A comparison of the accuracy of mushroom identification applications using digital photographs

Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2023 Mar;61(3):166-172. doi: 10.1080/15563650.2022.2162917. Epub 2023 Feb 15.


Objective: To compare the accuracy of three popular mushroom identification software applications in identifying mushrooms involved in exposures reported to the Victorian Poisons Information Centre and Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.

Background: Over the past 10 years, an increasing number of software applications have been developed for use on smart phones and tablet devices to identify mushrooms. We have observed an increase in poisonings after incorrect identification of poisonous species as edible, using these applications.

Design: We compared the accuracy of three iPhone™ and Android™ mushroom identification applications: Picture Mushroom (Next Vision Limited©), Mushroom Identificator (Pierre Semedard©), and iNaturalist (iNaturalist, California Academy of Sciences©). Each app was tested independently by three researchers using digital photographs of 78 specimens sent to the Victorian Poisons Information Centre and Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria over a two-year period, 2020-2021. Mushroom identification was confirmed by an expert mycologist. For each app, individual and combined results were compared.

Results: Picture Mushroom was the most accurate of the three apps and correctly identified 49% (95% CI [0-100]) of specimens, compared with Mushroom Identificator (35% [15-56]) and iNaturalist (35% [0-76]). Picture Mushroom correctly identified 44% of poisonous mushrooms [0-95], compared with Mushroom Identificator (30% [1-58]) and iNaturalist (40% [0-84), but Mushroom Identificator identified more specimens of Amanita phalloides correctly (67%), compared to Picture Mushroom (60%) and iNaturalist (27%). Amanita phalloides was falsely identified, twice by Picture Mushroom and once by iNaturalist.

Conclusions: Mushroom identification applications may be useful future tools to assist clinical toxicologists and the general public in the accurate identification of mushrooms species but, at present, are not reliable enough to exclude exposure to potentially poisonous mushrooms when used alone.

Keywords: Amanita phalloides; Mushrooms; applications; identification; poisoning.

MeSH terms

  • Amanita
  • Humans
  • Mobile Applications
  • Mushroom Poisoning* / diagnosis
  • Poisons*


  • Poisons

Supplementary concepts

  • Amanita phalloides