Submitting a Mushroom for identification

We are happy to assist in identification of fungi, see our submission form and guidelines at PIDC 45 - Sample Submission Form, the fee for this service is $10 for sample originating in Iowa. If your sample is from outside of Iowa, please do not submit without contacting us

To identify mushrooms, we need a physical sample accompanied by digital pictures.

We often receive digital images where we cannot see key characteristics, making it impossible to identify a mushroom with certainty. Some of the specimens we receive are not diagnosable because the specimen was missing parts or it suffered damage in transit. In other cases,  the specimens arrived without a submission form, or the enclosed form may be missing useful pieces of information relevant to the identification.

Please see our video on how to collect and submit a mushroom sample for identification at

Remember the ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic Identifies Mushrooms, Not edibility We do not make recommendations about whether you should eat them.

For information on Morel Mushroom Identification/ Certification Workshop visit the article "Required Morel Mushroom Identification Workshop Offered in April"

Wax paper or paper bags are the best material for packing mushrooms. Picture before collection can help significantly.

Note the liquefied mushroom on the right bag. Avoid plastic bags. This is and insufficient sample.


Before Collection

1. Take photos of the mushroom before disturbing it. Keep in mind the guidelines to take and send pictures on the Clinic’s website

2. Include a size reference (i.e. a coin or a ruler).

3. Include photos of the entire mushroom (side profile), a close-up of the top of the mushroom, and the underneath side of the mushroom.

4. Some mushrooms will turn colors once they are touched and may liquefy before they can be collected.

5. Use the mushroom identification form, observe and write down the answer to the questions in the form

Collecting the Specimen

1. Include the whole mushroom: cap, stalk and complete foot (base or stipe).

2. Include any underground structures using a trowel to carefully scoop the specimen from the substrate.

Packing the Specimen

1. Once the specimen is dug up, place the mushroom on wax paper or a paper bag that matches the specimen size.

2. Avoid using plastic bags as this will cause the mushroom to deteriorate during transit.

3. Keep the mushrooms out of direct sunlight and cool (in a cooler).

Mailing the Specimen

1. Pack the samples in a sturdy box and mark each sample clearly.

2. If submitting multiple specimens, include separate submission forms and match the form with the bag identifier.

3. Send samples by overnight courier to the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic 327 Bessey Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-3140.

4. The Clinic cannot guarantee timely analysis for samples arriving on a Friday or before a holiday.

5. A report will be issued within ten working days from receipt of sample.

6. Because mushroom identification is a complex process, we reserved the right not to process the sample, if an insufficient sample is submitted.

Be aware, Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic does not make recommendations on the edibility of wild mushrooms. The Clinic does not identify fungi present in households or associated with food production. See printable handout with specific questions, collection and submission guidelines and disclaimer at pidc38_submitting_a_mushroom_specimen_for_identification_2017.pdf

The Terms and Conditions applicable to the services offered by Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic can be found at Submitting a sample or image signifies that the Terms and Conditions have been read and agreed with.