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10 Types of Mushrooms Found in Idaho (Photos)

The state of Idaho is well-known for its beautiful landscapes, abundant wildlife, and untamed wilderness. But among these things are the thriving mushroom species that can be discovered within the state. The prized morel and the vibrant fly amanitas are just two of the many mushrooms in Idaho, thanks to its special climate and topography. 

10 Mushrooms in Idaho

Whether you’re a mushroom enthusiast or just curious about the fascinating world of mycology, any Idaho resident or visitor should enjoy this list of mushrooms in Idaho. 

1. King Bolete 

King bolete mushroom 
King bolete mushroom  | Image by Pexels from Pixabay
  • Scientific Name: Boletus edulis
  • Average size: 10 to 30 cm in diameter
  • Color: light red or brown
  • Can be found: beneath trees, notably beech and birch
  • Edible: Yes

The King Bolete is a magnificent mushroom with a huge cap that can reach a diameter of 30 centimeters. The mushroom is easily distinguished from others by its thick, bulbous stem and the sponge-like pores under the cap. 

King Boletes are common in Idaho’s coniferous and deciduous forests, and they thrive in areas with plenty of sphagnum moss. The prized edible mushroom has a rich, earthy flavor and is a forager’s delight.

2. Black Chanterelles

Black chanterelles mushrooms
Black chanterelles mushrooms | image by denAsuncioner via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Craterellus cornucopioides
  • Average size: 5 to 7 cm in diameter
  • Color: Black to dark gray
  • Can be found: deciduous forests under Beech trees
  • Edible: Yes

With their dark gray to black trumpet-shaped caps that measure 5 to 7 cm in diameter, black chanterelles are both mysterious and alluring. The caps are hollow, and the wavelike edges give them an interesting and distinctive appearance. 

These mushrooms can be found growing in mixed forests all over the state of Idaho, and they frequently do so in close proximity to decomposing wood or moss. Because of their earthy and slightly smoky flavor, Black Chanterelles are a highly prized delicacy in the culinary world.

3. White King Bolete

White king bolete mushroom
White king bolete mushroom | image by Katja Schulz via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Boletus barrowsii
  • Average size: 6 to 25 cm 
  • Color: white 
  • Can be found: under ponderosa pine and coast live oak 
  • Edible: Yes

One of the edible fungi that can be found in western North America is called white king bolete. It has a concave shape with thick, white flesh and pores that are whitish in coloration. 

In the autumn, it can be found abundantly under ponderosa pine and live oak, and it’s only found in the warmer parts of its range. In addition, the species is edible and is held in very high regard in the states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado.

4. Blue oyster

Blue oyster mushrooms
Blue oyster mushrooms | image by U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Pleurotus columbinus
  • Average size: 2 to 30 cm in diameter
  • Color: bluish-gray
  • Can be found: logs, stumps, and decaying trees
  • Edible: Yes

The Blue Oyster mushroom attracts attention with its blue-gray, fan-shaped caps that can grow to be 2 to 30 cm in diameter. Clusters of these fungi can be seen growing on the decaying wood of deciduous trees, most noticeably on logs and stumps. 

Their soft texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor make these mushrooms a favorite among foragers and chefs, and they thrive in the forests of Idaho. The mushroom also has an anise-like, slightly metallic flavor and an aroma that’s reminiscent of the ocean. 

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5. Bear’s head

  • Scientific Name: Hericium abietis
  • Average size: 15 to 30 cm in diameter
  • Color: cream white
  • Can be found: conifer stumps or logs
  • Edible: Yes 

The Bear’s Head mushroom is an unusual fungus that grows in shades of white and cream and looks like a cascade of icicles. In Idaho, you can find these mushrooms on hardwood trees, specifically on decaying wood. 

Even their initial discovery was in Idaho, close to the Priest River. The Bear’s Head mushroom’s striking appearance adds a touch of whimsy to the forest floor, and its soft, tender flesh has a flavor similar to that of fish.

6. Lion’s mane 

Lion’s mane
A lion’s mane | image by candiru via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Hericium erinaceus
  • Average size: 10 – 25 cm
  • Color: white
  • Can be found: wood of dead or dying deciduous trees
  • Edible: Yes

Lion’s mane mushroom is an edible mushroom belonging to the tooth fungus family. Its long spines, presence on hardwoods, and tendency to grow a single clump of dangling spines make it easy to recognize this species, which is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. The fruit bodies can be harvested for culinary use, and its flavor may be compared to that of lobster. 

It can be found in the state of Idaho and is widely produced across Asia, typically through extensive production practices on wood logs or stumps, and is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. 

7. Fly Amanitas

Fly amanita mushrooms
Fly amanita mushrooms | image by Bernard Spragg. NZ via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Amanita muscaria
  • Average size: up to 20 cm in height
  • Color: red with white spots
  • Can be found: woodland and heathland 
  • Edible: No

The Fly Amanita is a species of mushroom that immediately stands out due to its bright red cap and white spots. Typically found in a mycorrhizal relationship with coniferous trees like pines, spruces, and firs, this mushroom is a stunning sight in the coniferous and deciduous forests of Idaho. 

Despite its attractive appearance, this mushroom is poisonous due to the presence of strong psychoactive compounds and shouldn’t be consumed. Its fantastical features have made it a cultural icon associated with fables and legends.

8. White elm

  • Scientific Name: Hypsizygus ulmarius
  • Average size: 6 to 15 cm in diameter
  • Color: white to buff, cream or tan
  • Can be found: wounds of living hardwoods, particularly elm and boxelder
  • Edible: Yes 

The White Elm mushroom has a delicate texture and ranges in color from white to cream, and it can grow to be anywhere from 6 to 15 centimeters in diameter. Elm trees in Idaho, whether they’re alive or dead, are the typical hosts for this fungus, and it frequently appears in clusters. 

The White Elm mushroom is highly sought after due to its versatility as an ingredient, as it can be used in a wide variety of dishes due to its firm, chewy consistency, and mild, nutty flavor. 

9. Morel 

Yellow morel
Yellow morel | image by GLJIVARSKO DRUSTVO NIS via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Morchella esculenta
  • Average size: 2 to 7 cm in diameter
  • Color: light cream to gray to yellowish-brown
  • Can be found: moist woodlands and in river bottoms
  • Edible: Yes

Due to its anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory bioactivities, immunostimulatory, and anti-tumor properties, the morel mushroom is a highly sought-after fungus. These fungi thrive in Idaho’s sandy river banks, which are densely forested with hardwood trees, as well as high-elevation conifer forests. 

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The true morel is edible and safe to eat after proper cooking, but it must be carefully identified to avoid eating the poisonous false morel.

10. Lobster

Lobster mushroom  
Lobster mushroom   | image by Under the same moon… via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Hypomyces lactifluorum
  • Average size: 15 to 20 cm in diameter
  • Color: bright orange-red
  • Can be found: conifer forests
  • Edible: Yes

The unique and fascinating lobster mushroom can be found in the diverse forests of Idaho. This peculiar mushroom is a parasitic ascomycete fungus that takes over and changes its host’s fruiting bodies, typically the Russula or Lactarius species. 

The resulting mushroom has a bright orange-red color and a firm, dense texture similar to cooked lobster meat. To avoid harmful effects, it’s critical to understand what type of host these mushrooms have before consuming them. 

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About Louise Robles

Louise writes about a wide variety of topics including wildlife, animals, and nature. She's developed a growing interest in animal biology and categorization due to her fascination with how they interact with one another and with their surroundings.