Commonly believed to be a plant, mushrooms are in fact the “fruits” of fungi, and thus do not photosynthesize and therefore have no chlorophyll. Also referred to as “toadstools," mushrooms have appeared in many fairy tales and now have made their way to the table. Mushrooms have become a common ingredient and home-grown plant worldwide. Although a fungus, only a few mushrooms are inedible due to their poisonous nature.
They are usually white or beige in color and usually grow in groups. Instead of feeding on sun rays, mushrooms break down dead plants for food. Scientifically, this makes them saprophytes.The most common mushrooms used in food are the truffles, morels and white mushrooms. Truffles are unique and rarely found well below the ground. There, they maintain a symbiotic relationship with trees. Due to the difficulty in harvesting them, truffles are very expensive. White mushrooms are perhaps the most common edible mushrooms. they are readily available in grocery stores fresh and canned. They are also called table mushrooms. Morels slightly resemble brain coral. They have dark cones and short stalks. They are more expensive than white mushrooms and have a nutty taste. They are found near forested areas.
If you didn't know these tiny mushroom tidbits, you're in for a doozy in this quiz. Do you have what it takes to grow and identify this fungus? Or will they take over your home?
Chanterelle is the common name of fungi in the genus Cantharellus. They are among the most popularly eaten species of wild mushrooms and come in orange, yellow or white.
Portobello, or Agaricus bisporus, is an edible basidiomycete mushroom native to grasslands in Europe and North America. They contain three grams of protein per 100 grams!
Craterellus cornucopioides, or horn of plenty, is an edible mushroom that is also known as the black chanterelle. This fungus is found in woods in North America, Europe, Japan and Korea.
The Bleeding Milk Cap is known as Lactarius rubrilacteus, a species of mushroom of the genus Lactarius. The mushroom can be either a bluish green or an orangy brown hue, with creamy white or yellow spores that are ellipsoid in shape.
Russula xerampelina, also commonly known as the crab brittlegill or the shrimp mushroom, is a basidiomycete mushroom of the brittlegill genus Russula. It is mild-tasting and edible.
Pleurotus is a genus of gilled mushrooms that includes one of the most widely eaten mushrooms, P. ostreatus. Pleurotus means "side ear" in Greek.
Pleurocybella porrigens is a species of fungus in the Marasmiaceae family. The species is widespread in temperate forests of the Northern Hemisphere.
Velvet foot mushrooms are traditionally used for soups, but can also be used for salads and other dishes. The mushroom has a crisp texture and can be refrigerated for approximately one week.
This large, lignicolous species is commonly found during the summer months in the Sierra and higher elevations of the Coast Range. Identifying features include a cream-colored cap with appressed coarse, brownish scales, decurrent, toothed gills and the lack of a partial veil.
Omphalotus olearius is a poisonous orange gilled mushroom that to an untrained eye appears similar to some chanterelles. It is found in woodland areas in Europe, where it grows on decaying stumps, on buried roots or at the base of hardwood trees.
Tricholomopsis rutilans, commonly known as Red-haired agaric, is a species of gilled mushroom found across Europe and North America. Its common name is from its plum-red scaled cap and crowded custard yellow gills.
Hygrocybe conica is a colorful member of the genus Hygrocybe and is found across northern Europe and North America. It is a small mushroom, with a convex to conical yellow-orange to red cap 2 to 5 cm in diameter.
Morels are a genus of edible sac fungi closely related to anatomically simpler cup fungi in the order Pezizales. Morel hunting, or molly mooching as it is known in southern West Virginia, is a hugely popular springtime activity.
Redwood Rooter mushrooms are found under redwood trees. They are in fruiting season from early to mid-winter and scientifically known as Caulorhiza umbonata.
A fairy ring is a naturally-occurring ring or arc of mushrooms. They are found mainly in forested areas, but also appear in grasslands.
Blewit refers to two closely related species of edible agarics in the genus Clitocybe: the wood blewit (Clitocybe nuda) and the field blewit or blue-leg (C.saeva). Both wood blewits and field blewits are generally regarded as edible, but they are known to cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
The shiitake is an edible mushroom native to East Asia. It is cultivated and consumed in many Asian countries and is considered a medicinal mushroom in some forms of traditional medicine.
Lyophyllum decastes, commonly known as the fried chicken mushroom, is an edible species of fungus in the family Lyophyllaceae that grows in clusters on disturbed ground, with a faintly radish-like taste. The gills are white but may yellow slightly with age.
Amanita phalloides is commonly known as the death cap. It is a deadly poisonous basidiomycete fungus - one of many in the genus Amanita.
Enokie is a long, thin white mushroom used in East Asian cuisine - specifically in China, Japan, Vietnam and Korea. They can maintain their fresh, crisp texture for up to one week in the refrigerator.
Named by the Italians, coccora are one of the finest eating mushrooms in the world. These mushrooms can be found growing beneath red-barked Madrone and Live Oak.
Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric, is a basidiomycete mushroom, one of many in the genus Amanita. It is native to the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemispheres.
Matsutake is the common name for a highly sought-after mycorrhizal mushroom that grows in Asia, Europe, and North America. It is prized in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisine for its distinct spicy-aromatic odor.
The shaggy parasol is a popularly edible mushroom. However, it contains toxins which can cause gastric upsets when eaten raw or undercooked. There have also been reports of strong allergic reactions to some people even after cooking.
Leucocoprinus birnbaumii is a species of gilled mushroom in the family Agaricaceae. It is common in the tropics and subtropics and their fruit bodies are poisonous. Don't eat!
Cremini Mushrooms are the same species of mushroom as White Button Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus.) They are just a slightly different strain which develop a thin layer of tan or coffee-colored cells on its cap and are known to have more flavor as well.
Agaricus augustus is a basidiomycete fungus of the genus Agaricus. The cap shape is hemispherical during the so-called button stage, and then expands, becoming convex and finally flat, with a diameter of up to 22 cm.
Hydnellum peckii is an inedible, yet non toxic, fungus. It is a member of the genus Hydnellum of the family Bankeraceae. It is found in North America, Europe, Iran and Korea.
Agaricus bitorquis is an edible white mushroom of the genus Agaricus, similar to the button mushroom sold worldwide. The cap is dry, smooth and white with yellow stains as it ages.
Stropharia rugosoannulata is an agaric of the family Strophariaceae. It is found in Europe and North America, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The king stropharia can grow to 20 cm high with a reddish-brown convex to flattening cap up to 30 cm across.
Stropharia ambigua is a saprotrophic agaric mushroom. It commonly fruits in leaf litter and wood chips in the western United States and Canada. This type of mushroom is said to taste like old leaves.
Psilocybe semilanceata contains the psychoactive compounds psilocybin, psilocin and baeocystin. It is both one of the most widely distributed psilocybin mushrooms in nature, as well as one of the most potent. They grow in grasslands and especially wet areas.
Cortinarius iodes is a species of agaric fungus in the family Cortinariaceae. The fruit bodies have small, slimy, purple caps up to 6 cm in diameter that develop yellowish spots and streaks in maturity.
Hebeloma crustuliniforme is a gilled mushroom of the genus Hebeloma found in Europe and North America, as well as Australia. Its name derives from the Latin crustulum or little biscuit.
Gomphidius glutinosus is a gilled mushroom found in Europe and North America. Although it has gills, it is a member of the order Boletales, along with the boletes.
Boletus edulis is a basidiomycete fungus, and the type species of the genus Boletus. It is distributed in the Northern Hemisphere across Europe, Asia, and North America.
Prized as an ingredient in various foods, B. edulis is an edible mushroom held in high regard in many cuisines. It is commonly prepared and eaten in soups, pasta, or risotto. It is low in fat and high in protein.
Suillus brevipes is a species of fungus in the family Suillaceae. The mushrooms produced by the fungus are characterized by a reddish-brown cap covered with a sticky layer of slime and a short whitish stipe that does not have either a partial veil or prominent dark or colored glandular dots.
Laetiporus is a genus of edible mushrooms found throughout much of the world. Some species, especially Laetiporus sulphureus, are commonly known as sulphur shelf or chicken of the woods because many think they taste like chicken!
Lactarius indigo is a species of agaric fungus in the family Russulaceae. It is an edible mushroom sold in rural markets in China, Guatemala, and Mexico.
Ganoderma tsugae is a flat polypore mushroom of the genus Ganoderma. It is not poisonous, but it is regarded generally as inedible.
Trametes versicolor is a common polypore mushroom found throughout the world. Its name means 'of several colors', similar to that of a turkey's feathers.
Hericium is a genus of edible mushrooms in the Hericiaceae family. Species in this genus are white and fleshy and grow on dead or dying wood.
Hericium erinaceus is an edible and medicinal mushroom belonging to the tooth fungus group. It is native to North America, Europe and Asia.
Agaricus bisporus is an edible basidiomycete mushroom native to Europe and North America. It is cultivated in more than seventy countries and is one of the most commonly and widely consumed mushrooms in the world.
Sarcodon imbricatus is a species of tooth fungus in the order Thelephorales. It is an edible mushroom!
Hydnellum peckii is an inedible fungus, and a member of the genus Hydnellum of the family Bankeraceae. Though it is not edible, it is not toxic either.
Bovista pila is a species of puffball fungus in the family Agaricaceae. It is a temperate species and is distributed in North America. It grows on the ground on road sides, in pastures, grassy areas, and open woods.