Have a mushroom you want to identify?

There are many ways to figure out what mushroom you're looking at. Be forewarned that remote mushroom ID can be challenging. At a bare minimum, to be useful, pictures MUST include both the top and the underside of the mushroom. But there are a lot of other things you might also need to look at, depending on the species. Please see this description of how to take photos for identification, and our video on Mushrooms 101

Urgent ID

In case of possible mushroom poisoning, contact the 24-hour National Capital Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. Several MAW experts work with them on mushroom poisoning cases and will do their best to assist you.

Community Science

MAW members participate in two community science projects that can help with ID: 

  • iNaturalist has an AI that will make a first guess at identifying your mushroom. Other iNaturalist users (including many MAW members) may then confirm the ID or make corrections. 
  • Mushroom Observer doesn't have an AI for instant ID (yet), but it does have a wealth of experts who can identify mushrooms. 

Uploading your mushroom photos to these projects makes them part of a database that can be used by scientists and conservationists studying species distribution and biodiversity -- and it's a great way to keep a "life list" of mushrooms you've seen. 

Social Media 

Local Facebook groups are another resource:

MAW Meetings

MAW's monthly meetings always include an ID table where club experts will help identify mushrooms. Send photos to and they might be included. 

Field Guides

If you get hooked, eventually you'll want your own field guide. Some good mushroom guides for the Washington, DC area include: 
  • Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians by Bill Roody
  • Mushrooms of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada by Tim Baroni
  • National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms by Gary Lincoff

Still Stumped? 

Feel free to email and we'll see if we can help you out! Again, please review this description of how to take photos for identification, and our video on Mushrooms 101, so that you can send us the information we need to make a good ID.  If you have posted pictures to Mushroom Observer or another site, but not gotten a reaction in a reasonable time, it would be ideal for you to send our identifiers a link to your observation.

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