MycoKey is an information system to fungal genera.
In MycoKey you can search for genera and species
or use the synoptical keys to identify your specimens.
MycoKey 4 covers more than 1,100 genera of the Basidiomycota
and Ascomycota (discomycetes) that occur in Northern Europe. Genera
with only anamorphic or licheniced species are excluded.
A small version of MycoKeys Morphing Mushroom
Identifier is available on the internet (see English
version or Danish
The full MycoKey is available as download.
Why focus on fungal genera?
The typical mushroom collector is concerned
about species. So why bother about genera?
The answer lies in the
diversity and multitude of the fungi. The funga of the British
Isles is considered the best studied in the world. Hawksworth
estimated a total number of 12,000 known fungi (including microfungi
and lichens; Hawksworth 1991 - Mycol. Res. 95: 641-655) from that
area. If you sit down with an identification book and try to identify
one of these you will realize that 12,000 species can´t
be held in one key. You will first have to work through some
above genus hierarchy, and long before you see the first species
names pop up, you will be forced to decide which genus your species
Although, distinguishing species can be tough,
keying out the right genus with an analytical key may be a lot
more complicated. Thus, we need the
most refined tools for this navigation amongst fungal genera.
What about the species?
Species constitute the fundamental entities
in biodiversity and taxonomy. They are the reason for all this
fuzz about identification.
MycoKey 4 contains almost 3,300 species
(about 8,400 illustrations) as examples of the included genera,
and these are the ultimate results of a MycoKey search. You can
study the generic diagnoses, descriptions and notes, but if the
displayed species do not resemble your specimen you may not feel
you have a convincing generic identification. To help this, MycoKey
has some build in features. If for example you code that the pileus
of your fungus is red, MycoKey will try to present you with pictures
of red pileate species as the first example of any resulting genus.
So, you will see a red Russula instead of a grey or green one.
is the first step towards species identification, but since only
some species are included you usually can´t go all
the way to a safe species identification with MycoKey. You will
need one of the books listed in the generic references to make
your final identification.
If you are looking for edible mushrooms
you should always consult a local funga to learn about local
poisonous and edible fungi.