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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.

12 Kinds of Mushrooms in Illinois (With Pictures)

Illinois is home to a wide variety of mushrooms, each with its own unique characteristics. From the delectable morels to the elusive chanterelles, there are many different types of mushrooms in Illinois that are both delicious and intriguing. Mushrooms are delicious and nutritious, but finding them can be difficult if you aren’t familiar with the area. 

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common mushrooms found in the state, as well as the characteristics that can help you identify them. 

12 Mushrooms in Illinois

From the oyster mushroom to the false morel, there are many mushrooms with diverse appearances, flavors, and habitats found throughout the state of Illinois. This helpful list highlights twelve such species, including their unique features and whether they are edible or poisonous.

1. Oyster mushroom

Oyster mushroom
Oyster mushroom | image by Bernard Spragg. NZ via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Pleurotus ostreatus
  • Average size: 5 to 25 cm in diameter
  • Color: white, gray or yellow-gray
  • Can be found: logs and dead standing trees
  • Edible: Yes

The Oyster mushrooms are a type of edible fungus that is widely cultivated and are known for their distinctive appearance and subtle flavor. These mushrooms have a cap shaped like a fan or an oyster and typically range in diameter from 5 to 25 centimeters. 

The cap can be various shades of white, gray, or brown, and it grows in clusters on dead or decaying hardwood trees like oak, beech, and maple. 

2. Hen-of-the-woods  

Hen of the woods mushroom
Hen of the woods mushroom | image by Eric Huybrechts via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Grifola frondosa
  • Average size: 2 to 7 cm in diameter
  • Color: dark gray to brown
  • Can be found: base of oak trees
  • Edible: Yes

One of the types of mushrooms that can be found in the state of Illinois is called hen-of-the-woods, and it’s an edible mushroom that’s extremely popular due to its one-of-a-kind appearance and rich flavor. This fungus produces large, clustered fruiting bodies that are composed of multiple fan-shaped caps that overlap one another and have a texture similar to suede.

The caps can range in color from gray to brown and are most frequently found at the base of hardwood trees, particularly oaks, and maples. 

3. Giant puffball

Giant puffball mushroom 
Giant puffball mushroom  | image by Peter O’Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Calvatia gigantea
  • Average size: 10 to 70 cm 
  • Color: white to cream
  • Can be found: under small stands of trees, and around forest openings 
  • Edible: Yes

The giant puffball mushroom is a fascinating and edible type of fungus that stands out for its enormous size and round shape. These mushrooms can be as small as a softball or as large as two feet in diameter, and their outer surface is typically white but can turn yellow or brown as they age. 

The inside of the puffball is initially firm and white, and giant puffballs can be found in grassy areas in Illinois, with spores produced from late summer to fall

4. Meadow Mushroom 

Meadow mushroom
Meadow mushroom | image by Dr. Hans-Günter Wagner via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Agaricus campestris
  • Average size: 5 to 12 cm in diameter
  • Color: Whitish
  • Can be found: fields, pastures, gardens, and parks
  • Edible: Yes

The Meadow mushrooms, also called field mushrooms, are a type of edible fungi that are highly prized for their mild flavor, which is comparable to that of the white button mushroom. It can also be found after a late summer rainstorm in fields and grassy areas across the state of Illinois. 

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They have a hemispherical cap that flattens as they age, and their closely spaced gills are pink when young and brown when the mushroom has matured and released its spores. 

5. Two-Colored Bolete

Two-colored bolete mushrooms
Two-colored bolete mushrooms | image by Charles de Mille-Isles via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Hericium abietis
  • Average size: 1 to 3 cm in diameter
  • Color: red and yellow
  • Can be found: under or close to broad-leaved trees
  • Edible: Yes, but not recommended

The Two-Colored Bolete, or red and yellow bolete, is a type of mushroom that stands out due to its unusual coloring. This bicolored species begins its appearance as a vivid red or reddish-orange and gradually fades to a bright yellow.

Instead of gills, it has a yellow pore surface that bruises blue when touched or damaged. You can find two-toned boletes in deciduous and mixed forests from summer into early fall, typically near oak trees. 

6. Lion’s mane 

Lion’s mane
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

The Lion’s mane is a unique and edible mushroom known for its distinctive appearance and potential health benefits. This type of fungus has spines that hang down in a cascading fashion like icicles, giving it the appearance of being shaggy and hairy, like a lion’s mane.

It has a tender texture and a range of colors from white to cream. The lion’s mane mushroom is found in the late summer and fall, typically on dead or dying hardwood trees like oak and beech. 

7. Blusher

Blusher mushroom
Blusher mushroom | image by Katja Schulz via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Amanita rubescens
  • Average size: 4 to 16 cm in diameter
  • Color: pink to gray
  • Can be found: coniferous and deciduous forests
  • Edible: Yes, but should be eaten after 15-20 minutes of heat treatment

A type of fungus known as the blusher mushroom is distinguished by its distinctive appearance and pink blush. The Blusher has a funnel-shaped cap that’s usually 4 – 16 cm in diameter and is tan or beige in color with reddish-pink patches or spots as it matures.

Blusher mushrooms usually form a symbiotic relationship with the host tree and can be found in deciduous and mixed forests, particularly in the vicinity of oak and pine trees. 

8. Honey Mushrooms

Honey mushrooms
Honey mushrooms | image by gailhampshire via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Armillaria mellea
  • Average size: 3 to 15 cm in diameter
  • Color: Honey-colored
  • Can be found: bases of trees or stumps, especially oaks, and over buried wood
  • Edible: Yes 

The Honey mushrooms are a type of edible fungi that are prized for their distinctive appearance and mild, sweet taste. They can range in color from a yellowish brown to a dark brown or honey brown, and their caps can be convex or flat. 

One of the ways in which it differs from other Armillaria species is the presence of a pale yellowish ring around its stem. Honey mushrooms are common around oak tree stumps, decaying wood, and over buried wood. 

9. Morel 

Mushroom morel
Mushroom morel
  • 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

Morel mushrooms are highly prized edible fungi known for their distinct appearance and exquisite flavor. The caps of these mushrooms, which can be either conical or cylindrical in shape, have a honeycombed, sponge-like texture and a range of colors from yellow to gray to brown, depending on the species. 

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Morels can be found in the springtime in Illinois’ deciduous forests, specifically in the vicinity of dead or dying elm, ash, and apple trees. 

10. Fly Agaric

Fly agaric mushrooms
Fly agaric mushrooms
  • Scientific Name: Amanita muscaria
  • Average size: 15 to 20 cm in diameter
  • Color: yellow to orange
  • Can be found: hardwoods and conifers
  • Edible: No

The Fly agaric mushrooms are beautiful but poisonous fungi that appear frequently in folklore and fairy tales. These mushrooms are bright red or orange and have a rounded or convex cap that’s covered in white warts. 

In late summer and early fall, fly agaric mushrooms can be found in both deciduous and coniferous forests, typically near hardwoods and conifers. Though poisonous, their symbiotic relationship with the host tree is crucial to the well-being of the forest.

11. False Morel

False morel mushroom  
False morel mushroom | image by Michael Mortensen via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Gyromitra esculenta
  • Average size: 3 to 12 cm 
  • Color: light brown, chestnut
  • Can be found: coniferous forest, pine forest, mountainous areas
  • Edible: No

The False Morel mushrooms are a group of toxic fungi that can be mistaken for the highly prized true Morels. Like the authentic morel, the cap of these mushrooms is wrinkled, brain-like, or irregularly lobed. In Illinois, False Morels are most commonly discovered in deciduous and mixed forests, particularly those with soil that’s high in silica content. 

While harmful to humans, these organisms help keep their ecosystems healthy by breaking down dead matter and recycling nutrients in their habitat.

12. Smooth Chanterelle

Smooth chanterelle mushrooms
Smooth chanterelle mushrooms
  • Scientific Name: Cantharellus lateritius
  • Average size: 1 to 15 cm in diameter
  • Color: yellow to orange
  • Can be found: deciduous and coniferous forests
  • Edible: Yes

The Smooth chanterelle mushrooms are delicious and sought-after edible fungi prized for their delicate flavor and aroma. The caps of these mushrooms range in color from yellow to orange and have a distinctive funnel shape and wavy edges. Compared to the golden chanterelle, this mushroom has thicker flesh and a smoother surface. 

This species is common in both deciduous and mixed forests, and thrives in the company of oak and other hardwoods. The flavor of this chanterelle is also mild, and the aroma is similar to that of an apricot.