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13 Mushrooms in Kansas (With Pictures)

Most people may not immediately think of mushrooms when they think of Kansas. However, there is a wide range of mushrooms in Kansas just waiting to be discovered. From the savory and succulent morels to the delicate and delicious oyster mushrooms, Kansas has a diverse and fascinating array of mushrooms prized by foragers and food lovers alike. 

13 Mushrooms in Kansas

In the following list we’ll look at some of the most common Kansas mushrooms, including where to find them and whether or not they’re edible. 

1. Brain Puffball 

Brain puffball mushroom
Brain puffball mushroom | image by Sid Mosdell via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Calvatia craniiformis
  • Average size: 8 to 20 cm 
  • Color: Bright white
  • Can be found: lawns and ditches 
  • Edible: Yes

The Brain Puffball is a type of edible mushroom that grows in Kansas and is notable for its large size (up to 20 centimeters in diameter) and brain-like, convoluted surface. You can find them flourishing in fields and other grassy areas from March to November.

Brain Puffballs have a mild flavor and a tender texture when they’re young and still white. Just make sure there aren’t any traces of yellow or brown inside. 

2. The Vomiter

The vomiter mushrooms
The vomiter mushrooms | image by Scot Nelson via Flickr
  • 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

Kansas is home to a number of poisonous mushrooms, including the Vomiter, also known as the Green Spored Parasol. From June to October, you can find them in most lawns, meadows, and other grassy areas, and eating them can lead to severe gastrointestinal distress like vomiting and diarrhea.

The caps of these fungi are typically large and white, but as these fungi age, they develop scales of a brown or pinkish-brown color. 

3. 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 Carolina False Morel is the most common type of false morel found in Kansas, and it tends to appear just before or on the verge of the morel season’s official start. These deceptive fungi are distinguished by their brown caps and wrinkled surface, which resemble the highly prized true morels. Carolina False Morels are easily confused with true morels, so it’s important to use caution and be proficient at identifying mushrooms before foraging.

4. Shaggy Mane

Shaggy mane mushroom
Shaggy mane mushroom | image by Bernard Spragg. NZ via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Coprinus comatus
  • Average size: 3 to 15 cm in diameter
  • Color: whitish
  • Can be found: yards, woodchips, hard-packed dirt and freshly disturbed ground
  • Edible: Yes, with caution

These fungi, known as the shaggy mane, get their name from the fuzzy appearance of their fruiting bodies. The caps of these species are long and cylindrical and covered in white fuzz, but as these fungi age, they turn black and dissolve into an inky liquid.

These mushrooms flourish from spring to autumn in places like disturbed soil, lawns, and roadside ditches. Shaggy manes are considered a culinary delicacy when harvested young before they turn inky. 

5. Oyster mushroom

Oyster mushroom
An 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
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Oyster mushrooms are another popular culinary ingredient native to the state. These mushrooms have white, gray, or brown fan-shaped caps that resemble oysters, hence the name.

Oyster mushrooms are one of the indicators that the tree’s health is deteriorating as they grow in clusters on dead hardwood trees. They can be found all year in the state, mostly in the Kansas River watershed.

6. Fairy Ring Mushroom

Fairy ring mushroom
Fairy ring mushroom | image by Dick Culbert via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Marasmius oreades
  • Average size: 3 to 5 cm 
  • Color: buff
  • Can be found: grassy areas, lawns, meadows
  • Edible: Yes

The Fairy Ring Mushroom is a type of edible fungus defined by its small, buff-colored, convex caps and tough, slender stems. Their peculiar growth habit, which results in rings of grassy areas in the shape of arcs or circles, inspired the belief that fairies danced there in the dark, hence their name. You can find fairy ring mushrooms in lawns, meadows, and other grassy areas from April to October. 

7. Velvet Foot

Velvet foot mushrooms cluster
Velvet foot mushrooms cluster | image by Bernard Spragg. NZ via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Flammulina velutipes
  • Average size: 2 to 10 cm in diameter
  • Color: reddish-brown to tawny
  • Can be found: dead stumps and trunks of deciduous trees
  • Edible: Yes

Kansas is home to various edible mushrooms, including the velvet foot, which you can find in dead hardwood trees. They can appear to be terrestrial, growing out of the ground, but are actually attached to wood that has been buried. These fungi have either brownish or tawny caps and tend to grow between January and April, as well as between October and December. 

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 edible fungi known as honey mushrooms get their name from the color of their caps, which resembles honey. You can find clusters of these mushrooms at the bases of both living and decaying trees in late summer and early fall.

They can also be parasitic on certain trees, causing diseases as they attach to them. The mild sweetness of honey mushrooms makes them a desirable ingredient in many dishes. 

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

Morel mushrooms are among the most popular edible fungi worldwide. Their distinctive honeycomb-patterned caps and hollow centers set them apart from other mushroom varieties.

The months of April and May are prime times for finding morels in the deciduous forests of Kansas, and these mushrooms are used in many gourmet dishes due to their robust earthy flavor. However, collectors should be cautious because they can easily be mistaken for toxic false morels. 

10. 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 mushroom is a type of mushroom that you can find in grassy areas across Kansas. It’s a type of edible fungus distinguished by its caps ranging in color from white to light brown, gills that are a pinkish-brown hue, and thick stems. They got their name from the habitat in which they thrive best, which are grassy areas and meadows, and you can typically spot them anywhere in the state from March to October.  

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11. Ash Tree Bolete 

Ash tree bolete mushroom
An ash tree bolete mushroom | image by Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Boletinellus merulioides
  • Average size: 5 to 20 cm in diameter
  • Color: dark brown to reddish brown
  • Can be found: under ash trees
  • Edible: Yes

Ash Tree Bolete is a distinct-looking fungus with grayish-brown caps with a wrinkled, net-like pattern and sponge-like pores instead of gills. They get their name because they thrive in close proximity to ash trees and share a symbiotic relationship with the leaf curl ash aphid. The Ash Tree Bolete can typically be found in forests and other areas that contain ash trees from the end of summer until the beginning of fall. 

12. Hygrophorus Milky

Hygrophorus milky mushrooms
Hygrophorus milky mushrooms | image by Under the same moon… via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Lactarius hygrophoroides
  • Average size: 3 to 10 cm in diameter
  • Color: dull orange to cinnamon orange
  • Can be found: under hardwoods but prefers oak trees
  • Edible: Yes

The Hygrophorus Milky gets its name from the milky fluid it secretes when cut. The caps of these mushrooms are a bright orange color, and the gills are white. They’re also mycorrhizal, which means they form symbiotic relationships with hardwoods, but prefer oak trees.

The flavor of hygrophorus milky mushrooms is subtle and pleasant, making them a versatile ingredient.

13. Blusher

Blusher mushroom
A 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: pale brown to pink
  • Can be found: coniferous and deciduous forests
  • Edible: Yes, but should be eaten after 15-20 minutes of heat treatment

Blusher mushrooms are an edible fungus found in Kansas, identified by their pale brown caps that develop reddish tones as they mature. This fungus also got its name from the reddish blush that appears when the flesh is bruised or cut. You can find blusher mushrooms in the wild from May to October, and they’re most commonly found in deciduous and mixed forests.

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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.