difference between what has to be noted at the time you pick your mushrooms, and what can be filled in after you return home. Measurements can be done after you are home, but color and color changes due to bruising or handling, need to be noted immediately,. It is also difficult to remember type of soil, the kinds of trees and plants in the area if you don't write them down on the spot.

Each collection, whether it is a single mushroom or several growing close together, should be wrapped in waxed paper. Some collectors prefer to use aluminum foil, mylar bags, or foam containers; just don't use plastic bags, which retain moisture, causing the mushrooms to deteriorate rapidly. A piece of paper tucked in under an expanded cap, before you wrap up a mushroom, will probably show a good spore print by the time you arrive home and unwrap your treasures. Be sure to note the color of the fresh spore print because some will change color slightly as they dry out or age. The spore print should be folded in half and attached to your notes. The main points to keep in mind when making notes are to cover the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW:

WHO - means your name, the group, or the people you were with when you made the collection.

WHAT - the mushroom's name if you know it, or a descriptive term so you will remember which mushroom goes with your notes. A number might also be assigned to each collection, especially if you are taking photographs, and if you are keeping dried herbarium specimens a different number must be assigned to each collection. It is helpful to include the year in your numbering system, such as 92-#. Also, under this heading you should include the following:

1. Type of spore-bearing surface - gills, pores, teeth, etc.

2. Type of gill or pore attachment. Draw what you see if you don't know the term to use.

3. Color of the overall specimen and of individual parts. Be sure to note any color changes due to bruising, age, insects, moisture, etc.

4. Ornamentation or structural features. These may include warts, scales, gluten, striations, powder, texture of surfaces, annulus, volva, or any other feature that is obvious.

5. Odor: Check odor when first picked and again when you open the wrapping, as it might be stronger after having been enclosed.

6. Taste: Work a small piece between front teeth and tip of tongue, and do not swallow it.

7. Color of spores taken from a spore print on white paper. Amyloid reaction, if any, should be noted here also. The amyloid reaction is a darkening (to gray or bluish-black) when the spores are in Melzer's Reagent. The test should be done on a small pile of spore powder on a glass or ceramic surface. Don't do it on the spore print or scrape the spores from the paper, because the paper fibers will give a great, positive amyloid reaction. Sandwiching the spores and a drop of Melzer's Reagent between two glass cover slips is the best way to see if there is a color change. If you see a brown to red-brown reaction, it is called dextrinoid.

8. Size: Measurements of the cap, stipe, whole mushroom and any other parts that would help in identification of the species.

Other features such as a milky juice, mycelium attached to the base, a tough or brittle stipe, or anything that appears unique, needs to be added to your notes. Often a sketch or line drawing of the mushroom, or a special feature, will show more clearly the detail than written words. Don't be afraid to start drawing what you see. Just be sure to add a note about size if you have increased or decreased the size of your drawing.

WHEN - Beside the month, day and year, it is helpful to note what the season is like - if it has been wet, cold, early, or average. Also list flowers in bloom, maturity of berries or other indicators of the season. List some of the other mushrooms found at the same time so you can learn to associate certain mushrooms with their habitat. It also helps you to learn the progression of fruiting for different species of mushrooms.

WHERE - Give the location of the park, garden, forest or area in general terms and then be specific as to the exact spot so you can find it again. Include information as to the type of soil, whether it was mossy, with duff, grass, manure, or other characteristics. List the kinds of trees, bushes, and low growing plants. Other important facts to include are the elevation, amount of exposure to sunlight, the direction and degree of slope, if on a hillside. Collections sent to mycologists in other parts of the country will always be more valuable if a nearby locality and county are included.

HOW - Observe how the mushroom is growing. Is it a single specimen, in a small group, or are many scattered over a wide area? Make note if they are joined at the base, growing on wood, still partially buried in the ground, or however you see it.

Making good notes forces you to look carefully at both your mushrooms and the site where they were collected. This, in turn, should help you to understand written descriptions better and to be able to find new locations for your choice edibles. In future years you can refer back to your notes and then return to the productive sites at the right time.

(updated February 2012)