Introduction

Purpose: The purpose of this site is to record observations about mushrooms, help people identify mushrooms they aren’t familiar with, and expand the community around the scientific exploration of mushrooms (mycology). Some have asked what counts as a mushroom. This site takes a very broad view. While the emphasis is on the large fleshy fungi, other fungi such as lichens, rust and molds as well as fungus-like organisms such as slime-molds are all welcome. Ultimately, I hope this site will become a valuable resource for both amateur and professional mycologists. I like to think of it as a living field guide for mushrooms or a collaborative mushroom field journal.

For those new to mycology, there is a huge amount of basic research that still needs to be done. By some estimates less than 5% of the world’s species of fungi are known to science. While things are slightly better for the large fleshy fungi known as mushrooms, it is still a common experience to come across a mushroom that cannot be easily identified in the available books or which doesn’t really fit the definition of any recognized species. This site is intended to address that gap by creating a place for us to talk about and record what we’ve found, as well as connect to the existing literature about mushrooms. Please do not feel intimidated by the scientific bent of the site. Everyone is welcome to dive in and add their own mushroom observations, upload mushroom photos and make comments on other people’s observations.

Image Sharing: This site follows the principles of cooperative sharing pioneered by the Free Software Foundation, further expressed by the Open Source software movement, and expanded to other creative efforts by the Creative Commons. Consequently all images are made available under one of the Creative Commons licenses or are in the public domain. In short this means that when anyone uploads one of their images to the site, they are giving others explicit permission to use those images under certain conditions in perpetuity. This type of permission is very important for basic research. It allows future researchers to freely use these data to expand our understanding of mushrooms. It also significantly increases the likelihood that the data will continue to be available into the distant future.

If you upload your own images, this license does not mean you are giving up your copyright or your ability to make money off your images. Depending on which license you choose, you can still require that anyone who wishes to use any of these images for commercial purposes get in touch with the copyright holder and work out the conditions for that use. The site includes special links on the image pages to help create those relationships.

Source Code: Source code for the site is available at: https://github.com/MushroomObserver and is licensed under the Open Source MIT License. Source code contributions are welcome (README). Here’s a list of planned features. All suggestions and comments are welcome. If you would like to contribute, please send mail to nathan at collectivesource.com so we can coordinate our efforts.

Note: The administrators of this site reserve the right to remove any material they deem inappropriate or not in keeping with the purpose of this site.