Horticulture Magazine

An A-Z List Of Mushroom Varieties

many varieties of mushroom on a market stall

Have you ever looked carefully at the ground (or the bases of trees) when walking through woodland?

If so you’ve probably seen just how many different types of mushroom there are. It’s quite incredible when you notice the medley of shapes, sizes, colours and, if you’re particularly observant – textures and smells.

various types of mushroom in a round wicker bowl
There’s not mushroom for anything else in that bowl!

Some mushrooms – like ceps, girolles, morels and similar – are renowned for being delicious.

Others, not in this list but definitely out in the world, are renowned for being poisonous enough to cause illness or death.

So it’s really important that if you do fancy foraging yourself a basketful of mushrooms like those above, that you have the relevant expertise on hand.

Whether this is a qualified mushroom picker, a well-recommended book, or your own expertise: just make sure you’re not going in blind.

Disclaimer: The descriptions in this piece are just that – descriptive. We take no responsibility for ill effects caused by picked mushrooms!

If you’re planning to go foraging for wild mushrooms we highly recommend going with an expert who can confirm the safety of what you’re picking.

An A-Z of edible mushroom varieties

Below you’ll find 64 edible mushrooms, arranged alphabetically by their common names.

Some have several names, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for straight away, hit ctrl+f and type the name in the search bar: you may see it listed by another common name instead.

Amethyst deceiver

  • A lilac mushroom that’s very common in woodland settings. Discard the stem before cooking, and don’t expect too much in terms of flavour!
  • Season: Jul-Dec

Aniseed funnel / blue-green funnel

  • A pale blue mushroom with a wavy rim, commonly found in deciduous woods and tasting strongly of aniseed (hence the name!)
  • Season: Aug-Nov

Autumn chanterelle

  • Dark brown with distinctive gill ridges, common in woodland, and closely related to the famed chanterelle used often in cuisine.
  • Season: Sep-Nov

Bay bolete

  • Light brown underneath with a dark brown cap, very common in mixed woodland and tasty when used in cooking.
  • Season: Aug-Nov
bay bolete mushrooms on a white plate with visible knife and fork
Bay boletes ready to be ‘ate’

Beefsteak fungus / ox’s tongue

  • Broad-capped and deep red-brown in colour. Frequently found on oak and chestnut trees, although nothing to write home about in terms of flavour.
  • Season: Jul-Oct
beefsteak fungus mushroom on woodland floor
Good eatin’

Blusher

  • Edible but must be par-boiled then cooked again separate to the water. White in colour with faded pink shading, common in woodland.
  • Season: Jul-Nov

Brown birch roughstalk / brown birch bolete

  • Nicely flavoured but a bit slimy in texture, this off-white, walnutty brown mushroom works well in soups. Common near birch trees.
  • Season: Jul-Oct

Cauliflower fungus

  • Clean this large, pale cream-coloured mushroom thoroughly to remove dirt and debris from its fronds. Frequently found around pines.
  • Season: Sep-Nov
cauliflower fungus in woodland
Is it a cloud? Is it a brain? No! It’s a fungus!

Cep / porcini / penny bun bolete

  • One of the most popular mushrooms thanks to its delicious flavour and wide versatility. Bottom-heavy base with a distinctive stem and a round brown cap. Frequent in mixed woodland.
  • Season: Jul-Nov
porcini mushroom in the wild
Sought after for its deliciousness

Chanterelle / girolle

  • Common in cooking thanks to its great flavour. You’ll see its wavy yellow gills and stem on many a Masterchef bench!
  • Season: Jun-Nov
chanterelle mushrooms with onions and butter on a wooden table
Great with butter and onion

Charcoal burner / blue-yellow brittle gill / parrot russula

  • Atop a white stem sits a cap which can be dark brown, wine, olive, or a mixture. Common around deciduous trees.
  • Season: Jul-Nov

Chicken of the woods / sulphur polypore

  • Don’t be fooled by the name: this isn’t poultry. Although apparently it tastes like it! Orange yellow profusions with no stem make this a visually intriguing mushroom. Common on oak and yew.
  • Season: May-Sep
sulphur polypore growing from a woodland tree
An unusual specimen

Common funnel

  • A white brown mushroom found commonly on the ground in deciduous woodland, the irregular shaped cap is slightly darker than the stem.
  • Season: Aug-Dec

Common puffball

  • The domed cap gives this puffed mushroom its name, and its weak flavour explains its lack of reputation. Very common in mixed woodland.
  • Season: Jul-Oct

Crimson waxcap

  • The red, frilly cap sitting atop a yellowy stem makes this an eye-catching mushroom. Common in pasture land.
  • Season: Sep-Nov

Cow bolete / bovine bolete

  • The colour of straw, this small mushroom is common near pine trees. Grows olive coloured as it matures.
  • Season: Sep-Dec

Deceiver

  • A wavy tan mushroom with a frilly cap commonly found in groups in woodland. Doesn’t have the strongest flavour so mix with other mushrooms if cooking.
  • Season: Aug-Nov

Deer shield / fawn shield cap

  • A tightly domed dark grey cap that flattens and browns as the mushroom matures, commonly found on rotting wood. Tasty but sharp if too mature.
  • Season: Apr-Nov

Dryad’s saddle

  • Can be very big: the cap has distinctive concentric ring markings, and this mushroom is very common on deadwood. Young mushrooms are edible; older ones are tough.
  • Season: May-Aug
Dryad’s saddle mushrooms
Nature’s pancake. Or maybe crumpet?

Fairy ring champignon

  • Light brown in colour with bell-shaped caps that flatten with age. Frilly underneath. Very common on short grass.
  • Season: May-Nov

Field blewit / blue leg

  • Grey brown with paler edges, fairly large, good flavour although must be cooked thoroughly. Frequently found at woodland edges.
  • Season: Sep-Dec

Field mushroom

  • This white mushroom with deep brown fronds under its cap is very common in pasture land, and looks similar to common mushrooms you’ll find in the supermarket.
  • Season: Jul-Nov

Flesh-brown blewit

  • A slightly unusual name that brings to mind death, but tasty when cooked (don’t eat raw!). Lilac and brown colouration, rare and grows mainly on rotting plant matter.
  • Season: Sep-Dec

Giant puffball

  • Up to 80cm in diameter, this mushroom deserves its name! Shaped like a ball and white in colour, tastes great when sliced and fried.
  • Season: Jul-Oct
giant puffball mushroom with man standing next to it for scale
One of the more unusual mushrooms you’ll encounter

Glistening inkcap

  • Small and resembling bells, these brown mushrooms are very common on dead wood. Only pick and eat those with white gills, as other colours suggest too much age.
  • Season: Apr-Oct

Great wood mushroom / scaly wood mushroom

  • This frequently found mushroom tastes and behaves similarly to farmed mushrooms on supermarket shelves. Slightly less regular in shape, browner in colour.
  • Season: Aug-Oct
great wood mushrooms growing from soil
The wilder cousin of the supermarket mushroom

Hen of the woods

  • A central stem provides support for lots of grey brown, wavy-margined caps. Grows on bases of oak and beech trees. Only collect and eat young mushrooms as older ones smell and taste bad.
  • Season: Aug-Nov

Honey fungus / boot-lace fungus

  • Honey coloured, hence the name, and grows in big bunches. It’s recommended to only pick young mushrooms as mature ones may cause stomach upset.
  • Season: Aug-Nov

Jew’s ear / ear fungus

  • Despite the archaic name and lack of flavour, this mushroom is used a lot for texture in Asian cooking. Common on dead wood. Notable rubbery texture.
  • Season: All year
ear fungus collected in a wicker basket
It does look a little like an ear

Larch bolete

  • Yellow cap with irregular angling, and a slightly paler stem, this is frequently found near larch trees. Wipe the yellow off the cap before using in cooking.
  • Season: Aug-Nov

Lurid bolete

  • Poisonous if eaten raw or under cooked! This yellow mushroom with red streaking is frequently found near broad-leaved trees.
  • Season: Jul-Oct

Matt bolete

  • A yellow bolete with tiny red dots on it, commonly found in deciduous woods. It’s edible but is not the most favoured of the bolete varieties.
  • Season: Jul-Nov

Meadow puffball

  • Check white throughout before cooking, as colouration indicates unsuitability. Much smaller than other puffballs, common in woodland border.
  • Season: Jul-Nov
white coloured meadow puffball
Puff the Magic Mushroom

Meadow waxcap / buff meadow cap

  • A mild flavoured mushroom that improves the longer it’s cooked. Small, apricot coloured and with distinct ridges beneath cap. Common in woodland edges.
  • Season: Sep-Nov

Morel

  • The gourmands among you will recognise this popular, delicious mushroom, favoured by chefs around the world. Clean thoroughly before serving.
  • Season: Apr-Jun
distinctive morel mushrooms growing amongst moss
Distinctive, delicious

Mosaic puffball

  • As with the meadow puffball, check for white colouration throughout and don’t eat if absent. Grows 5-12cm in diameter. Frequently found in grass.
  • Season: Jun-Nov

Oak bolete

  • Another bolete with lemon yellow colouration on a cap with variable colours. Rare, found near oak. Edible, and behaves similarly to porcini mushrooms in recipes.
  • Season: Aug-Oct

Ochre brittle gill / common yellow brittle gill

  • Cap flattens with age and has a lower centre. This pale cream mushroom has a bitterness that can be removed by parboiling, but may put people off. Very common at ground level in mixed woodland.
  • Season: Aug-Nov

Orange birch roughstalk

  • Dome-shaped cap which can have scales, commonly found beneath birch trees. This large mushroom is best sliced before drying or cooking to ensure consistency.
  • Season: Jul-Nov

Orange peel fungus

  • This unusually shaped mushroom is rich orange and definitely resembles orange peel. Grows on earth or grass, and is a great way to bring colour to mushroom dishes. Cook for a long time to soften.
  • Season: Jun-Oct
orange peel fungus
Who threw their orange peel on the ground?!

Oyster mushroom

  • Very common in Asian cooking, this mushroom usually has a wavy cap and varies a lot in colour. Commonly found on trunks or stumps of deciduous trees.
  • Season: All year
oyster mushrooms being held in a basket
Well-loved around the world

Parasol mushroom

  • A great flavour makes this mushroom – with its unusual egg-shaped cap that opens into a parasol shape – a popular addition to cooked dishes. Get rid of the stems and focus on the cap. Common in pasture land.
  • Season: Jul-Oct
illustration of the lifecycle of parasol mushrooms
From egg to umbrella

Pestle puffball

  • Starting white and getting darker with age, this mushroom has little width difference between cap and stem. Common in woodland, but only edible when white throughout.
  • Season: Aug-Nov

Red cracking bolete

  • Yet another bolete, this brown specimen with yellow stem is common near deciduous trees. It’s not the most appetising mushroom thanks to its tendency to turn to mush when cooked.
  • Season: Aug-Nov

Saffron milkcap / red cracking bolete

  • This mushroom turns dishes bright orange, so use with caution. The saffron coloration gives it its name, and you’ll find this at ground level near pines quite often.
  • Season: Aug-Oct

Scarlet waxcap

  • Another colourful specimen, this bright red bell-shaped mushroom might initially not look edible. It is, however, and you’ll find it commonly in pasture land.
  • Season: Sep-Nov
bright orange coloured scarlet waxcap mushrooms
Red is usually a warning not to eat. Not here, though.

Scarletina bolete

  • Poisonous when raw or not properly cooked! This dirty brown mushroom with small red dots and sometimes blue colouration requires care when cooking. Frequent in mixed woodland.
  • Season: Aug-Nov

Shaggy inkcap / lawyer’s wig

  • A tall, white mushroom that gradually turns black with age. Make sure never to eat if the mushroom has moved beyond the white stage! Very commonly found on grass, especially near paths.
  • Season: Aug-Nov

Shaggy parasol

  • Another that turns from egg shaped to parasol shape as it ages. White with mottling on the cap and blemishes along the stem. Known for causing stomach upset, so go carefully.
  • Season: Jun-Oct
shaggy parasol mushrooms in various stages of growth
Evolution of parasol

Slender parasol

  • Taller and thinner than other parasol varieties, as you’d expect from the name. A flatter cap, too. Frequent at ground level in open woods. Edible but not particularly exciting.
  • Season: Aug-Nov

Slippery Jack

  • This intriguingly named fellow gets slimy if wet and stays shiny while dry. Chestnut coloured cap with yellow stem that browns with age. Common at ground level near pine trees.
  • Season: Sep-Nov
slippery jack mushroom on forest floor amongst foliage
A notoriously slippery fella

Snowy waxcap

  • Small, white, with fronds beneath the cap. Very common in pasture land, and edible but not hugely exciting in terms of flavour.
  • Season: Sep-Nov

St George’s Mushroom

  • Just how St George came to possess this mushroom isn’t clear, but the white cap with its slightly wavy rim is distinctive. Common at the edges of woodland, edible but not renowned for much flavour.
  • Season: Apr-Jun

Stump puffball

  • A small member of the puffball family: white, spherical cap with a short stem that grows very commonly on dead wood. Check for white colouration throughout before cooking: discard if not present.
  • Season: Jul-Nov

Terracotta wood urchin / terracotta hedgehog

  • The orange-brown cap gives this mushroom its name, and the spines beneath the cap (more rigid than gills) make it distinctive. Common at ground level in woodland.
  • Season: Jul-Nov

The Miller

  • A diminutive but tasty mushroom with pale grey coloration and an off-centre stem. Has a distinctive scent and is common in grassy areas of woodland.
  • Season: Jul-Nov
The Miller mushrooms
Clitopilus prunulus AKA ‘The Miller’. We don’t know either.

The Prince

  • Fairly large with a yellow brown cap with scales. Tall stem, slightly scaly here as well. Almond scent distinguishes this mushroom. Rare, found in woodland settings.
  • Season: Aug-Oct

Trooping funnel

  • A dome cap that flattens with maturity, with the edges eventually pointing upward, hence the funnel name. Frequently found in open woodland.
  • Season: Sep-Nov
two tooping funnel mushrooms on a woodland floor
Dome on the left, funnel on the right

Two-toned scalehead / sheathed woodtuft / velvet toughshank

  • Grows in huge bunches, this mushroom sports a bell-shaped cap that eventually flattens. Ochre with orangey colouration, and an edge that delineates the two colours. Common in clumps, grows on dead deciduous wood.
  • Season: May-Dec

Velvet shank

  • A sticky feel distinguishes this mushroom, which is orange and fades into white. Also common on dead deciduous wood. Known as one of a handful of edible mushrooms that grow through winter.
  • Season: Sep-Mar

Velvet shield

  • A brown, ridged cap that starts as a shallow dome and flattens with maturity. The white stem has brown scales, and you’ll see this mushroom occasionally on dead deciduous wood.
  • Season: Aug-Nov

Wood blewit

  • Unusual colouration with brown mixed with purple. This has a great flavour but also enjoys growing in compost heaps, so you decide whether you can stomach it!
  • Season: Sep-Dec

Wood mushroom

  • Seen occasionally in mixed woodland, this mushroom tastes and behaves just like a mushroom you’d find in the supermarket. Looks similar too, with a slightly more domed cap.
  • Season: Aug-Nov
wood mushrooms
Keep an eye out for these: they’re good ones

Wood urchin / pied de mouton / wood hedgehog

  • Colour includes pink and orange, and the cap has unusual edges. Can have more than one cap per stem. Commonly found on the ground in both deciduous and coniferous woodland.
  • Season: Jul-Nov

Spending time with the fungis

As you can see, there are a phenomenal amount of mushrooms out there. And this list only includes edible ones, so it’s important that we emphasise again the importance of only picking and eating what you are sure is safe to pick and eat.

Even some of the edible mushrooms in this list are renowned for causing gastric upset to some people, which is good indication of how careful you need to be.

Eating a mushroom that wasn’t properly identified can lead to illness and even death, so these aren’t to be trifled with.

That said, picking mushrooms with an experienced forager (or, as an experienced forager yourself) is a deeply rewarding pastime.

They are endlessly versatile, often surprisingly delicious, and readily available for much of the year. If you enjoy walking in the woods anyway, keep your eyes peeled next time and see what you can find!

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