If you sit down with a funga and try to identify one of these you will realise 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 belongs to.
Although, distinguishing species can be tough, keying out the right genus with an analytical key may be a lot more complicated (on analytical and synoptical keys, see the "on the synoptical keys" button). 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 3.0 contains more than 2,400 species - illustrated by more than 4,100 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.
MycoKey 3.0 takes the species identification a step further. In a number of important genera the species treated like the genera. Thus MycoKey will present you with the results as a mixture of species (where these are coded) and genera.
Since not all species are included in MycoKey you will still need one of the books listed in the references to make a »sharp« identification. And if you are looking for edible mushrooms, you should always consult a local funga to learn more about local poisonous and edible fungi.