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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 Types of Mushrooms in Ohio (Photos)

The temperate climate in Ohio and its distinct seasons make it a great state for mushroom hunting. It has dense forests along with open meadows, rolling hills, and agricultural zones. There are plenty of habitats for a diverse population of mushrooms to thrive here. 

Along with being beautiful and tasty, mushrooms make a big contribution to the environment where they grow. They create new space for young saplings by decomposing dead trees. They strengthen the network of tree communication by tapping into the mycorrhizal fungi that live in tree roots. Scientists have only just begun to understand the breadth and depth of mushrooms’ impact on the environment. 

This article is a primer for the beginning mushroom enthusiast. Whether you’re intrigued about edible specimens in your backyard or just want to know which mushrooms to avoid, you’ve come to the right place. 

We’ll take a look at 12 species of edible and toxic mushrooms in Ohio. You’ll learn about their preferred habitats, when they grow, and how to identify them. Let’s get started! 

12 Mushrooms in Ohio 

This list contains both edible and non-edible mushrooms. When foraging is your responsibility to ensure that you properly identify the mushrooms on this list. They are clearly labeled and described with pictures and indicators of whether they are edible. 

If you believe you have ingested a poisonous mushroom, seek immediate medical attention. Some poisonous mushrooms have slow-acting toxins.  

Edible Mushrooms 

The mushrooms in this section are safe for human consumption. Remember that all mushrooms must be cooked before eating, and that it’s your responsibility to properly identify a mushroom. If you’re in doubt, don’t eat it! 

1. Giant Puffball Mushroom 

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: 8 to 10 inches across 
  • Can be found: In fields, lawns, and open woodlands 
  • Edible: Yes

Try searching for the giant puffball on your next foraging trip outdoors. Ohio has a great mix of fields and open woodlands that support this fungus. It usually shows up in the fall after a rainstorm. 

There’s no stalk on this mushroom, just a large spherical cap that can be up to 10 inches in diameter! They are high-producing but must be harvested before they create spores and become hollow.

Only harvest giant puffballs over 4 inches across; they have some poisonous look-alikes. 

2. Shaggy Mane Mushroom

Shaggy mane mushroom
Shaggy mane mushroom | image by Bernard Spragg. NZ via Flickr
  • Scientific name: Coprinus comatus 
  • Average size: 1 to 6 inches in diameter 
  • Can be found: on exposed ground, even lawns
  • Edible: Yes

The shaggy mane mushroom gets its name from the flaky edge of its cap. As it matures, its gills melt and drip off like oil or paint.

In Ohio, it’s most common on the edges of forests and disturbed habitat. It likes moisture and often grows in small groups. 

The cap is about 1 to 6 inches across and it’s supported by a slender, tall stalk. Shaggy mane mushrooms can look like open or closed umbrellas; it just depends on what stage of growth you spot them at.  

3. Golden Chanterelle

Golden chanterelle
Golden chanterelle | image by Dr. Hans-Günter Wagner via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Cantharellus cibarius 
  • Average size: 1 to 4 inches in diameter  
  • Can be found: in oak forests and near recently burned areas  
  • Edible: Yes
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The Golden chanterelles are the introductory mushroom in most foraging classes and guidebooks. They’re easy to spot, hard to confuse with their toxic lookalikes, and are great in soups and vegetable dishes. They even have a characteristic citrusy smell that will alert you of their presence. 

Look for them in forests, especially recently cleared or burned lots and meadows. The cap is funnel-shaped but it measures about 1 to 4 inches across. They’re most common underneath oak and hemlock trees. 

4. Sulfur Shelf

Sulfur shelf
Sulfur shelf | image by Blondinrikard Fröberg via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Laetiporus sulphureus
  • Average size: 2 to 12 inches in diameter 
  • Can be found: growing on oaks and hardwoods in forests
  • Edible: Yes

The Sulfur shelf, also known as chicken-of-the-woods, is a tree-dwelling mushroom that grows during the summer and early autumn. Ohio’s hardwood forests and oak-dominated woodlands are the host to most of the sulfur shelf population. 

There are no stems on this mushroom; it’s a saprophyte that grows directly from the wood of a tree. Caps measure 2 to 12 inches across and are stacked like shelves. 

5. Shaggy Parasol

Shaggy parasol
Shaggy parasol | image by Lukas Large via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Chlorophyllum rachodes 
  • Average size: 2 to 6 inches across  
  • Can be found: on lawns and in compost piles  
  • Edible: Yes

The Shaggy parasols look similar to meadow mushrooms. They both have a button-style cap and are mostly white. However, shaggy parasols have flimsy scales on the top of the cap.

They’re distinctly hemispherical. Foraging for them is easy in Ohio. They don’t mind residential lawns and even grow in compost piles. 

The cap of the shaggy parasol is about 2 to 6 inches in diameter. The outer edges always curl under. When chopped, the interior flesh always turns a peachy color. 

6. Yellow Morel 

Yellow morel
Yellow morel | image by GLJIVARSKO DRUSTVO NIS via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Morchella esculenta
  • Average size: 1 to 3 inches across by 1 to 4 inches tall  
  • Can be found: river bottoms and near elm trees 
  • Edible: Yes

Mushroom foraging classes highlight the yellow morel as a fantastic option for new mushroom enthusiasts. It’s hard to confuse with other mushrooms, has only one lookalike, and grows in the spring, when few other mushrooms grow.

In Ohio, you can find morels near river bottoms and abandoned orchards. They especially like elm trees. 

A morel’s cap is taller than it is wide. They’re usually about 3 inches tall but just 2 inches across.

A better way to identify them is based on the crumpling and honeycomb pattern on the outer edges. Yellow morels are lighter in color than their relatives, black morels. Both are edible. 

7. 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: 1 to 4 ¾ inches in diameter 
  • Can be found: in fields, open meadows, and forest edges
  • Edible: Yes

If you buy mushrooms at the grocery store, you’ll probably recognize the meadow mushroom. It’s almost exactly the same as the white button mushroom. These edible fungi can be found in Ohio’s meadows, open woodlands, and at the edges of disturbed areas.

Meadow mushrooms’ caps are between 1 and 4 ¾ inches across. Young mushrooms have the edge of the cap curled under, while mature mushrooms’ caps are completely unfolded.

Tell them apart from poisonous species by bruising the mushroom’s flesh. If it turns brownish-red, it’s a meadow mushroom. 

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Non-edible Mushrooms 

These mushrooms cannot be eaten. Some are inert and can’t be eaten, but some are toxic and have the potential to cause hallucinations or even death. Do not eat any of the mushrooms on this part of the list. 

8. False Morel 

False morel mushroom  
False morel mushroom | image by Michael Mortensen via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Gyromitra esculenta
  • Average size: 2¼ to 6 in diameter  
  • Can be found: underneath conifers 
  • Edible: No. TOXIC

The False morels will probably be the first look alike you’ll learn to find when searching for mushrooms in the wild. They look similar enough to delicious true morels that they’ve fooled unwary foragers, but with some practice, you’ll learn to tell them apart. In Ohio, false morels grow on the ground in coniferous and hardwood forests, the same environment that true morels like. 

The false morel’s cap is irregular and tightly folded. It measures between 2 ¼ to 6 inches across.

Stalks are stubby and not as visible as in a true morel. When cut down the center, a false morel is solid, not hollow like a true morel mushroom

9. Fly Agaric Mushroom 

Fly agaric mushrooms
Fly agaric mushrooms
  • Scientific name: Amanita muscaria 
  • Average size: 2 to 8 inches in diameter  
  • Can be found: in mixed forests   
  • Edible: No. TOXIC

The Fly agaric mushrooms are native to the United States and Europe. They got their name for having the ability to kill flies when powdered and dissolved in water.

In Ohio, they’re positively adorable when they sprout up underneath trees. Look at that cute red cap, white spots, and white stalk! Don’t forget they’re highly poisonous. 

Fly agaric mushrooms’ caps range from 2 to 8 inches across. The cap gradually unfolds as the mushroom matures, so that it goes from a button-like shape into a wide umbrella-form, emblematic of a generic mushroom. 

10. 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: 2 to 4 inches in diameter
  • Can be found: in forests around dying hardwoods  
  • Edible: No. TOXIC

The Eastern Jack O’Lanterns are creatively named because their bright orange color is similar to that of a pumpkin. To make the coincidence more poetic, they grow in autumn, near Halloween.

In Ohio, you’re likely to spot these mushrooms around dead or dying trees. Once you’ve identified a group of them, return after nightfall. Their gills glow in the dark

The eastern Jack O’Lantern’s cap is small, just 2 to 4 inches across. They have robust stalks that are lighter than the cap. 

11. False Parasol 

False parasol
False parasol | image by David Eickhoff via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Chlorophyllum molybdites 
  • Average size: 4 to 8½ inches in diameter
  • Can be found: Meadows and lawns 
  • Edible: No. TOXIC

The false parasol mushroom is an extremely toxic mushroom that’s often confused with edible parasols like the shaggy parasol. You can tell it apart from its edible cousin by way of its wide cap and the ring around the stalk. In Ohio, they grow in residential areas like lawns and fields.

The cap is 4 to 8 ½ inches across. It has a dark brown center and whitewashed edges. The underside has tightly packed gills that are greenish-gray. 

12. Eyelash Cup

Eyelash cup
Eyelash cup | image by Frank Vassen via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Scutellinia scutellata 
  • Average size: less than ½ inch across 
  • Can be found: rotting logs and shady, damp, forests 
  • Edible: No. TOXIC
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The eyelash cup is an exotic-looking mushroom native to the forests of the eastern United States. They prefer to grow in and around rotting logs. Unlike other mushrooms, these tiny beauties aren’t at risk of being confused with an edible mushroom

The caps are not even an inch across. It would be easy to overlook them if they weren’t bright orange. The outer rim has hairlike ‘eyelashes’ around its edge.

These mushrooms are miniaturized, it seems. Over a hundred can coat a piece of bark that’s just an inch or two long.