Life awaits beyond the beaten path
Mushrooms can be a wonderful addition to your diet. There are however mushrooms that can make you severely ill, or even kill you. It is therefore imperative that you properly identify any mushroom you plan to eat. This page is in no way meant as a definitive source for mushroom identification; But rather a repository of information I have learned over the years, interspersed with information from mushroom field guides. Many of the pictures were found as copyright free images from Wikimedia Commons.
The following list contains some of the most common and easily recognized edible mushroom species. There is something distinctive about each mushroom I have included on this page. Once you learn their specific characteristics, you should not confuse them with any poisonous species. Remember that there are a number of elements that go into properly identifying a mushroom. If the mushroom you have does not satisfy ALL of these elements, DO NOT PICK IT, AND DEFINITELY DO NOT EAT IT.
This is by no means a complete list of edible mushrooms, as there are literally hundreds of edible species. Anyone interested in mushrooms should pick up a good field guide. If I were to suggest one, it would be National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. This book makes it easy for the beginner to zero in on the identity of any mushroom he or she may find in their travels afield. It also contains enough detailed information that the seasoned mushroom hunter can still glean useful information. This book has been and invaluable tool in my forays into the realm of mushrooms hunting.
Webmasters Note: I chose the mushrooms below because each is readily identifiable for some characteristic or other. I have been doing this almost 40 years, and while I can easily identify each of the mushrooms on this page, I am not 100% confident with my ability to describe them to a novice hunter. The last thing I want to do is not explain all of the characteristics of a mushroom adequately, and have someone get sick; Therefore I have included my description under the identifying characteristics section, then followed that up with the field guide description, which is almost verbatim from the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. I have given proper credits to that book on each page. Again, I only did so, because I want the novice hunter to have all of the necessary information while honing their mushroom hunting skills.