Pseudocolus fusiformis

Dry Your Specimens


  1. If you don't already have a dryer buy a new or used one that has temperature control.
  2. Dry your fungi at 110-120 degrees F max til they're cracker dry. Cut up fungi that don't fit into smaller pieces
  3. If you have lots of fungi, keep track by taping the number from the field slip next to or under the specimen.
  4. Place dried fungi in Ziploc bag with your dry field slip.



Dry your specimens if you will be sending them for DNA sequencing, or if you plan to send them to a fungarium.

Drying Equipment

Although a food dehydrator is your best choice, some tougher specimens can be air dried in dry conditions. A kitchen oven on lowest heat is not recommended as it is too easy to damage the mushroom and its DNA.

Most mycophiles and mycologists use a food dehydrator, commonly used for drying fruit, vegetables and meat jerky.

  • A good dehydrator will have a heater, fans that allow air to circulate within the unit, a variable temperature control, and removable racks.

Fruit Dryers: Excalibur vs Nesco-American Harvest
This 15 min. video compares the two brands of food dehydrators most commonly used by mushroomers. A small Nesco Gardenmaster with adjustable temperature is a good choice for serious beginners, and can be bought used on eBay.


Do’s and don’ts

  • Start drying as soon as possible 

      • Yeasts, molds, bacteria and insects will start to degrade the specimen. 
      • If it will be more than a few hours, consider putting specimens (especially fleshy ones) in an ice chest during transport or in a refrigerator at home. 
  • Prepare specimens for drying

  • Select the best specimens in each collection
  • Clean your collections
      • Gathering material for sequencing requires that DNA belongs to the collection being sequenced, not the others in the dehydrator or your basket.  Try to reduce contact of different species during the collecting and drying process. 
    • Special situations
      • Big mushrooms should be sliced before drying or they will rot. Cut them into slices: remove the cap from the stem, and slice both at least once.
      • Hard ascomycetes Air-drying is as good or better than drying in a dehydrator, and it also prevents the ascospores from being shot out and distributed across all the other specimens in your dehydrator. 
  • Drying in a dehydrator

  • Label your specimens on the rack. Identifying characters may be lost!. 
    • If you are using FunDiS field data slips, either put the whole slip (for larger specimens) or cut and use the bottom drying number to keep your collection organized. Place your specimens on top of the label or tape the cut label to the rack, so they don’t blow around.
    • For small specimens, mycologists sometimes use small cups or a wire mesh silverware or craft holder.
  • Set the temperature to 110 – 120 degrees F (43-50 C). Ttemperatures above 155 degrees F (68 C) can damage DNA.
  • Dry the mushrooms until they are as dry as potato chips.
    • It can take 12 to 48 hours to completely dry the mushrooms in a dehydrator, depending on ambient humidity, size, density and water content.
  • Package your dried specimens

    Package your dried specimens for home storage or for sending to a fungarium. Place crispy dry specimens in a resealable plastic bag to keep them dry.

    • Resealable snack, sandwich and quart bags (like Ziploc) can be bought at grocery stores. Smaller resealable bags can be purchased for tiny specimens in the jewelry section of craft stores. 
    • If you plan to store these at home and your relative humidity is above 50%, see Temporary Storage and Personal Herbaria


    • IMPORTANT:  Write the iNat or MO observation number on the field data slip or other piece of paper. That is the permanent number that will be used to track specimens through the sequencing or vouchering process. Place the field data slip or other piece of paper in the bag with the specimen.
  • Find your permanent observation number
  • Print labels These are useful for either personal or institutional fungarium storage -- in addition to, not instead of, the original field data slip.
    • On iNaturalist 
      • iNat does not have a label export feature. If you are determined you can export a CSV file from your project and copy key information into a word document, format, print and cut. Or you can use Mail Merge Manager in Word to create labels directly from the CSV file.
    • On Mushroom Observer
      • You can easily print data-rich labels showing all the data you have entered. open your Species List. Across the top of the list of observations are six links, one of which is Print Labels. Either print directly, or format in a word processing program and print. This can be added to your specimen bag along with your field data slip or other notes.

Next steps

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10385 Green Meadow Rd
Sebastopol, CA 95472