A number of criteria were used to decide which species to include in the keys:
First - the fungus must display macroscopic characters (features visible with the unaided eye or with a 10x loupe) that are sufficiently distinctive to allow identification with reasonable certainty. Species with obscure features, or which can only be identified with the use of a microscope, are not included.
Second - preference was given to common species. I used cumulative species lists of Western Penn Mushroomers, Eastern Penn Mushroomers, New Jersey Mycological Association, field guides, my own collecting experience, and observations at NEMF and NAMA meetings to help determine which species to include. Although the emphasis is on common species, the keys do include some less commonly encountered species.
Third - the organism must utilize wood as a substrate. There is a degree of latitude
with this criterion. Some species will be
found only on living trees or on relatively intact dead wood. Others occur on
wood that is quite decomposed (well-rotted)
and just a few steps away from becoming soil. Similarly, I included a number
species which regularly appear on landscape
bark mulch or similar substrates. Finally, some species are included which
are typically described as terrestrial (on soil) but
which may also at times occur on well-rotted wood. Keep in mind that
certain species may appear terrestrial but in reality are
attached to buried wood (e.g., roots) or to a tree trunk at the soil line.
Fourth - strictly resupinate poroid species were not included. If poroid, the organism had to be at least partly reflexed.
Fifth - the species must occur in Northeast North America. I consulted various references to ensure that all the species included in the keys are reported to occur in N.E. North America.
Sixth - with a few exceptions, slime molds were not included. The slime molds I included are quite common and fairly conspicuous. Some of these are: Fuligo septica, Stemonitis sp., and Lycogala epidendrum.
This page © 2008 by Gary Emberger, Messiah College