Missouri Mushrooms

cauliflower mushroom

Eastern Cauliflower Mushroom

Sparassis spathulata

Description: Large, stalkless, rounded mushrooms with finely wavy, white to pale yellowish, flat-edged, leaf-like branches

Season: July-October;

Habitat: Open oak and sandy oak-pine woods

Edibility: Choice. No poisonous look alikes

Comments: Often rare due to their high moisture requirements. When fresh, whitish with a crisp texture and usually large enough for several meals

chanterelle mushroom


Cantharellus cibarius

Description: Bright yellow-orange cap with wavy edge and yellow-orange, thick ridges descending stalk

Season: June-October

Habitat: On the ground under hardwood trees

Edibility: Choice, with caution

Comments: Beware of confusing it with the poisonous Jack O’Lantern mushroom. The best way to identify a Chanterelle is by its distinctive ridges on the underside of the cap and stalk. Chanterelles DO NOT have gills.

Chicken Mushroom

Laetiporus sulphureus

Description: Single or overlapping clusters of fleshy, smooth, orange-red to orange-yellow caps with sulfur-yellow pores

Season: May-November

Habitat: On stumps, trunks, and logs of hardwood trees and on buried roots

Edibility: Choice

Comments: Tastes like chicken but becomes somewhat indigestible as it ages. Can cause allergic reaction in some cases

destroying angel mushroom

Destroying Angel

Amanita virosa

Description: White mushroom with flaring to ragged ring on stalk. Large, saclike cup about base

Season: Late June-Early November

Habitat: On the ground in mixed woods, in grass under or near trees

Edibility: DEADLY. DO NOT touch or eat anything that looks similar to this mushroom

Comments: Part of a deadly group of Amanitas including the Death Cap. Do not eat any mushrooms with a ‘sac’ at their base, which often is below the surface of the ground.

devils urn

Devil’s Urn

Urnula craterium

Description: Large, leathery, brown, urn-shaped cup

Season: Late March-May

Habitat: Clustered on fall deciduous wood, especially oak

Edibility: Inedible

Comments: One of the first mushrooms to appear in the spring

Hen of the Woods

Grifola frondosa

Description: Large, clustered mass of grayish-brown, fleshy, spoon-shaped caps with white stalks branching from a compound base

Season: September-November

Habitat: At the base or on stumps of hardwood trees

Edibility: Choice

Comments: Can be found at the same spot or area for many years. Clusters can weigh 5-100 lbs

purple laccaria mushroom

Purple-Gilled Laccaria

Laccaria ochropurpurea

Description: Large, purplish-brown to greyish cap with thick, purplish gills and stout, solid stalk

Season: July-November

Habitat: On the ground in grassy areas and open oak woods

Edibility: Good

Comments: Often found in quantity in the fall and is good when mixed with other foods

Lion's Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane

Hericium erinaceus

Description: Large, whitish, beardlike mass, with log teeth.

Season: August-November, but we have found it in spring as well

Habitat: On dead and decaying deciduous trees

Edibility: Choice. No poisonous look alikes

Comments: Often used in supplements due to its many health benefits, including reducing risk of heart disease and protecting against dementia

orange pinwheel marsmius

Orange Pinwheel Marasmius

Marasmius siccus

Description: Small, dry, bell-shaped, rust-orange, pleated cap with dry, black stalk

Season: July-October

Habitat: On deciduous wood, leaves, and white pine needles

Edibility: Inedible

Comments: Among the first mushrooms to appear after rain

indigo milky

Indigo Milky

Lactarius indigo

Description: Indigo, convex to sunken cap, fading with age, sticky, hairless, bruising green

Season: July-late October

Habitat: On soil in oak and pine woods

Edibility: Edible

Comments: The taste of this mushroom varies depending on the trees it grows under, though it often has a peppery flavor

half free morel

Half-Free Morel

Morchella semilibera

Description: Yellow-brown, skirtlike, honeycombed cap on whitish stalk

Season: April-Early May

Habitat: On the ground in damp, open woods near oak, beech, and tulip trees

Edibility: Good

Comments: Appears about 7-10 days earlier than the Yellow Morel

yellow morel

Yellow Morel

Morchella esculenta

Description: blonde to yellow-brown honeycombed cap on a whitish stalk

Season: Late April-Early June

Habitat: On the ground in burned areas, near dead elms, under tulip trees, ash, oak, and in beech-maple woods

Edibility: Choice

Comments: Often considered the most delicious mushroom, they cannot be farmed and are therefore in very high demand

old man of the woods mushroom

Old Man of the Woods

Strobilomyces floccopus

Description: Coarsely scaly, greyish-black cap with white to dark grey tubes and woolly/scaly stalk

Season: July-October

Habitat: On the ground amoung hardwoods and conifers

Edibility: Edible

Comments: This common eastern bolete becomes unappetizing as it ages

oyster mushroom

Oyster Mushroom

Pleurotus ostreatus

Description: Broad, fleshy, white, grey, or brown cap with whitish or yellow-tinged gills arising from attachment to wood or small, hairy, stub-like stalk.

Season: Year-round under favorable conditions

Habitat: Usually on deciduous trees, especially willow and aspen

Edibility: Choice

Comments: This species complex has many forms throughout the year. In summer it is usually flat and whitish, becoming more round and brownish in fall and winter.

pheasant back/dryads saddle mushroom

Pheasant Back/Dryad’s Saddle

Polyporus squamosus

Description: Large, fleshy, scaly, flat to sunken, yellowish-brown cap with large, white to yellowish pores descending the stalk

Season: Late April-November

Habitat: On living or dead deciduous wood

Edibility: Edible

Comments: When young, the tender edges of the caps can be pickled, sautéed, or fried for a choice treat

giant puffball

Giant Puffball

Calvatia gigantea

Description: Huge, white, smooth sphere with white interior. Surface cracking irregularly with maturity

Season: Late May-October

Habitat: In open woods, pastures, and urban areas

Edibility: Choice

Comments: Commonly found in backyards and parks

Pear-Shaped Puffball

Lycoperdon pyriforme

Description: Pear-shaped, smoothish, yellow-brown mushroom with pore at top

Season: July-November

Habitat: On wood, decaying logs, stumps, debris

Edibility: Choice, when young

Comments: This is a very common and abundant puffball and is best when immature and pure white

spiny puffball

Spiny Puffball

Lycoperdon echinatum

Description: Roundish, white, covered with clusters of long spines fused at tips, browning with age

Season: August-November

Habitat: Among leaves in woods

Edibility: Inedible

Comments: One of several types of spiny puffballs which are challenging to distinguish from one another

scarlet cup mushroom

Scarlet Cup

Sarcoscypha coccinea

Description: Deep, bright red cup with white outer surface

Season: March-May

Habitat: On fallen hardwood branches in wet places

Edibility: Inedible

Comments: Used by the Oneida Indians as a styptic to help blood coagulate

Spring Polypore

Polyporus arcularius

Description: Fleshy, tough, brownish, scaly, circular cap with large, angular, whitish pores and brownish stalk

Season: April-June

Habitat: On dead deciduous wood or ground over buried wood

Edibility: Inedible

Comments: One of the first mushrooms to pop up in the spring. Most easily identified by its unique geometric spore pattern

wood/tree/jew's ear

Wood Ear

Auricularia auricula-judae

Description: Large, brownish, rubbery, ear-shaped

Season: April-December

Habitat: Usually on coniferous wood, but can sometimes also be found on deciduous wood

Edibility: Edible, though rather rubbery

Comments: Also known as Tree Ear. Eaten widely in Chinese culture and may contribute to the lower incidence of coronary artery disease in China