Mushrooms are amongst the most difficult organisms to accurately identify.  Many look nearly identical.  Still, a mushroom-spotting hike is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.  

First, let’s review a few facts.  As you probably know, mushrooms are fungi.  There are more than 11,000 named species in North America.  Some sources say there are 14,000 species identified throughout the world. That number seems quite low proportionately.   However, it is understandable if you also know that only 5-10% of all mushroom species globally have been scientifically described.  This suggests that many are awaiting further exploration and research.  (Discovery opportunity!)

Lots of different varieties exist in your environment.  There are more

Mushroom Forest
Image by Michi-Nordlicht from Pixabay

mushroom species than there are types of birds. So let’s go find some.  

The challenge is to spot at least one example per category listed below.   You don’t need to know what they are called, just what they look like and where they grow.  Try not to use the same type for more than one description.   This shouldn’t be a problem in a healthy ecosystem. 

Here’s a checklist for you to follow:

A mushroom that is growing on a standing tree

A mushroom that is growing on a fallen tree or limb

A mushroom that is growing in the soil

A mushroom that has only one head

A mushroom that has multiple heads or finger-like structures

A mushroom with a dome-shaped head

A mushroom that is more than one color

A mushroom that is brightly colored (not white, cream, brown, nor gray)

A mushroom that reminds you of brain or coral

Something that could be a mushroom or maybe another fungi (add description)

Any other odd or unusual finding (add description)

Find as many of these as you can.   You can repeat this exercise on almost any walk and find new specimens throughout the year.  

Lastly, remember safety first.  If you participate in this challenge, please don’t eat your findings unless you are working with a qualified expert who is advising you.  I am most definitely not that person.

Enjoy and happy searching.

This challenge is rated as easy. 

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