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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 Types of Mushrooms in Minnesota (Pictures)

If you’re a foraging fan or enjoy discovering new culinary delights, you won’t want to miss the mushrooms in Minnesota. From the flavorful and delicate morel to the earthy and robust chanterelle, Minnesota’s forests are teeming with edible fungi that draw mushroom hunters or adventurous foodies looking to try new flavors. 

In this article, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of some of the mushrooms found in the state. 

13 Mushrooms in Minnesota

1. Chicken-of-the-woods

Chicken of the woods on log
Chicken of the woods on log
  • Scientific name: Laetiporus sulphureus
  • Average size: 5 to 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 mushroom that grows in Minnesota. It likes to grow on dead hardwoods, especially oak. This edible fungus is easily distinguished by its bright orange and yellow hues and is named after its resemblance to the texture of cooked chicken meat. 

Its fan-shaped growths form in overlapping clusters and are known to be high in potassium and vitamin C. It’s commonly found from June to October, and this delectable mushroom adds flavor to various dishes, enchanting foragers across the North Star State.

2. 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 to 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 Jack O’Lantern of Minnesota are famous for their spooky luminescence and can be found thriving on rotting stumps and buried roots of hardwood trees. These poisonous mushrooms have bright orange caps and gills, which is why Jack O’Lanterns are sometimes confused with the delicious chanterelle. 

They have a distinct appearance, grow in clusters, and have mesmerizing bioluminescence emitted by the gills. These mushrooms are not edible, but they have a captivating luminescence that attracts foragers and adds a natural mystique to the state.

3. Turkey tail

Turkey tail mushroom
Turkey tail mushroom | image by stanze via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Trametes versicolor
  • Average size: 2 – 10 cm in diameter   
  • Color: brown to red  
  • Can be found: fallen logs or tree stumps 
  • Edible: No

In the lush forests of Minnesota, you can find turkey tails growing on dead hardwoods, particularly oaks, and occasionally on live trees’ wounds. The mushrooms have a distinctive shape that looks like a fan and is similar to turkey tails. They also have concentric rings of various colors, such as white, gray, brown, yellowish-buff, reddish-brown, or black. 

Turkey tails aren’t meant to be eaten, but these species can be used to make supplements that promote good health. This fungus is quite fascinating as it has impressive medicinal properties that can boost the immune system. It can also be found throughout the year in the state. 

4. Bird’s nest fungus 

Bird’s nest fungus
Bird’s nest fungus | image by Monica R. via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Crucibulum laeve
  • Average size: 1 – 3 mm in diameter 
  • Color: brown, gray, or white 
  • Can be found: moist, shaded areas 
  • Edible: No  
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Minnesota’s damp woodlands are home to unique and enchanting bird’s nest fungi, which can be found adorning decaying wood and organic debris. These fungi have cup-like structures that resemble tiny bird nests and contain small “eggs” or peridioles. They’re commonly seen from spring to fall and come in a range of colors, from light white to deep brown. 

Raindrops fascinatingly disperse the peridioles, which helps ensure reproduction. Although there is no evidence that this mushroom is toxic, it’s deemed inedible because of its extremely small size. 

5. 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 delectable culinary delicacy that thrives in Minnesota’s woods, particularly on dying or dead hardwood trees. During spring and fall, they form clusters that overlap each other, sporting delicate fan-shaped caps that range from white to grayish-brown. 

These edible gems are highly valued for their tender texture and subtle, earthy flavor, making them a treasure for those who enjoy foraging. In addition, oyster mushrooms have enzymes that can decompose wood, which makes them a valuable part of nature’s natural waste management team. 

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

In Minnesota, Hen-of-the-woods is a highly prized delicacy that grows at the base of oak trees. This type of mushroom also tends to thrive in areas with nutrient-rich soil. The fungus has numerous grayish-brown caps overlapping each other, making it look like a ruffled hen.

It’s most commonly found during late summer or fall and is known for its meaty texture and peppery flavor, which is highly valued by food lovers. 

7. Golden chanterelle

Golden chanterelle
Golden chanterelle | image by Dr. Hans-Günter Wagner via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Cantharellus favus
  • Average size: 2 – 14 cm 
  • Color: light yellow to dark golden yellow-orange  
  • Can be found: mossy coniferous forests
  • Edible: Yes  

The golden chanterelle is a sought-after mushroom among foragers and can be found in Minnesota’s mixed forests, typically growing near conifers and hardwoods. These popular fungi grow from spring to fall and have bright yellow-orange colors and a trumpet-like shape. 

They also have a fruity, apricot-like aroma and a delectable, slightly peppery flavor. The state’s gourmets and outdoor enthusiasts are enchanted by golden chanterelles for their alluring beauty and rich culinary potential. 

8. Puff balls

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

Puffballs like nutrient-rich soil and grow in Minnesota’s meadows, forests, and grasslands. Their round, white exterior conceals a soft, edible interior when young, and ranges in size from a golf ball to a basketball. 

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As puffballs mature, the interior of the mushroom changes into powdery spores that are released in an interesting “puff” when they’re disturbed. Foragers are fascinated by their tofu-like texture and rich taste, which are harvested in late summer and fall.  

9. Yellow morel  

Yellow morel
Yellow morel | image by GLJIVARSKO DRUSTVO NIS via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Morchella americana
  • Average size: 1.5 – 6 cm wide
  • Color: yellow to yellow-gray 
  • Can be found: under dying elms and living white ashes and cottonwoods
  • Edible: Yes

In Minnesota, yellow morels are a springtime treasure that grows close to or beneath hardwood trees, frequently poking through the leaf litter. A hollow, cream-colored stem with a honeycomb-like cap is the distinguishing feature of this fungus. 

Their distinct shape and golden color make them easy to spot, and these morels are highly desirable mushrooms that provide a delicious, earthy taste and a substantial texture. It’s also important not to confuse these edible mushrooms with the poisonous false morel. 

10. Lobster mushroom

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 Lobster mushrooms are a strange find in Minnesota. They grow in mixed coniferous and hardwood forests, depending on where their hosts are found. These unusual fungi are formed when a parasitic, mold-like sac fungus takes over other mushrooms, typically Russulas or Lactarius

With a firm texture and a striking reddish-orange color, these species resemble the look of cooked lobster. From July to September, foragers and culinary adventurers in the North Star State are captivated by the sweet, nutty, and seafood-like flavor of this harvest.

11. American Yellow fly agaric

American yellow fly agaric
American yellow fly agaric | image by Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Amanita muscaria var. guessowii
  • Average size: 2 to 12 cm in diameter
  • Color: pale yellow, bright yellow, or orangish-yellow
  • Can be found: under pine, spruce, fir, aspen, or birch
  • Edible: No

The American yellow fly agaric lives in coniferous and deciduous forests and forms mutualistic relationships with tree roots. These mushrooms have bright yellow caps with white warts, giving them a charming and whimsical appearance. 

They can be found from June to November but should never be consumed because these species are toxic and hallucinogenic. Despite their potential danger, American yellow fly agarics are still fascinating due to their appearance, which resembles something out of a storybook. 

12. Honey mushroom

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 typically grow on trees and logs, and can often be found forming dense clusters around the trunks of trees. Fall is the prime time for the emergence of these honey-hued fungi with convex caps and fibrous stems. 

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Foragers are often drawn to the earthy and sweet taste of these, but it’s important to be cautious as some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort. Honey mushrooms are parasitic and can cause Armillaria root rot, which can potentially kill an entire plant. 

13. Aborted Entoloma

Aborted entoloma mushroom
Aborted entoloma mushroom | image by Under the same moon… via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Entoloma abortivum 
  • Average size: 2 – 10 cm
  • Color: pale gray to pink
  • Can be found: hardwood forests near decaying wood or in leaf litter
  • Edible: Yes

The Aborted Entolomas appear in hardwood forests, often near honey mushrooms, decaying wood, or leaf litter. These interesting fungi have a gnarled, uneven look, like coral or cauliflower, and come in shades of white to gray.

These mushrooms, which are the result of a parasitic relationship between Entoloma abortivum and honey mushrooms, have a flavor profile similar to that of shrimp while also having a subtle mushroom taste.