Ten Edible Mushrooms
Most of the following ten mushroom species are considered to be choice edibles in the common field guides. All are easily recognizable.
- Morchella esculenta (“morel“) — This unusual pitted grayish to yellow mushroom is many people’s favorite collectable edible. It is one of the harbingers of spring and is usually found in May to very early June. A good place to look for them is near dead or dying elms.
- Grifola frondosa (“hen of the woods“) — This delicious edible typically grows at the bases of oak trees where it forms large clumps resembling the many-layered feathers of a hen. The “feathers” are usually grayish-brown with white pores underneath.
- Agaricus campestris* (“meadow mushroom“) — This is a wild relative of the common white mushroom found in stores. It can be recognized by its ring and its free gills which are pink when young darkening to chocolate brown in age. It is a firm, meaty mushroom with a white to brown, smooth to fibrillose cap. Typically, it grows in grass and the large smooth caps can often be seen poking out of the ground in yards or along curbs.
- Cantharellus cibarius* (“chanterelle“) — This is a golden-colored mushroom with a flat to sunken cap and blunt ridges rather than gills running down the stalk. The odor is distinctive and mellow fruity, somewhat similar to apricots. Chanterelles frequently start to fruit in July.
- Coprinus comatus* (“shaggy mane“) — This is one of the distinctive “inky-cap” mushrooms whose gills and flesh darken and dissolve into an inky-black mess. Before this happens, though, it is a beautiful white mushroom with shaggy upturned scales. It is commonly found in grassy areas in the fall.
- Pleurotus ostreatus* (“oyster mushroom“) This is a large, fan-shaped, moist, whitish to tan mushroom with little or no stalk. The widely-spaced gills jutting straight out from high up on a tree trunk often make this mushroom a beautiful spectacle.
- Hydnum repandum* (“sweet tooth“) — This is a firm, compact tooth fungus with a buff to orange cap that is often flat-topped and with paler white to yellowish teeth.
- Hericium coralloides* (“bear’s head tooth“) — This is also a tooth fungus, but does not have the usual stem-cap form. Rather its teeth hang from a cluster of white fleshy branches. It grows on decaying wood.
- Leccinum insigne/aurantiacum *(“scaber stalk“) — These are pored, bolete-type mushrooms with orange-brown to reddish-brown caps and dark projections or scabers on the stem. They are usually associated with aspen or birch trees and are quite common. A related species which is also edible is the light gray-brown-capped L. scabrum.
- Flammulina velutipes* (“velvet foot” or “velvet stem“) — This is a small firm mushroom that grows in clumps on wood. It is noted for its sticky reddish-yellow cap and dark-brown velvety stem and for the fact that it often can be collected even in cold weather when there are no other edible mushrooms around.