The most foolproof way to positively identify a mushroom, or to increase your supply through cultivation, is to collect its spores by taking a “spore print.” Many varieties of edible mushrooms have a similar appearance to poisonous mushrooms, but their spores do not. That's why it is important never to assume a positive identity of any mushroom collected in the wild without taking a spore print to make a positive identification. It can take as little as 24 hours to collect enough spores to warrant a confident positive identification.
Poke two holes in the center of the lid of the shoe box with the point of the scissors or knife, approximately 1 inch apart. Set the lid aside.
Tie a 12-inch length of string onto the ornament hook in the spot where you would normally place the ornament. Thread the other end of the string through the two holes in the box top so that the hook hangs from the inside of the lid, down into the inside of the box when the lid is placed on the box. Tie the ends of the string together to secure it and the hook to the box top. If you have no ornament hook, bend a paper clip into a rough “S” shape and insert the top loop into the box top.
Select a mushroom that is shorter than the depth of the box. Insert the ornament hook into the cap of the mushroom, near the top of the cap, so that when it is suspended it will be right side up. Carefully lift up the box top to check that the mushroom is securely fastened onto the hook.
Place a piece of clean, blank white paper in the bottom of the shoebox. This is where you will collect the spores. Place the lid, containing the suspended mushroom, on the shoebox. Set aside in a cool place with good air circulation for 24 to 48 hours.
Check for spore deposits by lifting the lid of the box. The spores will collect on the blank piece of paper and are usually a dark gray, brown or black color. Carefully remove the paper from the box and begin the mushroom cultivation process.