Key to genera listed on this site

Please note that the groupings used in this key do not correspond to taxonomic groups, but to observable characteristics.

When you have found the group most like your mushroom, there will be several photos to compare. DO NOT BE SURPRISED if you do not get an exact match; there are over 2000 species of fungi in the Northern Rockies and Pacific northwest, and under 400 photos on our site. You may wish to check with mycoweb or one of the other links listed on this site to find more photos to compare with.

Serious students should check out Matchmaker, a program that keys out several hundred species. When collecting mushrooms for identification, always remember to get the whole fungus, including parts of the stem or base that may be buried. Also, try to collect both young and older specimens, as some features change with age. Remember that mushrooms are variable in color depending on moisture and sun. Spore color is important in identifying fungi, and the gill color is not always the same as the spore color.

For information on how to take a spore print to determine spore color, check out our educational trunk information.

An article: Confidence and Identification: The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

** Disclaimer: These photos are presented to assist with mushroom ID. Any ID based on macroscopic characteristics alone, even including photos, is fallible. The WMMA does not assume responsibility for mushroom identification decisions made by individuals using this site. These photos represent a small fraction of the known species in the Pacific northwest

Choose one option from each numbered pair or set, starting with 1a and 1b.


1a. Mushroom has a cap and a stem,

usually umbrella-shaped, with blade-like GILLS,
spongy PORES,
or tiny spiny TEETH under the cap



1b. Mushroom is

spherical and rounded
club-shaped, shelf-like, jelly-like, shaped like a tiny birds nest, shaped like broccoli or coral,

or some other shape, but NOT with a cap and stem.

Info regarding Ethical Harvesting

Also See our RECIPES section


©The Western Montana Mycological Association