Photo by Kirk Nelson
Ravenel’s Stinkhorn (Phallus ravenelii) is a common and widespread mushroom in gardens, lawns, meadows, cultivated areas, and woodlands of eastern North America. It is found from August through October, singly or in clusters, on the ground or on well rotted stumps, logs, wood chips, or sawdust.
The fruiting body at first is white to pinkish and egg-shaped, resembling a puffball. When conditions are right the “egg” ruptures and expands rapidly, sometimes in as little as one hour, producing a 4″ to 6″ tall, distinctly phallic structure with a stalk and thimble-like head. The rapid expansion is possible because all of the parts are fully formed and compressed inside the “egg”, and because the individual cells elongate, rather than new cells being produced. As the stinkhorn expands the gelatinous layer mixes with the spore mass producing a shiny, putrid slime that covers the cap. The foul-smelling slime is irresistible to flies, which feed on it, lay their eggs in it, and transfer spores when they fly to other stinkhorns.
Like all stinkhorns, this mushroom is edible. However, the slimy consistency inside the “egg” and the putrid odor the mature mushroom are enough to dissuade most from collecting it for the table.
Photo by Robert Briggs
Crowded Parchment (Stereum complicatum) is a common, widely distributed, wood decaying, bracket fungi. It is found from spring through fall as fused masses or dense, overlapping clusters on stumps, logs, and sticks of hardwood trees, especially oak.
The fruiting body is sometimes a thin, semicircular or fan-shaped bracket (cap), but very often it lies flat without a well-defined cap, with the margins free and folded inward. The upper surface is concentrically zoned with shades of orange, orangish-brown, tan, pinkish, or cinnamon. The under surface is bright orange and smooth, with no layer of pores or tubes. The flesh is thin, tough, and inedible.
Photo by diraek
Honey Mushroom (Armillaria mellea group) is a common and very widespread, extremely variable group of closely related gill mushrooms. It is found around the globe in the northern temperate zones and has been introduced in South Africa.
At least 14 varieties of Honey Mushroom have been described. Several characteristics are relatively constant. It usually appears in small to massive clusters on stumps or logs, on the lower trunk of living trees, or on the ground growing on tree roots. On young mushrooms the gills are covered with a Kleenex-like, cottony, membranous tissue. On the cap there are usually tiny brown scales, most dense in the center and more or less radiating outward. The stalk is tough, and fibrous, tapered to the base when in clusters, expanded at the base when solitary. The flesh is bitter when raw. The spores are white and white spore dust can be seen on lower mushrooms in large mature clusters.
Photo by Ben Heath
Long-spined Puffball (Lycoperdon pulcherrimum) is a beautiful, small to medium-sized puffball. It is found in the fall, alone or in small groups, on ground under hardwoods or on very rotten wood. It is common in the southern United States, uncommon in Minnesota.
Long-spined Puffball is more or less pear-shaped, about 1½″ in diameter and 2″ in height. It has a globe-shaped top and a sterile, stalk-like base that is usually well developed but sometimes inconspicuous. The top is white and densely covered with spines when young, dark brown to dark purplish-brown, shiny, and smooth at maturity. The slender spines join at the tips in groups of 2 to 6 or more creating numerous pyramid-shaped clusters. They remain white until they are shed or wear away, leaving no marks on the outer layer. When mature, a pore-like mouth develops at the top of the puffball through which spores are released by wind and rain. It is edible when it is young and the flesh is firm and white.
Several spiny puffballs are found in Minnesota. Curtis’s Puffball (Vascellum curtisii) spines and outer layer remain white at maturity. It usually occurs in clusters. Gem-Studded Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum) stem is substantial. The top is flattened and is covered with short white spines interspersed with white granules. The spines wear off by maturity leaving scars on the pale brown outer layer. Spiny Puffball (Lycoperdon echinatum) spines and outer layer soon turn brown, changing color together.
Photo by magic mountain mushroom hunters
Jack-o’-Lantern Mushroom (Omphalotus illudens) is a poisonous, bioluminescent, gill mushroom. It is found in woodlands growing on the trunk or stump of a hardwood, especially oak, or on the ground gaining nutrients from tree roots. It gets its common name from its bright orange color, its appearance around Halloween, and its eerie green glow in the dark. One report had it bright enough to read a newspaper by. More trusted sources suggest that the light is very faint and may not always be visible to human eyes. To see the light it is suggested that a person take a fresh, actively growing specimen into a closet, close the door, and wait 30 minutes for their eyes to become accustomed to the dark. Only then a will dim green glow be visible… or not.
Jack-o’-Lantern Mushroom is usually small and found in large clusters, occasionally larger and solitary. The cap is yellowish-orange to orange. The flesh is more or less the same color as the cap. The gills on the underside of the cap are narrow, closely spaced, not forked, and emit a green glow.
Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) is similar in appearance but has a long growing season and can be found in the spring. It is usually solitary. The flesh is white. The gills are forked, shallow, and thick.
Black Trumpet (Craterellus fallax) is a common and widespread, edible mushroom. It occurs in deciduous and mixed woodlands across North America but is especially common in the east. It fruits from July to October on the ground, usually under oak, beech, and possibly other hardwood trees. It is often missed because its shape and color allows it to blend in with its surroundings. It sometimes stands out in sharp relief against a green carpet of moss.
Black Trumpet is trumpet-shaped, hollow in the center, tapered to the base, dark brown to black above, and pale below. There is no sharp distinction between the stalk and the cap. It has a fruity fragrance reminiscent of apricots.
Black Trumpet is distinguished by its blackish-brown, trumpet-shaped fruiting body; smooth or only shallowly wrinkled underside; and whitish to pinkish-orange or yellowish sport print. It is similar in appearance to three other “black trumpet mushrooms”, all of which are edible. Ashen Chanterelle (Cantharellus cinereus) has a bluish-black or bluish gray underside that is conspicuously wrinkled with shallow, primitive gills. Blue Chanterelle (Polyozellus multiplex) has a purple or dark blue tinted cap. Horn of Plenty (Craterellus cornucopioides) has a white spore print but is otherwise indistinguishable. It is common in Europe but much rarer in North America.
Bright Cobblestone Lichen (Acarospora socialis) is very common in southwestern United States. It is the most common yellow member of its genus in the southwest, and one of the most common lichens of any kind in the deserts of Arizona and southern California. It is uncommon in Minnesota, where it has been recorded only in Cottonwood County.
Bright Cobblestone Lichen is up to 4″ wide and may be crusty, appearing sprayed on like paint; leaf-like, with thin, flat, lobes; or cracked, appearing somewhat like cracked paint. The upper surface is usually bright yellow or greenish-yellow when fresh but may be bleached white with age.
Photo by Kirk Nelson
False Turkey Tail (Stereum ostrea) is an extremely common and widely distributed, wood decaying, bracket fungi. It is found on logs and stumps of dead hardwood trees, especially oaks. It appears as individual, overlapping, thin, semicircular or fan-shaped brackets. The upper surface is densely hairy and concentrically zoned dark reddish, orange, yellowish, brown, and buff. The under surface is smooth or slightly bumpy, with no layer of pores or tubes. Older caps are usually buff or gray above, gray or whitish below, and often greenish or blackish due to being partially covered with algae.
False Turkey Tail can be easily mistaken for the more common Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor). That species has brackets that often fuse into overlapping rosettes. The underside of the cap is covered with a layer of spore-bearing pores.
Photo by Cannon Valley Foraging
Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa) is one of the most easily recognized polypores of eastern North America. The numerous, overlapping, smoky-brown caps are reminiscent of a fluffed-up chicken, giving this mushroom its common name. It is found in deciduous woodlands, especially woodland edges, usually at the base of a dead or dying tree or stump. It appears in summer and fall as a large cluster of rosettes of numerous small, overlapping, fan-shaped caps rising from a single base. Tender young caps are edible after long, slow cooking.
Hen of the Woods is distinctive in appearance. A closely related species, Grifola umbellata, is similar in appearance but the caps are larger and lighter in color, and are attached near the center, not at or near the side. It is much less common.
Aspen Bolete (Leccinum insigne) was first described in North America in 1966. In the summer and early fall it is found on the ground, widely scattered or in groups, in woods and woodland edges under aspen and possibly also under birch. The species name means “distinctive or outstanding” but the mushroom was named for the Italian soccer player Lorenzo Insigne. Most sources state that it is safe to eat, but it has recently been thought to cause gastrointestinal distress in some individuals.
Scaber stalk mushrooms can be easily identified to the genus, less easily to the species. All have whitish or pale stalks covered by numerous short, rough, projecting scales (scabers) that turn dark at maturity. Many are similar in appearance and are often misidentified as Red-capped Scaber Stalk (Leccinum aurantiacum), even in printed guides and on popular mushroom Websites. However, recent DNA analysis suggests that Red-Capped Scaber Stalk is a European species that does not occur in North America.
Aspen bolete is distinguished by the dry, orange or orangish cap that turns bluish-gray or purplish-gray when bruised or cut; the stalk that tuns blue at the base when cut; and its habit of growing under aspens.