As I discussed in my recent article, Fighting Fungophobia (or Mycophobia) …the fear of mushrooms, here is a list of 70 Distinctive Mushrooms:
Seventy Distinctive Mushrooms (Part One: 1-10)
Seventy Distinctive Mushrooms (Part Two: 11-20)
Seventy Distinctive Mushrooms (Part Three: 21-30)
Seventy Distinctive Mushrooms (Part Four: 31-40 )
Seventy Distinctive Mushrooms (Part Five: 41-50)
Seventy Distinctive Mushrooms (Part Six: 51-60)
Seventy Distinctive Mushrooms (Part Seven: 61-70)
This list of mushrooms comes from David Arora, mycologist extraordinaire and author of Mushrooms Demystified and All That the Rain Promises and More. I’ve added photos and a brief paragraph about reported edibility, characteristics, distribution, and habitat. Remember, this is not meant to be an identification guide but rather an introduction to some pretty amazing and representative mushrooms. The mushrooms on this list are all found in the United States (my home), but the majority are also found outside of North America.
A quick note on edibility: I am listing whether the mushroom is considered Edible or Poisonous or Deadly Poisonous. Understand that all mushrooms should be cooked before being eaten. Even edible mushrooms can cause gastrointestinal upset (nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping, and/or diarrhea) if the mushrooms are not cooked. Yes, some people can handle raw mushrooms in small amounts (mainly just the common, grocery store “button mushrooms”), but most will succumb to symptoms if they eat enough raw mushrooms, especially wild mushrooms. Also, note that some edible mushrooms may cause gastrointestinal symptoms for some individuals and none for other individuals. One species may cause some symptoms for one person but not for another. It is variable. If it is your first time consuming a new type of mushrooms, go slow. Eat a little bit one day, and if you do well, then consume a bit more the next day. If you still have no problems, then you can likely eat that type of mushroom with no issues. Finally, note that most anyone has a good chance of getting gastrointestinal symptoms if they eat an excessively large amount of mushrooms of any type. Just like if a person eats a whole pot of bean-laden chili… watch out! Keep it in moderation, but have fun!
Seventy mushroom listings and photographs will take a lot of space, so I am going to break the list up into ten species segments. I recommend reading David Arora’s books as well as some local field guides. Then go outside and get to know the fungus among us… er, you, I mean.
Here are the next ten:
51. Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
52. Hericiums (Hericium species)
53. Hedgehog Mushroom (Hydnum repandum)
54. Pink-Tipped Coral Mushroom (Ramaria botrytis)
55. Cauliflower Mushrooms (Sparassis species)
56. Scaly Chanterelle (Gomphus floccosus group)
57. White Chanterelle (Cantharellus subalbidus)
58. Chanterelle, Golden Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius)
59. Horn of Plenty, Black Trumpet, Black Chanterelle (Craterellus cornucopioides)
60. Witch’s Butter (Tremella mesenterica)
Here is the list again with photos and accompanying paragraph of additional information:
53. Hedgehog Mushrooms (Hydnum repandum): Edible (choice!) This edible mushroom has rather unique spines hanging from the underside of the cap instead of gills or pores, and the stalk is often off-centered. It is commonly compared to a Chanterlle (see below) with a sweet, nutty flavor. It is sometimes bitter or peppery, but that usually disappears with cooking. Cap size: 0.8-6.7 inches (2-17 cm), but can get to 9.8 inches (25 cm). Found commonly in northern temperate climate zones and grows solitary, scattered, or in groups on the ground under hardwoods and conifers, sometimes in fairy rings.
54. Pink-Tipped or Clustered Coral Mushroom (Ramaria botrytis): Edible (with caution). Some people rate this mushroom as choice, but others claim it causes diarrhea. David Aurora recommends trying it, because it is so large and fleshy and potentially good! This is a large coral fungus which starts off white or pale and eventually turns brown to tan with pink, purple, or red tips that fade with age. Fruiting Body: 2.8-7.9 inches (7-20 cm) tall and 2.4-11.8 inches (6-30 cm) in diameter. Common and widely distributed around the world under broadleaf trees.
55. Cauliflower Mushrooms (Sparassis species): Edible. (choice, best when young and still creamy white). This is another unique coral mushroom that is difficult to mistake. The characteristic fruiting body is composed of wavy, flattened, leafy, or ribbonlike lobes. They fruit at the base of trees, and will fruit year after year in the same spot. Some mushrooms will have a spicy-fragrant odor as well. Fruiting Body: 6.3-23.7 inches (16-60 cm) tall and wide. They grow as parasites on hardwoods (especially oak) and coniferous. Most common in Europe and North America.
56. Scaly Chanterelle (Gomphus floccosus group). Poisonous. This mushroom has a classic vase-shape or trumpet-shape, classic in chanterelles. The surface can be red to yellow to orange, but often faded and not very bright. While some find this mushroom delicious, most will develop nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Fruiting Body: 1.2-5.9 inches (3-15 cm) broad and 2.0-7.9 inches (5-20 cm) tall. It is found in forests under conifers (fir, pine, hemlock, etc.) across North America and Asia.
57. White Chanterelle (Cantharellus subalbidus): Edible (choice!). Here is another chanterelle that is a great edible. It has white flesh that bruises to yellow-orange-brown. It only lives on the west coast of North America: California to the Pacific Northwest. Cap: 1.6-5.9 inches (4-15 cm) across. Found under conifers.
58. Chanterelle, Golden Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius): Edible (choice!). This is the prized culinary Chanterelle, and one of my favorite mushrooms. It has a beautiful yellow to orange color with a light, fruity frangrance. There are a few look-alikes, so be certain of your identification. Cap: 1.2-5.9inches (3-15 cm) wide, but can get to 9.8 inches (25 cm). Commonly found in overlapping clusters on stumps and logs, but occasionally on living trees, of conifers and hardwoods. Widely distributed across northern Europe, North America, and Asia, but also found in Africa.
59. Horn of Plenty, Black Trumpet, Black Chanterelle (Craterellus cornucopioides): Edible (choice!) This is a difficult mushroom to find due to its dark color, but it has a good flavor. I’ve made a wild mushroom risotto with this mushroom that was fantastic. Cap: 0.8-2.75 inches (2-7 cm) wide, but can get to 6 inches (15 cm). Found in the forests of North America, Europe, and eastern Asia under broadleaf trees (especially beech and oak).
60. Witch’s Butter, Golden Jelly Fungus (Tremella mesenterica): Edible. Many people are unfamiliar with the jelly fungi and their rubbery, gelatinous consistency. Witch’s Butter is a parasite of a fungus that decays wet wood (fungi in the genus Peniophora). While edible, this common jelly fungus is flavorless. Fruiting Body: 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) wide and 1-2 inches (2.5-5.0 cm) tall with an irregular shape. Found in crevices and cracks of decaying wood of deciduous and mixed forests in temperate and tropical climates around the globe except Antarctica.Subscribe to TCPermaculture.com and receive updates whenever a new article is posted!