I recently took several photos of some mushrooms growing on a pile of logs. I know almost nothing about mycology (the study of fungi) so I can’t say much about them. I’m fairly certain they’re in the phylum Basidiomycota, but that’s as specific as I’m willing to go on the taxonomy.
I can identify many insects to the familial level on sight, and many plants to the general or specific level with minimal observation. The fact that I’m lucky to know the phylum of a fungus even after some research is pretty revealing of my lack of knowledge of the kingdom Fungi.
Fungus identification seems really challenging, and apparently even experts are often left scratching their heads. At a minimum, many different morphologic characteristics have to be evaluated, and often microscopic analysis of the spores is required. Even then, it’s possible to be wrong.
For all I know, some of these mushrooms may be of the same species.
I’ll confirm my ignorance of fungi with this superficial statement: This last mushroom is my favorite because it looks like it has a face and it reminds me of a character from Super Mario Brothers: