Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Update: identification for beginners, novice and intermediate

Hey all, just a quick update. In general I try to keep all my identification posts geared towards plants and mushrooms that a beginner or novice can identify. But I've recently decided to start adding intermediate content as well.

As such, I've developed a new labeling system, and will tag each identification post with either "for beginner" , "for novice" or "for intermediate".

For beginners:

These are plants and mushrooms which have no deadly lookalikes, and are generally very easy to ID.
Though I always recommend using at least 3 reliable sources for positive identification, at least one of which should be a book or local expert, beginner foods may be able to rely entirely on reliable internet sources.

Ginkgo's unique leaf makes it perfect for beginners.

For novice:

These are plants and mushrooms which may have a deadly similar looking plant (or mushroom), but can be clearly distinguished from dangerous lookalikes using observational clues. No special testing is required. Novice plants can best be identified by using 3 reliable sources: as long as at least one of them is a quality book

Purslane, which can be easily told apart from spurge, is a novice level plant

For intermediate:

These are plants and mushrooms which should only be harvested by a fairly experienced forager, and should not use just internet resources and books to identify. Intermediate level means that you cannot get a positive ID from just observation alone, you must run some kind of test (like a spore print) for guaranteed identification.

For foods in this category, I 100% recommend getting the advice of a LOCAL EXPERT, in addition to books and internet resources (like this one) to make a positive ID.

Ringless honey mushrooms, coming soon to my blog, have many deadly lookalikes,
and require a spore print for positive identification

For advanced and expert:

At this time I have no intention of releasing information about plants or mushrooms which I would consider requiring advanced or expert level experience.

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