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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.

13 Species of Mushrooms in Maine (Pictures)

In the landscapes of New England, Maine’s forests are like a beautiful tapestry of different kinds of fungi. Foragers, mycologists, and nature enthusiasts have long been captivated by the hidden world of mushrooms in Maine, which can be both delightful and deadly.

13 Mushrooms in Maine

From the bioluminescent glow of Eastern Jack-O-Lanterns to the prized delicacy of Matsutake, Maine’s fungi display an amazing variety of tastes, aromas, and appearances. 

1. Smooth Chanterelle

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

Maine’s lush woodlands are home to the fascinating Smooth Chanterelle mushrooms, which are known for their enticing apricot aroma. These types of fungi thrive in hardwood forests, especially in the vicinity of oak trees.

Like other chanterelles, these mushrooms are visually stunning with their bright yellow-orange color, wavy edges, and vase-like shape. However, smooth chanterelles can be distinguished from other species because the underside is smooth. 

2. Porcini 

Porcini mushroom
Porcini mushroom | image by François CANTE via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Boletus edulis
  • Average size: 10 – 30 cm in diameter
  • Color: light red or brown
  • Can be found: beneath trees, notably beech and birch
  • Edible: Yes

The Porcini, which is also called king bolete, is highly appreciated for its rich and nutty taste. It’s considered a gourmet delicacy that can be found in the diverse ecosystems of Maine.

You’ll see them growing under trees, especially those with conifers and hardwoods. The mushrooms have large, round caps that come in shades of chestnut brown with creamy white and thick stalks. The name of this fungus means “piglets,” and they’re often used to add umami flavor to different foods. 

3. Chicken-of-the-woods

Chicken of the woods
Chicken of the woods | image by pete beard via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Laetiporus sulphureus
  • Average size: 5 – 31 cm 
  • Color: orange and white
  • Can be found: deciduous hardwoods like oaks, ash, elm, and hickory
  • Edible: Yes

The Chicken-of-the-woods is a culinary gem hidden in Maine’s forests that tastes eerily similar to actual chicken. These mushrooms are recognized by their bright yellow-orange hue and their fan-shaped shelves that grow in clusters, overlapping each other. 

These types of fungi typically thrive on hardwood trees that are either dead or in the process of dying, with a preference for oak, ash, elm, and hickory trees. You can find them between late June and early November, and you can use them to add a lemony, nutty flavor and meaty texture to your dishes.

4. Black Trumpet

Black trumpet mushrooms
Black trumpet mushrooms | image by Marco Bertolini via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Craterellus cornucopioides
  • Average size: 2 – 15 cm in diameter
  • Color: gray to black to tan
  • Can be found: mossy forest floors
  • Edible: Yes

The Black Trumpet mushrooms, also known as black chanterelles, are prized for their smoky, rich flavor. These fungi are often found in deciduous forests and typically grow under Beech trees, although they can also be found with oaks. Foragers find it challenging to spot them as their black, trumpet-shaped bodies blend seamlessly with the forest floor. 

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5. Eastern Destroying Angel Mushroom

Destroying angel   mushroom 
Destroying angel mushroom  | image by Mark Nenadov via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Amanita bisporigera
  • Average size: 2 – 5 cm in diameter
  • Color: pure white, or white and yellowish
  • Can be found: edges of woodlands
  • Edible: No 

One of the poisonous mushrooms you might come across in Maine is the Eastern Destroying Angel, an innocently lovely but deadly mushroom. These dangerous fungi can be recognized by their all-white caps and thin, slender stalks, which resemble edible varieties.

They’re also common in oak and pine trees and thrive in mixed woodlands. However, even consuming a small amount can be fatal, which highlights the importance of correct identification. 

6. 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 – 7 cm in diameter
  • Color: dark gray – brown
  • Can be found: base of oak trees
  • Edible: Yes

The Hen-of-the-Woods mushroom, so called because it resembles the bird from which it takes its name, is a prized find among mushroom hunters in the state of Maine.

It flourishes at the bases of hardwood trees, especially oaks, and is distinguished by a cluster of grayish-brown, frond-like caps that radiate outward from a central stalk. Their distinct appearance and bold, peppery taste make them a popular ingredient in various recipes. 

7. Eastern Jack O Lantern 

Eastern Jack O’lantern
Eastern Jack O’lantern | image by Virginia State Parks via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Omphalotus illudens
  • Average size: 7 – 20 cm in diameter
  • Color: bright orange to yellowish orange
  • Can be found: base of trees, on stumps, or on buried wood
  • Edible: No

The Eastern Jack O’Lanterns, known for their bioluminescent gills, cast an eerie glow in Maine’s forests at night. These fungi display bright orange, fan-shaped caps, frequently in overlapping clusters, and they develop on rotting hardwood stumps or buried roots. Despite their beauty, they’re toxic when consumed, causing gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, diarrhea, and headache. 

8. Lobster

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

The lobster mushroom is a type of edible mushroom that gets its name from its bright color and distinctive scent that resembles that of seafood. These unusual species are actually parasitic fungi that transform their host mushroom, giving the Lobster its distinctive appearance. The exterior of these fungi is a vivid orange-red color, resembling cooked lobster, and they prefer mixed woods, frequently close to conifers. 

9. Shaggy Mane

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

The Shaggy Mane is a type of mushroom that’s known for its unique ability to quickly transform from a fresh and edible state to a messy, inky one. These fungi typically grow on nutrient-rich soil and are often found on lawns and roadsides.

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They’re identifiable by their cylindrical white caps that have shaggy scales, which eventually dissolve into black ink. If you want to eat these mushrooms, it’s best to pick the young ones and cook them as soon as possible. 

10. Puff balls

Common puffball
Common puffball | image by Alexandre Dulaunoy via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Lycoperdon perlatum
  • Average size: 3 – 6 cm in diameter
  • Color: whitish – dark brown
  • Can be found: fallen and rotten wood, meadows, coniferous and deciduous forests
  • Edible: Yes

Puffballs are a type of mushroom frequently discovered throughout the United States. They flourish in forests, meadows, and lawns and are famous for their alluring release of spores that look like puffs of smoke.

These beautiful mushrooms come in a range of sizes and colors, from white to brown, with round or pear-shaped shapes. Their smooth outer skin encases a fleshy, edible interior when young, which is the optimal time to consume them. 

11. Pigskin Poison Puffball 

Pigskin poison puffball 
Pigskin poison puffball | image by Dr. Hans-Günter Wagner via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Scleroderma citrinum
  • Average size: 1 – 4 cm in diameter
  • Color: yellowish-brown
  • Can be found: forests or other natural areas
  • Edible: No

The Pigskin Poison Puffball, also known as earthballs, is a deceptively attractive yet toxic mushroom named after its resemblance to an edible puffball in appearance. These earthballs, unlike puffballs, release spores by breaking up.

The skin of these fungi is thick, rough, and yellow-brown in color, much like a pigskin or a football. They also have much firmer flesh, but they’re toxic and cause severe gastric upset.

12. Oyster mushroom

Oyster mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms
  • Scientific Name: Pleurotus ostreatus
  • Average size: 5 – 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 culinary treasure in Maine’s woods, renowned for their delicate, seafood-like flavor. They form large clusters on decaying hardwood, displaying fan-shaped caps ranging from creamy white to gray, and their gills run down the short stalks. Their tender texture and mild flavor make them a popular ingredient in various dishes, including pasta, stews, and omelets. 

13. Matsutake

Matsutake
Matsutake | image by Thierry Bissonnette via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Tricholoma magnivelare
  • Average size: 5 – 20 cm in diameter
  • Color: creamy white to rusted brown
  • Can be found: all forest areas above 4500 feet elevation  
  • Edible: Yes

The Matsutake mushrooms are one of the tasty fungi that thrive primarily under eastern hemlock in Maine, and you’ll typically see them in September and October.

This species is well-known for its spicy, pine-like aroma and is commonly used in Japanese cuisine. They have a white to brownish cap and a stout stalk and grow in symbiosis with conifer trees, especially pines.