Longevity: annual or perennial
Texture: soft and fleshy, gelatinous, cartilaginous, brittle, corky,
leathery, or woody;
dry, moist, or sticky; upper surface smooth, velvety, hairy or scaly.
Color of internal tissues (context
and spore-bearing component): white, pale brown,
dark brown, or other (e.g. black, red).
Form: pileate (projecting out from the substrate surface), resupinate (forming a flat sheet or crust), or effused-reflexed
(forming a shelf with the base extending down over the substrate as a flat
sheet); if pileate: simple or compound; stalked (stipitate) or sessile;
solitary or clustered (possibly imbricate, i.e. several shelves overlapping one
above the other); if stalked, attached at the side or centrally.
Spore and basidia-bearing surface: smooth, folded or warty, usually
forming the fruit body under surface (e.g. corticioid fungi); lining vertical
gills or lamellae (e.g. agaric fungi; Lenzites, Panus,
Pleurotus species); lining vertical, downward-directed pores (e.g. polypore
fungi; boletes); on vertically hanging teeth or spines (hydroid fungi); on
erect branches (e.g. ramarioid fungi) etc.
Dimensions: size of fruit body;
width of context, pores, lamellae.
Host: the identity or type of host supporting a fructification (fruit
body) may be important.
Nature of decay associated with a basidiocarp on wood: white, fibrous or
stringy (simultaneous delignification); brown, cubically fractured; pocket rot
(selective delignification); appearance of any zone lines (pseudosclerotial
The fruit bodies of agaric basidiomycetes (mushrooms and toadstools) are
distinguished initially by their spore color (as revealed in the spore
deposit); the presence or absence of a ring around the stalk or stipe, and a
cup-shaped structure called the volva at its base (the partial and universal
veils); the nature of the substrate (soil or wood); surface texture (smooth, velvety, scaly; dry, sticky, with fibrils etc.);
and the form of the gill attachment to the stipe.