Field Guide

Mushrooms

Showing 1 - 10 of 99 results
Media
Several cedar-apple rust galls, with inflated telial horns, hanging from a cedar tree
Species Types
Scientific Name
Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae
Description
With their gelatinous orange tentacles, cedar-apple rust galls are one of Missouri’s freakiest sights in spring. Cedar-apple rust is a fungus with a two-part life cycle. Its two unrelated host plants are a juniper, such as eastern red cedar, and a tree in the rose family, especially apple and crabapple.
Media
Photo of earthstars, ball mushrooms with starlike rays, on forest floor
Species Types
Scientific Name
Geastrum species
Description
An earthstar is a roundish ball in the center of starlike rays. It grows on the ground in open woods.
Media
Photograph of a black morel mushroom
Species Types
Scientific Name
Morchella angusticeps (formerly M. elata)
Description
The black morel is a prized edible mushroom. It has a honeycombed cap with black to brownish black ridges and yellowish brown pits. It is completely hollow and grows in the spring.
Media
Photo of two gigantic red false morels, cut and laying on a ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Gyromitra caroliniana
Description
The big red false morel belongs to a group of poisonous mushrooms. It has a reddish brown, convoluted, brainlike cap and a whitish stalk that is chambered inside. It grows singly or in groups in mixed woods.
Media
Photo of gabled false morel, a floppy, orange club fungus
Species Types
Scientific Name
Gyromitra brunnea
Description
The gabled false morel has a reddish brown, lobed, wrinkled cap and a whitish stalk that is chambered inside, not hollow. It grows singly or in groups in mixed woods.
Media
Photo of common morels growing on forest floor
Species Types
Scientific Name
Morchella species
Description
Favorites among Missouri wild edibles, true morels only appear in the spring. They're very hard to see, but that's part of the fun of hunting them. Learn to identify them, and you can enjoy the hunt, too.
Media
Photograph of a half-free morel mushroom
Species Types
Scientific Name
Morchella punctipes (formerly M. semilibera)
Description
The half-free morel is an excellent edible mushroom. It's completely hollow. It has a honeycombed cap with brownish black ridges and yellowish brown pits. The bottom half hangs free from the whitish stalk.
Media
Photo of common morels growing on forest floor
Species Types
Scientific Name
Morchella esculentoides (formerly M. esculenta)
Description
The yellow morel is a choice edible mushroom. It has a honeycombed cap with yellow to grayish to tan ridges and pits. It is completely hollow and grows in the spring.
Media
Photo of wolf's-milk slime, a small pinkish rounded slime mold
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lycogala epidendrum
Description
Wolf's-milk slime looks like little, round, reddish pink balls that exude a pinkish gray paste when popped. It grows in groups on dead wood, especially large logs. It's not really a mushroom!
Media
Photo of wood ear mushroom, which looks like a brownish human ear stuck to a log
Species Types
Scientific Name
Auricularia auricula (formerly A. auricula-judae)
Description
The wood ear is a reddish brown to grayish black, rubbery, earlike or cup-shaped mushroom. It usually grows in groups on rotting wood.
See Also
Media
Photo of several pinesap plants showing multiple flowers per stalk.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Monotropa hypopitys
Description
Pinesap is a plant that puts the "wild" in wildflower! It lacks chlorophyll, so its roots connect to fungi underground and absorb nutrients from the fungi.
Media
Picture of a patch of filamentous green algae floating in a stream.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cladophora, Pithophora, and Spirogyra spp., and others
Description
Filamentous green algae forms green, cottony masses that are free-floating or attached to rocks, debris, or other plants.
Media
Photo of several Indian pipe plants with flowers, rising out of leaf litter.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Monotropa uniflora
Description
Indian pipe lacks chlorophyll, so it is white, not green. Below ground, its roots join with fungi that connect to tree roots. This plant, then, takes nourishment indirectly from the trees.

About Mushrooms in Missouri

Mushrooms are a lot like plants, but they lack chlorophyll and have to take nutrients from other materials. Mushrooms are neither plants nor animals. They are in a different kingdom — the fungi. Fungi include the familiar mushroom-forming species, plus the yeasts, molds, smuts, and rusts.

Always be cautious when eating edible mushrooms. Be absolutely sure of the ID, and only eat a small amount the first time you try it to avoid a reaction..