When it comes to identifying mushrooms, choosing the right app is like choosing the right seed for your garden.
You want the best seed to keep up with present environmental conditions and give you the best yield.
In the same vein, you want the best mushroom identification app to keep pace with the trends in mushroom foraging and give you accurate results.
As such, we’ve found three efficacious mushroom identification apps and their features to boost your foraging adventure. As we delve into each, you’ll also learn:
How would you rate a mushroom identification app with loads of information on 254 species including habitats, blooming seasons, edibility, toxicity, and health benefits?
How about if that app has over a million downloads and a notable 4.1 rating on Google Play?
Certainly among the best, right? But it gets better.
Book of Mushrooms contains nifty features backing its title as “Your personal assistant,” for instance:
Zoomed mushroom images of significant resolution capture identifying details to serve as a quick reference for your search. These images make it easy to compare your mushrooms with the documented physical attributes of various species.
The photo below, for instance, easily spells out the golden color of the Flammulina velutipes mushroom (or velvet shank) and its distinctive growth pattern, bent near the stem.
The image also displays the mushroom’s natural habitat and woody surroundings. These essential details serve as a checklist for your forages, which must match for the fungi to be identifiable as Velvet Shank.
Book of Mushrooms also includes a like button with its images as a sorting tool for the many species of mushrooms within its index. Check out the red arrow in the enokitake image above.
This classification narrows your reference shots to a few favorites to speed up the search-verification process.
Knowing the blooming seasons of different mushroom species adds a dimension to your identification process for gaining greater certainty.
It’s one thing to know the physical attributes of a species in order to identify it; it’s another to also understand its blooming seasons. Both aspects work together to clearly identify a species like plot lines in a graph.
In this case, the Book of Mushrooms app includes a note on when to expect the Velvet Shank, between September and March of the following year. Check out the red box below.
This information adds an item to your checklist that’s beyond visual and physical cues and, in doing so, improves certainty.
So, a fungus that blooms outside of the months between September and March of the next year cannot be a Flammulina velutipes, regardless of its physical attributes.
On the other hand, a fungus exhibiting known physical features of the species and blooming in the said period cannot be mistaken. It must be a Velvet Shank mushroom.
In case you’re searching for multiple mushroom species simultaneously, the Book of Mushrooms app also features a consolidated calendar of various species to help you work faster.
The table lists all the mushrooms within the app’s database with adjacent columns on their blooming months.
This lets you monitor different mushroom species and their seasons from one place for a faster and more exciting foraging experience.
Imagine the alternative of looking through individual mushrooms within the app to confirm their blooming seasons before ticking them off your multi-species search. It would be a tedious process.
Book of Mushrooms features plenty of insightful articles on its 254-species database to get you excited about foraging.
The articles explore several mushroom topics including health benefits, edibility, and toxicity with references to scientific publications and statistics for authority.
You’ll discover fascinating facts about mushrooms, such as how early Greeks and Romans were among the first cultivators of the fungi, using them in plenty of must-try dishes for their health benefits.
Shroomify is another top-quality mushroom identification app with an exceptionally high 4.7 rating on the App Store and a 4.6 rating on Google Play.
These impressive stats are down to Shroomify’s convenient features, designed to simplify your mushroom hunting experience and make it as fun as possible.
Particularly handy is the app’s local search functionality, which isolates your search to the specific mushroom species currently blooming in your area—a geo-targeted blooming calendar.
Targeting keeps your list relevant, improving your chances of finding the deliciousness you’re after.
In the screengrab below, for example, Shroomify highlights the mushroom species found in the Western United States with a note on your likelihood of finding them in May.
This list helps mushroom enthusiasts focus solely on probable species for May, improving the effectiveness of their foraging adventure.
Other interesting Shroomify features include:
Shroomify features a clever algorithm capable of identifying mushroom species by their physical traits.
Simply key in the characteristics of your mushroom find, and Shroomify works out its most likely identity based on the observational data within its database. These traits include color, measurements, smell, spore print, and habitat.
In the example below, Shroomify identifies the Red Cage fungus based on these parameters. You’ll notice that the app includes a frequency chart of recorded sightings within a year for greater certainty.
The Shroomify app includes over 1000 HD images of 400 mushroom species within its database.
These images capture identifying details such as color, growth patterns, and habitats which serve as references for your foraging adventure. As such, a quick visual comparison is enough to objectively identify your mushroom finds.
In the example below, Shroomify collates images of the poisonous mushrooms you must avoid to stay safe. The shots are in high-definition so you can notice subtle traits such as color shades.
Compare the brilliant white shade on Destroying Angel (to the right) with the ivory white of the similarly-shaped Deathcap (to the left). Both belong to the poisonous Amanita family of mushrooms and therefore resemble each other but have different toxicity levels and medical needs.
Case in point, the Deathcap mushroom takes between 8 to 48 hours after ingestion for symptoms to occur while the Destroying Angel takes between 6 to 24 hours before the onset of symptoms.
The Shroomify app has a monthly selection of the top blooming mushroom species in your area to help plan your foraging trip.
The monthly selection features a collation of images for easy identification with notes on key safety aspects of the fungi such as edibility and toxicity.
With a commendable 4.7 rating on the App Store and a 4.3 score on Google Play, ShroomID is certainly among the best mushroom identification apps available to keen foragers.
It features handy capabilities including blooming calendars, but the most striking is its photo identification function.
Simply take a snap of your mushroom and ShroomID points out the most likely identity based on the over 1,000 species in its database.
“ … So much fun identifying mushrooms with this app … As long as my picture has been up to standards, the IDs have been on point.” Dee, verified ShroomID user, App Store
Other key features of ShroomID include:
The ShroomID app comes equipped with a mushroom encyclopedia to inform your foraging. It delves into various mushroom species, looking at key safety features such as edibility and lookalikes.
Many edible mushroom species resemble their poisonous counterparts so it’s crucial that you can correctly distinguish between a fungus and its lookalikes.
One example is the poisonous Gyromitra esculenta (False morel), often confused with its lookalike, Morchella (True morel). Both have a honeycomb appearance but a True morel is 100% hollow while a False morel has subtle fibers running through its structure.
ShroomID also enables collaboration between mushroom enthusiasts for an easier identification process. All you need to do is post a picture of your mushroom to start a conversation on its likely identity, benefits, history, and fun facts.
It's an interesting way of including friends and family in your foraging adventure that makes it all the more exciting and memorable.
The collaboration feature also improves safety by allowing you to draw from the knowledge and advice of more experienced foragers, for instance, through cooking tips. Certain species of edible mushrooms such as the Agaricus bisporus become toxic if undercooked.
The following table compares various features of the three mushroom identification apps discussed above.
So there you have it, three top mushroom identification apps and their key features. With these ideas in mind, have you considered Real Mushrooms supplements for the off-season?
You don’t have to wait for your favorite mushroom species to bloom. You can always find genuine mushrooms with all their health benefits at Real Mushrooms regardless of the season.
We pride ourselves in only using fruiting mushrooms to make our supplements without fillers, mycelium, or additives of any kind. This ensures you receive maximum health benefits from our products, and value for money.
Explore our mushroom FAQs today to learn more about Real Mushrooms and our solutions.
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