Most Common R.G. Fungi/Lichen Obs. by State/Province (U.S.A./Canada)

The third and (probably) final in the series. Same as with the plant, bird, and butterfly/moth maps: the grey states have unique top observations (see table below), and the colored ones share with at least one other state.

Since the data set is much smaller than with plants and birds, and the ratio of “Needs ID” to “Research Grade” observations is much higher - a single enterprising (or foolhardy, haha) identifier could probably really change up the top research-grade observation in some places. Still, it’s an interesting map. Nice to see a few states with a lichen at the top!

Update, 2024.06.10: Here’s a map that now includes Canada. Because it’s a little hard to see, I’d note that Prince Edward Island is the same species as British Columbia: Northern Red Belt. And there’s now a USA slime mold map in the comments.

As a table (listing all states/provinces)
State Species
Alabama Turkey Tail
Alaska Fly Agaric
Arizona Desert Shaggymane
Arkansas Devil’s Urn
California Fly Agaric
Colorado Fly Agaric
Connecticut Turkey Tail
Delaware Turkey Tail
Florida Christmas Lichen
Georgia Turkey Tail
Hawaii Anemone Stinkhorn Fungus
Idaho Shaggy Mane
Illinois Dryad’s Saddle
Indiana Dryad’s Saddle
Iowa Golden Oyster Mushroom
Kansas Splitgill Mushroom
Kentucky Turkey Tail
Louisiana Ringless Honey Mushroom
Maine Tree Lungwort
Maryland Turkey Tail
Massachusetts Birch Polypore
Michigan Dryad’s Saddle
Minnesota Dryad’s Saddle
Mississippi Peach-Colored Fly Agaric
Missouri Turkey Tail
Montana Wolf Lichen
Nebraska Dryad’s Saddle
Nevada Desert Shaggymane
New Hampshire Birch Polypore
New Jersey Common Greenshield Lichen
New Mexico Fly Agaric
New York Turkey Tail
North Carolina Turkey Tail
North Dakota Shaggy Mane
Ohio Dryad’s Saddle
Oklahoma Juniper Apple Rust
Oregon Fly Agaric
Pennsylvania Turkey Tail
Rhode Island Chicken of the Woods
South Carolina Ringless Honey Mushroom
South Dakota Dryad’s Saddle
Tennessee Turkey Tail
Texas Slender Orange-Bush
Utah Shaggy Mane
Vermont Dryad’s Saddle
Virginia Turkey Tail
Washington Fly Agaric
West Virginia Dryad’s Saddle
Wisconsin Dryad’s Saddle
Wyoming Wolf Lichen
D.C. Turkey Tail
Province Species
Alberta Black Knot
British Columbia Northern Red Belt
Manitoba Black Knot
New Brunswick Birch Polypore
Newfoundland and Labrador Fly Agaric
Northwest Territories Crinkled Snow Lichen
Nova Scotia Tree Lungwort
Nunavut Crinkled Snow Lichen
Ontario Dryad’s Saddle
Prince Edward Island Northern Red Belt
Quebec Dryad’s Saddle
Saskatchewan Shaggy Mane
Yukon Crinkled Snow Lichen

I’ve definitely been the enterprising identifier to go through and bump a bunch of fungi to research grade before LMAO. There just aren’t that many people that do it.

Still, the biggest top species here are never going to lose their pedestals. They’re all very distinct, iconic mushrooms that are foraged for edible or medicinal purposes, so even casual mushroomers are aware of them.

Speaking of the four biggest; Turkey Tail, Dryad’s Saddle and Fly Agaric. Honestly, looking at the list the only ones that don’t fit one of the above categories are the lichens, the rust, the devil’s urn, desert shaggymane, and stinkhorn. Everything else is either eaten or used in medicine, somewhere at least (Splitgills aren’t commonly consumed in America, but I know at least Mexico and some Asian countries do.)



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So interesting! Thanks!

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turkey tail
turkey tail
turkey tail
turkey tail
turkey tail
turkey tail


Ooo. I’ve been waiting for this one!

The final? What? Protozoa don’t exist and aren’t cool? :cry:


Yeah I think there’s two levels of filtering going on here that lead to those, as you say, distinct and iconic mushrooms being #1.

  1. Basically what you were saying, salience to the “average submitter.” People are going to report a bright red fly agaric when they see one, but a random small lichen or little brown mushroom is less likely to be noticed. Another factor here might be the longevity of the fruiting body; Turkey Tail can stick around for years whereas some inkcaps might disappear within hours.

  2. Less distinct mushrooms & lichens don’t get identified. There might be fewer identifiers (I mean, I honestly notice a huge gap in ID time between a bird and literally anything else, but fungi are especially bad). But I think a big issue that keeps away potential identifiers is the fact that many mushrooms & lichens are truly not identifiable from a photo, even a good photo. So then just put in the top-level taxon it could be, right? Well the discouraging thing for me is that there’s often a lot of convergence in what a fruiting body looks like, so it could be things in really deeply unrelated families or genera. So it’s either x or y, but there’s no top-level classification of “x and y” that doesn’t also include the rest of a-z. It can be really frustrating.

More experienced users passionate about fungi might include the needed evidence to distinguish to a species level, but even that is spotty since how often do people go to the lengths of taking spore prints, cutting the mushroom in half, checking for colored bruising, or even looking at spores under a microscope?

The moss IDs are a mess for the same reason–most aren’t distinguishable without magnification and the vast majority of photos are not going to have the appropriate photos.

Sometimes I see a cool mushroom but it’s in a public area and I’d rather leave it intact so others can appreciate it, even though I know that finding out, e.g. if the stem is hollow or not (which requires destroying it) is key to ID. So sometimes I know I’m submitting a sub-par observation.

Still, (maybe this already exists??) I think it would be extremely neat if iNaturalist launched some kind of “academy to ID” for certain tough taxa, e.g. teaching you the parts of a lichen/moss/mushroom, the large taxonomic groups, and recommending what kinds of photos and evidence need to be taken to get the best chance at ID. That would be so cool!


You’re right - who can resist a good Dog Vomit? :joy:


Fascinating! Thanks for that! It’s interesting that the most-observed for my state is one that I have never actually observed.
I have always been puzzled as to why more people are not IDing fungi. I keep hoping to learn more through other people’s IDs, because (as has already been pointed out) most fungi are tricky. I always wonder whether all the mycologists have a more fun(gi) place to hang out than iNaturalist? That can’t be the only explanation, because I know that the birders are all hanging out over on eBird and other platforms, and yet bird OBs often get IDed withiin minutes of being posted.

I’m relatively new to iNaturalist and have been looking for resources like this. So far I haven’t found much. I’d love to have some sort of guidance for things like “you’ll likely need X details to complete an ID within this kingdom” or, on the identifying side, how-tos for the coarser categorizations to try and move “unknowns” towards an ID.



There’s Mushroom Observer, some people just post there and not iNat, though I feel like iNat still probably gets more usage. Also honestly, a lot of people just post what they find in facebook groups and don’t post it to iNat. The amount of people who are into mushrooms for scientific reasons is a LOT less than people who are just into foraging or psychadelics. I have a bit of a write up on a lot of groups of fungi a few posts down in this thread, though I’m quite busy this summer and I’ve got a website I’m slowly chipping away at now so I doubt I’ll be updating it anymore. Also for the US, especially the midwest and east, I can’t recommend enough. For the pacific northwest, Danny Miller has a website cataloging all of the sequencing finds out there ( but he’s got some good pictures and I definitely reference his site a lot. Also, there’s, which is Rod Tuloss’s catalogue site for amanita. Finally, there’s the Bolete Filter ( which isn’t perfect but it’s pretty good at at least ballparking stuff - I find it to be fairly good for my area but I’ve heard its less accurate in regions that aren’t in the same ecoregion as Pennsylvania.

EDIT: Field guides are weirdly, kind of less useful, because a lot of them are really behind on science and tend to use European names for some American fungi. They’ll get you to genus but the species usually isn’t accurate. Not that they’re all bad, there are some very good ones, and are still worth picking up

EDIT 2: for what its worth, you don’t have to get good at IDing ALL species of fungi. Just pick like… one or a couple, learn what it looks like, and learn what the lookalikes like. Once you’re comfortable with that, learn a different one. For example, one easy way to help would be to read through this paper and then go start working on iding Macrolepiota observations in the US, avoiding the west coast and the southwest since we have sequences of not-yet-described species from those areas. I went through when this paper came out and knocked all of the incorrect Macrolepiota procera IDs to the proper species but there’s a lot of observations at genus level that are going to take a long time to work through. They’re pretty distinct mushrooms and the biggest two look alikes you’re going to see mis-ided as macrolepiota are Chlorophyllum molybdites and Chlorophyllum olivieri, but they both lack the chevron/snakeskin patterning on the stem.


Very much agreed, this is something I’ve also noticed with with fungi. With plants and animals if I can’t tell a few similar taxa apart, I can usually look at their taxonomy and find something just a few ranks up that includes all the possible options; sure, I don’t know how to tell insect genera A and B and C apart, but oh look, they’re all in the same subfamily or tribe.

With fungi and especially lichen, I often end up finding that two visually similar taxa are under completely different groupings all the way up to something like Pezizomycotina.


Thanks for that thoughtful and helpful reply!


Its what I do, occasionally pop in and infodump about fungi.


No, it’s not. Mycologists on iNat are more likely to bump a fungus back from species than refine it to species. If you ask them why, they’ll tell you that all the names we know belong to the European genets and that the North American genets have no names. Or words to that effect.

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Because when they do get described it’s an absolute pain in the butt to have to go through and fight against thousands of incorrect research-grade identifications.


vetebrates besides birds!

Look what you’ve started! This is too much fun to leave off now!


Super cool! Been loving this series! If possible @comradejon could there be a series like this for the Canadian provinces and territories?


based on my iNaturalist experience, I’m working on (nearly completed!) an alpha-test draft of a guide to powdery mildews of the Americas, intended to be a field guide and usable key to the species that iNat users see. obviously that’s only one distinctive family – albeit one that most naturalists will struggle to identify at any lower rank than family, owing largely to a lack of identification resources. I would be interested to produce other guides to under-resourced taxonomic groups, at least those that can be meaningfully identified in the field (e.g. not many families and genera of flies, spiders, etc. that require micro-scale inspection and dissection – but perhaps other fungi, plants, etc.)