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Mushroom misidentification can lead to serious health risks. Always ensure compliance with local foraging laws, including regulations in national and state parks and other government-managed areas.

10 Mushrooms in Hawaii (Edible & Toxic)

Beautiful beaches, verdant jungles, and exotic animals may first come to mind when thinking of Hawaii, but the islands also boast an incredible diversity of mushrooms. From the rare and elusive to the delicious and dangerous, mushrooms in Hawaii is a fascinating topic for mycology enthusiasts and curious travelers alike. However, while there are plenty of edible species, others can be extremely poisonous and endanger your health if you eat them. 

In this article, we’ll look at some of the state’s mushroom species and learn how to identify them.

10 Mushrooms in Hawaii

This list of mushrooms in Hawaii showcases a diverse range of fungi that inhabit the islands, each with its own distinct characteristics and ecological roles. Always remember to exercise caution and avoid consumption unless you are well-versed in mushroom identification.

1. Milky conecap 

Milky conecap 
Milky conecap  | image by Clump via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific name: Conocybe lactea
  • Average size: 0.8 to 1.5 cm in diameter
  • Color: milky white
  • Can be found: lawns, golf courses, parks and dune slacks
  • Edible: No

The milky conecap is a type of mushroom common in Hawaii’s hot and humid climate, where it can be found growing in areas with grass, dead moss, mulch, and decaying wood. This fungus grows in patches of short green grass on North American and European continents. 

The mushroom gets its name from its cap, which is often milky and shaped like a cone. Milky Conecaps are toxic and shouldn’t be eaten by anyone. 

2. False parasol 

False parasol
False parasol | image by David Eickhoff via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Chlorophyllum molybdites
  • Average size: 10 to 27 cm 
  • Color: white with light brown patches
  • Can be found: lawns and grassy areas
  • Edible: No

The false parasol mushroom is a widespread species that can be found just about anywhere, including Hawaii. It appears after rain and flourishes in damp grassy areas such as lawns, gardens, and parks.

The stem of this mushroom is thick and white, and the cap is a large shade of white with brownish patches. The false parasol mushroom is so named because it looks like the edible parasol mushroom but is actually poisonous.

It’s critical to tell it apart from the safe, edible parasol mushroom and never put it in your mouth. The spore print of a true parasol is white to cream in color, while that of a false parasol is greenish. 

3. Almond mushroom

Almond mushroom
Almond mushroom | image by Nathan Wilson via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Scientific name: Agaricus subrufescens
  • Average size: 2 to 10 cm in diameter
  • Color: brownish
  • Can be found: on ground, usually in leaf litter and disturbed land
  • Edible: Yes

The Almond Mushroom is a type of edible mushroom that’s native to North America and is grown commercially in warm, humid climates such as Hawaii because of its distinctive almond aroma. This mushroom, which is grown in enriched compost substrates, has a cream-colored cap, tightly packed gills, and a thick stem. 

Almond mushrooms are prized for their culinary and medicinal properties, which are used to treat hepatitis, diabetes, dermatitis, and high cholesterol. 

4. Straw mushroom 

Straw mushroom 
Straw mushroom  | image by Len Worthington via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Volvariella volvacea
  • Average size: 5 to 12 cm in diameter
  • Color: dark gray to silvery-white
  • Can be found: agricultural wastes such as rice straw
  • Edible: Yes 

Originally from Asia, the edible Straw Mushroom prefers warm, humid climates like those found in Hawaii. The name comes from the fact that the plant is commonly grown in rice straw. The center of the conical cap on this mushroom is dark gray in color and turns white towards the edges. 

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Straw mushrooms are prized for their culinary versatility, high nutritional value, and neutral flavor. It’s cultivated in controlled environments in Hawaii and is a popular ingredient in local and Asian-inspired cuisine.

5. Sulphur tuft 

Sulphur tuft 
Sulphur tuft  | image by Bernard Spragg. NZ via Flickr
  • Scientific name: Hypholoma fasciculare
  • Average size: up to 10 cm
  • Color: sulfur yellow, but redder or browner in the center
  • Can be found: stumps, fallen trunks, and other dead parts of broad-leaf trees
  • Edible: No

Hawai’i is just one of many places where you can find the poisonous Sulphur Tuft mushroom. It has a sulfur-yellow cap that becomes lighter towards the edges and thrives in woodlands and decaying wood. 

This mushroom grows in dense clusters, with gills that change from yellow to greenish-gray as it matures. Though toxic and inedible, Sulphur Tuft gets its name from its vibrant color and the tufted pattern in which it grows. 

6. Elegant stinkhorn 

Elegant stinkhorn
Elegant stinkhorn | image by Tyler Wright via Flickr
  • Scientific name: Mutinus elegans
  • Average size: up to 17 cm in height
  • Color: orange or pink
  • Can be found: decaying wood, leaf litter, and mulch piles; in natural settings like forests and fields
  • Edible: Yes, but with caution

The elegant stinkhorn is a distinctive fungus that grows in moist, wooded areas. It’s easily identified by its slender, pinkish-orange stalk that gradually tapers off into a slimy tip that emits an unpleasant odor. 

While not toxic, the mature form of this plant is generally avoided because of its foul smell and texture. But the early stage of this mushroom doesn’t smell bad, so it can be eaten at that time. 

7. Marbled Death Cap 

Marbled death cap 
Marbled death cap  | image by hazelvalerie via iNaturalist | CC BY 4.0
  • Scientific name: Amanita marmorata
  • Average size: 10 to 15 cm in diameter
  • Color: white, grayish or brownish
  • Can be found: roots of trees
  • Edible: No 

Although it’s more common in Australia, the Marbled Death Cap is one of the most poisonous mushrooms you can find in Hawaii. It’s found in all eight Hawaiian islands, where it thrives in wet forests by forming a symbiotic mycorrhizal relationship with tree roots. 

This mushroom has a marbled white and brown cap and is highly poisonous and shouldn’t be consumed. It gets its name from the marbled appearance of the cap and its deadly nature, making it a dangerous yet visually appealing fungus.

8. Plantpot dapperling 

Plantpot dapperling 
Plantpot dapperling  | image by L Church via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Leucocoprinus birnbaumii
  • Average size: 2 to 7.5 cm in diameter
  • Color: lemon yellow to sulfur yellow
  • Can be found: tropics and subtropics, on very decayed plant matter
  • Edible: No

The Plantpot Dapperling is a small, brightly colored, and inedible mushroom found in a variety of regions, including Hawaii. It prefers warm, moist conditions and is frequently found in greenhouses, indoor potted plants, and organic soils. 

This mushroom features a vivid yellow cap with a scaly texture. It’s also considered toxic and inedible, as it can cause gastrointestinal distress. 

9. Harefoot mushroom 

Harefoot mushroom 
Harefoot mushroom  | image by Scot Nelson via Flickr
  • Scientific name: Coprinus lagopus
  • Average size: 1 to 3 cm in diameter
  • Color: whitish to silvery gray
  • Can be found: soil, wood chips, compost heaps, vegetable refuse, dung
  • Edible: No

The harefoot mushroom is a small, inky cap mushroom with a short lifespan. It thrives on rotting wood or other organic matter rich in nutrients and can grow singly or in clusters. As it develops, the edges of its gills quickly dissolve into a dark, inky liquid. 

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The name “Harefoot” refers to the fine, fur-like hairs resembling a hare’s foot, giving this fungus a distinct appearance.

10. Gray shag  

  • Scientific name: Coprinus cinereus 
  • Average size: 2 to 3 cm in diameter
  • Color: grayish brown 
  • Can be found: Compost piles or wood chips
  • Edible: Yes, but must be consumed promptly after collecting

One of the species that’s native to North America is called the Gray Shag Mushroom, which has also been spotted in Hawaii. This type of mushroom is most likely to flourish in decaying forests, though it can also grow in dung and rotting plant matter. 

They can be identified by their grayish color and gills that liquefy as they mature. Gray Shag mushrooms can be eaten, but they need to be cooked quickly after harvesting to prevent them from liquefying.