Criteria 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. Cumulative species lists of mushroom clubs (Western Penn Mushroomers, Eastern Penn Mushroomers, New Jersey Mycological Association), field guides, my collecting experiences, and observations at NEMF and NAMA meetings were used to help determine which species to include. Although common species are emphasized, some less commonly encountered species are also included. Useful information on geographic distribution is available at iNaturalist.
Third - the organism must utilize wood as a substrate. There is some flexibility this criterion. Some species grow only on living trees or on relatively intact dead wood. Others occur on
wood that is quite decomposed
and just a few steps away from becoming soil. A number
species are included that regularly occur on landscape
bark mulch or similar substrates. Finally, some species typically described as terrestrial (i.e., occurring on soil) are included if they also fruit 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 - very few strictly resupinate species are included. If poroid, the organism had to be at least partly reflexed.
Fifth - the species must occur in Northeast North America.
Sixth - with a few exceptions, slime molds are not included because they are not fungi. The slime molds included are quite common, fairly conspicuous, and often mistaken for fungi. These include: Fuligo septica, Stemonitis spp., and Lycogala epidendrum.
This page © 2008 by Gary Emberger, Messiah University