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Re: Waxcaps?

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:56 pm
by Lee Dingain
Hi Roy, Many thanks for an excellent post. Over the last few years I've been photographing the cap, gills, stem (being careful not to break it in half) and I write desciptions cross referencing with the photos I take. These photos are about eight years old and taken before I knew what I needed to photograph, so unfortunately I have not other photos and no description either.

I'm improving with ID (and actually very cautious, only assigning a species when I am certain), so this meams most of my finds currently go unidentified to species. The thing I find hardest a lot of the time is where to start. I often don't even know how to start getting to genus and this is where I've found this forum and asking others so helpful.

I am about to order a decent microscope but none of my books have keys. Can you recommend a book with keys at all or do you have to get a book on specific families to have a key?

Also, I like to say that I sincerely really appreciate your advise on my many ID requests (and that of others on this forum). You've been a great help so thank you.

Re: Waxcaps?

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:04 pm
by roy betts
You're welcome: it's good to talk with enthusiastic 'fellow travellers'. A microscope is essential for serious study but it does mean you spend a lot more time over collections!
These days I mainly use specialist literature although I have five 'Field Guides' accumulated along the way (some like Roger Phillips' excellent book is too large to carry about). Some have only 'pictorial' keys (again, the 2nd. Edition of Phillips) and many are now out of print. Courtecuisse & Duhem (Collins Field Guide) has a rather daunting key to the 1750 spp. illustrated. Marcel Bon's guide (Hodder & Stoughton) is a bit better. Recently I did buy Buczacik's Collins Guide (for a £1!) but this only has a pictorial key.
Have a look at Archie McAdams "Key to Genus - Agarics & Boleti" (2009) on the BMS website:
Very comprehensive (100 pages) but probably quite daunting to beginners (and me too!). But it does have information on where to start (most keys to Genus start with spore colour, then gill attachment and so on).
After several decades doing fungi I still sometimes get stuck as to Genus and tend to use the key to Genus in my old Moser (Agarics & Boleti - 1984).
If you're getting a microscope I would start with buying Funga Nordica. Another out of print book; always expensive and now you may have to pay more for one. Don't have a copy myself but it should have a good key and certainly covers most of the Agarics, Boletes etc. you are likely to find.

Re: Waxcaps?

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:51 pm
by Chris Yeates
Hi Lee
all I can say is that mycology for the amateur is a whole lot easier (though by no means easy) than it was when I started out 35 or so years ago. Online resources such as this site would have been quite unimagineable, along with people scattered across the globe and willing to share their experience.

Experience is everything of course. I gather you are an experienced birder? You will recognise a Sylvia warbler or a pipit at a glance, but getting there will have taken a lot of learning, fieldwork and pointers from others. At least fungi don't disappear before you get a decent view!

Once you have acquired a microscope - I would recommend you get back to us on any possible choices before you purchase - you can practise on shop bought mushrooms and the common ones found in the wild. It helps to know what something is, but to go through a key nevertheless: you will often get the wrong answer with the latter, but can then work out where you went wrong.

If you have a decent knowledge of flowering plants, then many of the parasites - rusts, smuts and mildews etc. are easily identified just with a handlens, and with a microscope most of the others can be named. As an example, it's hard to find a patch of brambles without one of the two rusts which attack them:
Phragmidium violaceum.jpg
Phragmidium bulbosum.jpg
It's an excellent way for a relative newcomer to make a valuable contribution to our mycological knowledge, as several of the UKFungi folk have done thanks to this site.

I'll leave it at that, so we don't swamp you with too much info . . . . ;)


Re: Waxcaps?

Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:27 pm
by adampembs
roy betts wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:04 pm

If you're getting a microscope I would start with buying Funga Nordica. Another out of print book; always expensive and now you may have to pay more for one. Don't have a copy myself but it should have a good key and certainly covers most of the Agarics, Boletes etc. you are likely to find.
It's worth noting that Mycokey uses the keys from the first edition of Funga Nordica (which you get if you pay for the full version of Mycokey)
I've found it useful, especially when I see something and I think it looks familiar but can't quite place it: its quite nice to have a synoptic way of getting to genus, so you enter what you know, eg white-spored, growing on soil, has a ring, scaly cap, and the number of possible genera goes quite low, and it's come up trumps a number of times. ... Quick.html

Re: Waxcaps?

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:40 pm
by Lee Dingain
Hi Roy and Chris,

Thank you so much for some really superb advice and great encouragement! I've actually copied both of your posts into my notes because you've provided some really useful information that I'll want to refer to such as the keys and book titles (thanks Roy), and I'll be back on my local birding patch tomorrow (looking for fungi mainly) and will be searching for the bramble rusts.

I feel like learning about fungi is one step forward 3/4 of a step back much of the time but as you say Chris, experience is the key and as a notive I've online resources invaluable, especially in pointing me in the general direction for a fungus I don't know where to start on.

The microscopes I've been looking at are:
    F2000 40X-2000X Routine Grade from GT Vision: ... ducts/0710
      Apex Researcher:

      I'm taking my time choosing as I want to make sure I get something that is good for mycology. If either of you have any views on these scopes or other suggestions I'd love to hear from you.

      Thanks once again for your help with my endless questions.


      Re: Waxcaps?

      Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:56 pm
      by Lee Dingain
      Hi Adam, Many thanks. I've had look at Mycokey and it looks really interesting and I am contemplating paying for the full version to see how I get on.

      Re: Waxcaps?

      Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:28 pm
      by Chris Yeates
      You are quite correct to take time before buying a microscope. As a basic bit of advice I would strongly recommend getting one with a trinocular head - photography down the 'scope will prove so important - even if getting the camera comes later (and advice there may well prove useful).
      I shall ask Adam whether he deems it appropriate to move this thread to another place on UK Fungi as it has (understandably) wandered of the OP.

      Re: Literature and microscope disucssion (was Waxcaps)

      Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:43 am
      by marksteer
      Possibly Fungi Nordica will be reprinted.See post on BMS fb page: ... &ref=notif

      Re: Waxcaps?

      Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:56 pm
      by Lee Dingain
      Hi Mark, Yes I noticed that on the Facebook group. Many thanks.