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Fungi Field Guide Glossary

Glossary by Rus Shulla, Fungimap Newsletter No. 2, June 1996, updated in 2012 by Alena Moison.


This is the word often used synonymously with 'mushroom' - it means to be a member of the Agaricaceae


This is a remnant of the partial veil left as the mushroom matures. It often leaves a ring of membranous tissue around the stem (stipe)


The common name for soft textured fungi which generally have pores instead of gills


Refers to a bulbous like swelling at the base of the stem (stipe), often underground


Immature specimen


The pileus which is the umbrella or bell like 'hat' of the mushroom. The pileus holds the spores in either gills or pores


The complete fruit body of the fungus (i.e. cap, stem, gills, etc). Sporophore and sporocarp are other names also used

Check characters:

When ID Ease states to "check characters" this means that there are one or several identifying characteristics of this fungi which differentiate it from other look-alikes that cannot necessarily be determined in the field. This may require microscopic examination, spore print identification, or other more advanced identification techniques. 


The description given to the saucer shape of the Ascomycetes group


The side of a gill


Taxonomic term meaning a group of similar species. Genera which are closely related are placed into families


The spore-bearing structure of mushrooms

ID Ease:

There are two categories under ID Ease. Fungi are either "Identifiable in the field" or Fungimap recommends that you "Check characters". Basically, some more advanced identification technique (spore print, microscopy, etc) than merely observation of the fungi in its natural habitat is required to determine with certainty any species where "Check characters" has been noted.

Identifiable in the field:

A category of ID Ease signifying that the fungi can be determined with certainty by an educated observer viewing the fungi in its natural habitat and without the use of more sophisticated techniques.

Ink cap

Common name of the Coprinus genus-- the caps turn to an inky mess when picked and before you can dry them!


The outermost edge of the gill ( i.e. the edge facing downwards)


A liquid exuded from certain species such as Lactarius deliciosus


The vegetative part of the fungus which grows in the host or soil and produces the fruit body. The mycelium is like a mass of often microscopic fibres


This refers to the association between the mycelium of a fungus and the rootlets of plants.


The fungi forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots of another plant in order to obtain its food source. 

Partial veil

The covering of the gills while very young that breaks open, often leaving remnants on the stem (stipe)


Sometimes described as smelling like paste, mothballs or burnt circuit boards, and often associated with species of Agaricus.


Common name of tough-textured fungi with pores


The cap


A microscopic part of the fungus which can germinate to reproduce the fungus


The fungi obtains its food source from processing dead or decaying organic matter.

Spore print:

One of the more advanced techniques to identify fungi. The spore material left on paper when the cap is left for a period of time -- the colour can be an important identifying characteristic


The stalk or stem of the fruiting body of the fungus

Universal veil

Material which completely covers the young immature mushroom


This refers to the remnant of the universal veil sometimes left at the base of the stipe (stem)

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