The state of Oklahoma is filled with diverse landscapes that are perfect for thousands of different fauna and flora. But did you know that you can also find delicious treasures in this state’s soil? The mushrooms in Oklahoma can take your ho-hum recipes and elevate them to culinary delights. However, care must be taken when foraging for mushrooms since there are several that are toxic and potentially dangerous if consumed.
6 Edible Mushrooms In Oklahoma
Foragers can find a world of flavors and textures when hunting for mushrooms in Oklahoma. While morels are one of the most sought-after mushrooms in the state, they are not the only ones you can safely consume. However, it is vital that you use caution when harvesting wild mushrooms since some fungi are toxic.
1. Morel Mushroom
- Scientific Name: Morchella spp.
- Average Size: They can grow up to 2 to 4 inches tall
- Found: In wooded areas, near deciduous trees like elm, ash, and oak
The morel mushroom is a favorite among foragers in Oklahoma. They have a cone-shaped, wrinkle cap that is often described as being like a honeycomb. Morels range in color from a light tan to a dark brown. The best time to hunt for morels is during the spring months of March to May after a warm rain.
2. Chanterelle Mushroom
- Scientific Name: Cantharellus spp.
- Average Size: Can reach up to 5 inches in diameter
- Found: Hardwood forests, especially under beech and oak trees
Chanterelle mushrooms may not be as well-known as morels, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as delicious. These edible fungi are bright golden and produce trumpet-shaped caps. Most mushroom hunters have luck finding chanterelle during late summer and early fall.
- Scientific Name: Grifola frondosa
- Average Size: Up to 10 inches in diameter
- Found: Most commonly found growing at the base of oak trees
Commonly referred to as maitake mushrooms, hen-of-the-woods is a large fungus that is typically easy to spot thanks to its collection of overlapping, fan-shaped caps. They vary in color from brownish-gray to pale beige and typically have wrinkled or frilled edges. Unlike some other mushroom species, the hen-of-the-woods have pores under the cap instead of the traditional gills.
4. Shaggy Mane
- Scientific Name: Coprinus comatus
- Average Size: Up to a 2-inch diameter cap on an almost 3-inch tall stalk
- Found: In grassy areas and hard-pack soil, especially in lawns and near roadsides
These mushrooms, which are also known as inky cap mushrooms, have a cylindrical shape cap when young that begins to flatten as they mature. Young shaggy mane mushrooms are also covered in white shaggy scales, and their margins begin to roll upward to expose liquefying black gills that look similar to ink. Shaggy manes must be consumed as soon as possible after harvesting since they will quickly start to turn black.
5. Pear-Shaped Puffball Mushroom
- Scientific Name: Lycoperdon pyriforme
- Average Size: Up to 2 inches in diameter and 1 to 2 inches tall
- Found: Mainly on the stumps and roots of dead trees
As its name would suggest, this mushroom has a petite pear shape with a creamy-colored cap that looks similar to a miniature pear. When it’s young, the cap of the pear-shaped puffball is smooth but will begin to wrinkle as it ages. While this mushroom is edible, you should only consume it while it is still young and the inside is white. Once the interior of the mushroom turns yellow, it can cause gastrointestinal distress if consumed.
6. Lion’s Mane
- Scientific Name: Hericium erinaceus
- Average Size: Between a few inches to over a foot in diameter
- Found: In hardwood forests, especially on the trunks of oaks and maples
Named after its cascading spines that resemble the mane of a lion, this fungi has a compact form that can range in various hues of white and cream. As the mushroom ages, it can start to develop tinges of yellow or beige on its spines. The underside of its spines has a tooth-like structure where its spores are produced, unlike other fungi that have pores or gills under their caps.
4 Toxic and Poisonous Mushrooms In Oklahoma
To safely enjoy mushroom foraging, it is advised to learn from experienced foragers, consult field guides, and participate in your local mycology workshops or clubs. By doing so, you increase your knowledge about the mushrooms in Oklahoma and reduce the chance of consuming fungi that are toxic and potentially deadly.
1. False Parasol Mushroom
- Scientific Name: Chlorophyllum molybdites
- Average Size: Stems grow 2 to 10 inches tall and are up to 1 inch thick
- Found: Growing in lawns
The false parasol mushroom is one of the most frequently eaten poisonous mushrooms, and it can cause severe gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhea and vomiting. This mushroom is white and firm but can start to stain with a slight red or brownish hue. The gills are located under its cap and are usually white or yellow when young but change to grey as the fungi mature.
2. False Morel Mushroom
- Scientific Name: Gyromitra esculenta
- Average Size: Up to 4 inches tall and 6 inches wide
- Found: Wooded areas near hardwood trees
The false morel is often confused for the true morel. This is because the false version has the same wrinkled cap that looks similar to a brain. However, the false morel is typically a bit taller than the real morel. The downside is that, for most people, figuring out which one is which can be rather difficult, which can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening issues if you consume the toxic false morel.
3. Amanita Mushrooms
- Scientific Name: Amanita spp.
- Average Size: Caps can reach up to 4 inches in diameter
- Found: Growing in soil near trees
Amanita mushrooms have that iconic toadstool appearance that most people envision when they think of mushrooms. The exact physical description and toxicity of these types of fungi vary depending on the species.
However, this mushroom genus contains some of the most toxic fungi found around the world. For example, the death cap mushroom, which does grow in Oklahoma, is said to be just as toxic as a rattlesnake.
4. Mock Oyster
- Scientific Name: Phyllotopsis nidulans
- Average Size: Up to 3 1/2 inches in diameter
- Found: Growing on dead wood
Also known as orange oyster, this stemless mushroom produces yellow to orange colored caps that typically grow in overlapping clusters on deciduous and conifer wood. They have a strong, unpleasant odor, and while this mushroom is not edible, it is also not considered poisonous. Although it can cause stomach discomfort if consumed.
- Damon: Mushrooms overtake Oklahoma, Damon Lane, KOCO news 5 abc, Nov 1, 2013, koco.com