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Uncommon Mushroom Species: Discovering the Fascinating World of Rare Fungi

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We generally discuss common and easy-to-find mushrooms here at Mushroomsite, but this article will explore some of the more uncommon mushroom species found in the wild. We will look closer at their unique features, where they can be found, and if they are safe to eat.

These wild mushroom species have unique features that make them stand out from the rest. From the stinkhorn mushroom to the devil’s fingers, many strange and unusual fungi are out there waiting to be discovered.

Whether you’re a seasoned mushroom hunter or just curious about these fascinating organisms, this article will give you a glimpse into the world of wild mushroom species.

Important Disclaimer

Below we’ll give you some tips on identifying various mushroom types. But the information we provide below is only a starting point. NEVER consume any mushroom unless you are absolutely sure of its identity.

Every year people die after consuming poisonous mushrooms. And with some species, just one mushroom is enough to kill you.

If you are new to mushroom foraging, be sure to run your finds by someone who is experienced in foraging for mushrooms.

f you are in the US, Canada, or Mexico, the North America Mycological Association (NAMA) has clubs in many cities and towns, and it is likely that there is a club near you. Visit their website to learn more.

Always carry a good field guide when you are looking for mushrooms. We are currently recommending Mushrooming Without Fear: The Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Safe and Delicious Mushrooms.

If you can find them, two excellent mushroom field guides are the Peterson Field Guide to Mushrooms of North America and the National Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. Both are out of print, but you may be able to find a used copy on Amazon.

Make sure that you know how to identify common poisonous mushrooms in your area, such as destroying angels and death caps, to rule out the possibility of picking one by mistake.

While our articles provide a great overview, please don’t rely solely on the internet or a mushroom identification app to identify a mushroom. This isn’t a subject on which to take shortcuts.

With all that said, here is our overview of some uncommon and unusual wild mushrooms.

Uncommon Mushroom Species

Red Pine Mushroom (Lactarius deliciosus)

Red Pine Mushroom
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81254

The red pine mushroom, also known as Lactarius deliciosus, is a popular and edible mushroom species. It is a member of the large milk-cap genus Lactarius in the order Russulales. The mushroom is native to Europe has traveled to other countries along with pine trees, with which the fungus is symbiotic.

Red Pine Mushrooms can be identified by their vase-shaped body, orange and green cap with circles, and orange liquid called latex. They grow in pine forests and mixed forests all over Europe, and can be found under conifers, especially in pine plantations. They are one of the best-known members of the large milk-cap genus Lactarius in the order Russulales.

Red Pine Mushrooms are known for their delicious taste, and are a common ingredient in many European dishes. The mushroom is a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Stinkhorn Mushroom (Phallus impudicus)

Phallus impudicus. (2023, February 16).  In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phallus_impudicus

Stinkhorn mushrooms, also known as Phallus impudicus, are a fungus belonging to the Phallaceae family. These mushrooms are recognizable for their phallic shape and foul odor. They are commonly found in coniferous and broadleaf woodlands and gardens and are associated with rotting wood.

The stinkhorn mushroom out as an egg-shaped mushroom that is partially visible above the soil. A the mushroom matures, the full-grown stalk emerges quickly, sometimes within an hour. The cap of the stinkhorn mushroom is bell-shaped and covered with olive-brown slime. The cap has a pitted appearance and a distinct odor that is often compared to the smell of rotting flesh or carrion.

Stinkhorn mushrooms are widespread and can be found in many parts of the world. They are most commonly found in Europe, Asia, and North America. These mushrooms tend to prefer moist and humid environments, often growing in shaded areas.

While stinkhorn mushrooms are not deadly, they are not typically consumed due to their unpleasant odor and taste. Additionally, some species of stinkhorn mushrooms contain toxins that can cause gastrointestinal distress if ingested. Therefore, it is generally recommended to avoid consuming stinkhorn mushrooms.

Cauliflower Mushroom (Sparassis spathulata)

Cauliflower Mushroom
voir ci-dessous / see below, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Cauliflower mushrooms, also known as Sparassis spathulata, are highly sought after by mushroom hunters and foragers. They are commonly found in the eastern and central regions of North America and parts of Europe and Asia.

These mushrooms are easily recognizable due to their unique shape and appearance. They have a large, round, frilly body resembling a cauliflower or brain. The fruiting body can grow up to 10 inches in diameter and can weigh up to 2 pounds. The color of the mushroom can vary from white to yellowish-brown.

They typically grow on the ground near the base of coniferous trees, such as pine, spruce, and fir. They prefer cool and damp environments and can often be found in areas with high humidity, such as in the understory of forests.

These mushrooms are highly valued for their delicious taste and meaty texture. They are often used in soups, stews, and stir-fries and can also be sautéed or roasted. However, it is important to note that some people may have an allergic reaction to cauliflower mushrooms, so if you want to try them, start with a small quantity.

Witch’s Butter Mushroom (Tremella mesenterica)

Witch's Butter Mushroom

Witch’s Butter Mushroom, also known as Tremella mesenterica, is a common jelly fungus belonging to the Tremellaceae family. It is widely distributed in temperate and tropical regions across the globe, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. The fungus is often found on dead branches.

The gelatinous, orange-yellow fruiting body of the Witch’s Butter Mushroom can grow up to 7 cm across.

Witch’s Butter Mushroom is edible, although it is considered bland and flavorless. Due to its jelly-like consistency, it is sometimes used in soups, stews, and other dishes as a thickening agent.

Caesar’s Mushroom (Amanita caesarea)

Caesar’s Mushroom, also known as Amanita caesarea, is a highly sought-after edible mushroom that has been a favorite of early rulers of the Roman Empire. This mushroom is native to southern Europe and North Africa and is highly regarded for its flavor and texture.

The cap of Caesar’s Mushroom is usually between 8-20 cm in diameter and is a bright red to dull orange or yellow color. The cap is smooth and slightly sticky when moist. The stem is usually white or yellow. The gills are white and crowded, and the spores are white.

This mushroom is highly prized for its flavor and texture and is considered one of the best-tasting edible mushrooms. However, it is important to note that some of the most toxic mushrooms in the world are in the Amanita family, so this mushroom is not for beginners. It is essential to forage for them with someone who is experienced.

Indigo Milk Cap (Lactarius indigo)

The Indigo Milk Cap is a species of agaric fungus in the family Russulaceae. They grow in eastern North America, East Asia, and parts of Europe. They are also known as blue milk mushrooms or simply the indigo mushroom.

They are strikingly beautiful mushrooms with their deep blue color.

The cap of the mushroom is convex, becoming flat with a depression in the center as it matures.

It can grow up to 15 cm in diameter. The stem is similarly colored, with a bluish-gray hue, and can grow up to 8 cm long and 2 cm wide.

The gills are crowded, narrow, and the same color as the cap.

It prefers to grow in deciduous and coniferous forests, often near oak, beech, and pine trees.

The Indigo Milk Cap is edible, but it is not considered a choice mushroom due to its slightly bitter taste.

It is used in traditional medicine in some cultures and has been studied for its potential health benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Amethyst Deceiver (Laccaria amethystina)

The Amethyst Deceiver is a small, brightly colored mushroom that can be found in deciduous and coniferous forests. It is known for its vibrant amethyst color, which fades with age and weathering, making it difficult to identify. The cap of the mushroom is typically between 1-6cm in diameter, while the stem height ranges from 4-10cm.

Despite its striking appearance, the Amethyst Deceiver is not considered a rare species and can be found in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia. It is most commonly found in Northern temperate zones, growing in the leaf litter of woodlands during late summer and autumn.

While the Amethyst Deceiver is edible, it looks similar to the poisonous Lilac Fibrecap and should only be consumed by experienced mushroom hunters. Additionally, the mushroom can absorb arsenic from the soil, which can be harmful in large quantities.

Devil’s Tooth Mushroom (Hydnellum Peckii)

The devil’s tooth is a unique and uncommon mushroom species that belongs to the genus Hydnellum of the family Bankeraceae. This mushroom is found in North America and Europe, and has also been found in Iran and Korea.

The fruiting body of Hydnellum Peckii is funnel-shaped, with a white edge. The shape can be highly variable, and the cap can range in color from pale yellow to brown. The mushroom produces spores on vertical spines or tooth-like projections that hang from the undersurface of the fruit bodies. Young, moist fruit bodies can “bleed” bright red guttation droplets that contain a pigment known to have anticoagulant properties similar to heparin.

Devil’s tooths are considered inedible. They are not poisonous but have a bitter taste that makes them unpalatable for most people. Additionally, the mushroom’s red guttation droplets contain a pigment that can cause mild skin irritation in some individuals.

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