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10 Edible Mushroom Species that Occur in Upstate South Carolina

Before you go mushroom hunting, be sure to remember:

Better safe than dead.
Allways ID new species with a veteran when eating or trying msuhrooms.
Save a small portion for ID if there is a problem or an allergy.
There are bold hunters, there are old hunters. But there are NO old and bold hunters.

Lion's Mane Mushrooms - Hericium species

  • cannot confuse these mushrooms with any others
  • always grow on wood, saprotrophic (living on dead trees)
  • once they begin turning yellow they are less tasty
  • found on hardwoods and conifers

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Hedgehogs - Hydnum species

  • a mushroom that has teeth instead of gills
  • nutty flavor
  • mycorrhizal
  • often found with chanterelles
  • one species lives in a confer bog habitat
  • Sarcodon species also have teeth, but are woody and not so great to eat

Chicken of the woods - Laetiporus species

  • comes in shades of orange, yellow, beige, salmon
  • pigment may bleach out quickly
  • typically found on wood
  • one species may be found on soil near hardwoods
  • eat it when it is tender and pores are still invisible
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Morels - Morchella species

  • all species are edible
  • mycorrhizal and saprotrophic
  • best to eat after being dried and rehydrated
  • there are yellow and black morel groups
  • blonde morels like to grow with cottonwood, tulip poplar, and ash
  • the stalk and caps are hollow
  • Verpa and Gyromitra species may be confused with morels but are not good edibles, they can cause gastrointestinal upsets.
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Chanterelles - Cantharellus species

  • have decurrent, false gills
  • waxy and often resistant to bugs and bacteria
  • don't dry well, but can be powdered and stored or sautéed and frozen
  • lookalike is the false chanterelle Hygrophoropsis, but it has forked gills and is not waxy like chanterelles
  • a poisonous lookalike is the Jack O' Lantern mushroom (Omphalotus) (appropriately named because it is bright orange, glows in the dark, and fruits around Halloween), but it has true gills and fruits in clusters
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Black Trumpet - Craterellus species

  • no true gills
  • they are hollow down the middle like a funnel
  • they smell fruity, you can often smell them before you see them
  • they often grow with beech trees, and are late spring/summer species
  • they dry very well, great in soups and sauces
  • weigh pretty much nothing
  • they have a white spore print

Oyster Mushroom - Pleurotus ostreatus

  • usually no stem or a small stem
  • gills descend to the base
  • they typically grow on hardwoods
  • you can find them throughout the year
  • in the Low Country they are a cool species mushroom
  • very good edible
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Wood Ear - Auricularia auricula

  • jelly fungus
  • gets it name because it looks like an ear
  • dries out very quickly, and it also rehydrates very easily
  • it has anticoagulant properties
  • you can find it on dead wood and fallen branches
  • great in soups and stir-fries
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Cauliflower Mushroom - Sparassis species

  • typically grow on old conifer stumps
  • wavy folds, rounded fruity mass
  • tasty
  • some have flattened bladelike spatulas, while some are curly (fragile)
  • good in egg omlettes
  • cultured widely and easily
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Maitake - Grifola frondosa

  • also called hen of the woods
  • choice edible
  • typically found in clusters at the base of hardwoods
  • weak parasite, causing root and butt rot
  • has pores
  • expensive and really yummy


Wood Ear

Lion's Mane Mushroom, Pom Pom

Chicken of the Woods


Oyster Mushrooms

Cauliflower Mushroom