Minnesota Fungi

Kingdom Fungi

Fungi is the kingdom of living organisms that is characterized by lacking chlorophyll, feeding on dead and decaying organic matter, producing spores, and having cells with cell walls that contain chitin. The order includes mushrooms, puffballs, rusts, smuts, sac fungi, molds, yeasts, Penicillium, bread molds, and organisms that cause plant and animal diseases such as athlete’s foot and leaf spot.

While there are about 100,000 described fungi species, there are estimated to be over 1,500,000 species worldwide. According to the Bell Museum of Natural History, there are 9,000 species expected to be native to Minnesota “based on the number of vascular plant species native to the state and the ratio of fungi to vascular plants for well documented parts of Europe.”

To date, only two states have declared a state mushroom: Minnesota and Oregon. In 1984, the Minnesota legislature designated the Yellow Morel (Morchella esculenta) as the state mushroom of Minnesota.

Recent research based on DNA comparisons have resulted in changes in taxonomic order at all levels, even the highest (fungi are now considered to be closer to animals than plants). As a result, authoritative sources of information about fungi on the Web provide differing binomial names and lineages for the same species. The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) on-line database, http://www.itis.gov, avoids this problem by providing only sparse coverage of fungi.


Cort (Cortinarius atkinsonianus)



Recent Additions

Hygroscopic Earthstar

Hygroscopic Earthstar (Astraeus hygrometricus) is a late season, small or medium-sized mushroom—small when closed, medium-sized when open. The fruiting body looks like a puffball at first. As it matures the outer layer of the case splits into 6 to 15 pointed rays, exposing a nearly spherical spore sac. When fully expanded, it can be 3 or more in diameter. When moist, the rays arch backward to the ground, raising the spore sac, and facilitating distribution of the dust-like spores. The rays sometimes have a pale foreground with dark cracks and crevices, appearing like dried, cracked mud in a dry lake bed. In dry conditions they fold back over the spore sac and become hard. At maturity, the spore case ruptures through a pore at the top, and the spores are disbursed by the wind.

Hygroscopic Earthstar has a global distribution. It is common in North America, Central America, and Europe, and has been collected in Africa, Asia, and Australia. In the United States it is common in the Great Lakes and coastal states, uncommon in Minnesota.

Hygroscopic Earthstar is similar in appearance to true earthstars but it is not even closely related. It is an example of convergent evolution, where species of different lineages evolve similar features. It is identified by the following characteristics: the rays are hygroscopic, expanding in moist conditions and covering the spore case in dry conditions; the upper ray surface is often pale with dark cracks and crevices; the lower ray surface is covered with matted, blackish, hair-like fibers; the spore case is stalkless, roughened by numerous particles, and ruptures through a single, poorly defined pore at the top; and the spores are very large, but this can only be seen under a microscope.

  Hygroscopic Earthstar
  Photo by Luciearl
Purple-bloom Russula

Purple-bloom Russula (Russula mariae) is a medium-sized gill mushroom. It is common and widespread in deciduous and mixed woodlands and forests of North America east of the Rocky Mountains. It is found from June through October, singly or in groups, on the ground near hardwoods. It obtains its nutrients from the rootlets of oak and other hardwood trees.

Purple-bloom Russula is easily recognized by the flat, dry, velvety or powdery, purple cap.

  Purple-bloom Russula
  Photo by Kirk Nelson

Mica Cap

Mica Cap (Coprinellus micaceus) is a very common mushroom in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. In the United States is seen from coast to coast. It occurs from April through October in forests and woodlands, in suburbs, in urban areas, and sometimes indoors. It grows in dense clusters on decaying stumps and logs, and sometimes on the ground on buried wood.

When young, it is dome-shaped, yellowish-brown, and covered with glistening particles. As it matures it flattens out, the particles wash away, and the cap becomes gray at the margins. As the mushroom ages the cap turns black, the margins become tattered, and the gills dissolve into an inky black liquid that drops to the ground.

  Mica Cap

Cort (Cortinarius atkinsonianus)

Cortinarius is the largest genus of gilled mushrooms. There are estimated to be over 1,000 species worldwide. The common name “Cort” used here refers to all fungi in the genus, most of which have no individual common name, many of which remain unclassified. Corts are identified by a silky or cobwebby protective veil covering the developing gills of the young mushroom; spores that are rusty-brown or cinnamon-brown; and their occurrence on the ground in woodlands.

The species Cortinarius atkinsonianus is common and widespread in eastern North America. It is found on the ground either scattered or growing close together (gregarious) but not in clusters. It is sometimes found in rings or arcs. It appears in the fall under or near hardwoods in deciduous and mixed forests and woodlands.

The cap is 2 to 6 in diameter and the stalk is 1½ to 4¾ tall. There is often dirt and debris stuck to the cap because it was slimy or sticky when it emerged from the soil. It is olive-yellow and convex at first. As it ages it flattens out and darkens to deep reddish-brown from the center outwards, with the margin remaining olive-yellow. The flesh is whitish to pale yellow with lavender or violet areas. It stains lavender or violet when bruised. Many Cortinarius mushrooms are poisonous. The edibility of this species is unknown, but due to the difficulty of identifying these mushrooms it is recommended that they are not eaten.

  Cort (Cortinarius atkinsonianus)

Orange-gilled Waxy Cap

Orange-gilled Waxy Cap (Humidicutis marginata) is a medium-sized, easily identified mushroom. It is widespread in North America but not common in the Midwest and northeast. It grows on the ground in humus, sometimes on very rotten wood, in coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests. It may be found singly, scattered, or in small groups. It is edible but insubstantial and watery.

Three varieties are recognized; var. marginata, with an orange cap; var. concolor, with a yellow cap, more common in the northeast; and var. olivacea, with a olive-colored cap, more common in the west. The variety in most common in Minnesota is identified by the bright orange color; the cap that appears watery when wet but is never slimy; and the orange gills that retain their orange color even long after the cap has faded to yellow.

  Orange-gilled Waxy Cap

Other Recent Additions

Comb Tooth (Hericium coralloides)

Crown-tipped Coral (Artomyces pyxidatus)

Gabled False Morel (Gyromitra brunnea)

Cinnabar Polypore (Pycnoporus cinnabarinus)

Snow Morel (Gyromitra gigas)

American Eastern Yellow Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria var. guessowii)

False Morel (Gyromitra esculenta)

Cedar-apple Rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae)

  American Eastern Yellow Fly Agaric








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Aborted Entoloma (Entoloma abortivum)


Aborted Entoloma

American Eastern Yellow Fly Agaric

American Hawthorn Rust

Artist’s Conk

Aspen Bolete

Black Knot

Black Trumpet

Cedar-apple Rust


Chicken of the Woods

Chicken Fat Mushroom

Crowded Parchment

Crown Rust

Crown-tipped Coral

Dead Man’s Fingers

Dryad’s Saddle

Elm Oyster

Fairy Fingers

False Coral Fungus

False Tinder Fungus

False Turkey Tail

Fan-shaped Jelly Fungus

Fly Agaric

Fried Chicken Mushroom

Gabled False Morel

Giant Puffball

Gray False Death Cap

Hairy Bracket

Hen of the Woods

Honey Mushroom

Hygroscopic Earthstar

Indigo Milk Cap

Inky Mushroom

Jack-o’-Lantern Mushroom

Late Oyster Mushroom

Long-spined Puffball

Lobster Mushroom

Mica Cap

Northern Tooth

Old Man of the Woods

Orange-gilled Waxy Cap

Oyster Mushroom

Pear-shaped Puffball

Peeling Puffball

Phomopsis gall on hickory

Purple-spored Puffball

Ravenel’s Stinkhorn

Russula paludosa

Russula pulchra

Scarlet Cup

Scarlet Waxy Cap

Shaggy Mane

Small Stagshorn

Smoky Polypore

Snow Morel

Split Gill

Stalked Scarlet Cup

Tar Spot (Rhytisma americanum)

Thin-Walled Maze Polypore

True Tinder Polypore

Turkey Tail

White Cheese Polypore

White False Death Cap

White Jelly Fungus

Witches’ Butter

Wrinkled Peach

Yellow Fairy Cup Fungus

Yellow Morel

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American Eastern Yellow Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria var. guessowii)

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American Hawthorn Rust (Gymnosporangium globosum)


Angels Wings (Pleurocybella porrigens)


Apricot Jelly fungus (Tremiscus helvelloides)


Arched Earthstar (Geastrum fornicatum)


Arrhenia obscurata

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Artist’s Conk (Ganoderma applanatum)


Ashen Chanterelle (Cantharellus cinereus)

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Aspen Bolete (Leccinum insigne)


Beaked Earthstar (Geastrum pectinatum)


Bear’s Head Tooth (Hericium americanum)


Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus)


Bitter Bolete (Tylopilus felleus)

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Black Knot (Apiosporina morbosa)


Black Morel (Morchella elata)

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Black Trumpet (Craterellus fallax)


Black Witches’ Butter (Exidia glandulosa)


Blue Chanterelle (Polyozellus multiplex)


Blue Cheese Polypore (Tyromyces caesius)


Boletus subcaerulescens


Brown Witches’ Butter (Tremella foliacea)


Calvatia bovista

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Cedar-apple Rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae)


Cedar-hawthorn Rust (Gymnosporangium globosum)


Cedar-quince Rust (Gymnosporangium clavipes)


Ceratocystis Canker of Bitternut Hickory (Ceratocystis smalleyi)


Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

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Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius)


Cherry Leaf Spot (Coccomyces hiemalis)

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Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)

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Chicken Fat Mushroom (Suillus americanus)


Chrome-footed Bolete (Harrya chromapes)

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Cinnabar Polypore (Pycnoporus cinnabarinus)


Clitocybe subconnexa


Clouded Funnel (Clitocybe nebularis)


Collared Earthstar (Geastrum triplex)

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Comb Tooth (Hericium coralloides)


Common Funnel (Clitocybe gibba)


Common Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus)


Confusing Bolete (Strobilomyces confusus)

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Cort (Cortinarius atkinsonianus)


Crimped Gill (Plicaturopsis crispa)

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Crowded Parchment (Stereum complicatum)


Crown Fungus (Sarcosphaera crassa)

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Crown Rust (Puccinia coronata)

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Crown-tipped Coral (Artomyces pyxidatus)


Crowned Earthstar (Geastrum coronatum)


Curtis’s Puffball (Vascellum curtisii)


Cytospora Canker (Valsa sordida)


Daisy Earthstar (Geastrum floriforme)


Dark-stalked Bolete (Leccinum atrostipitatum)

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Dead Man’s Fingers (Xylaria polymorpha)


Dead Man’s Foot (Pisolithus tinctorius)


Deadly Galerina (Galerina autumnalis)


Deadly Parasol (lepiota josserandii)


Death Cap (Amanita phalloides)


Deer Mushroom (Pluteus cervinus)


Destroying Angel (Amanita bisporigera)


Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa)

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Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus)


Early Morel (Verpa bohemica)


Elderberry Rust (Puccinia bolleyana)

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Elm Oyster (Hypsizygus ulmarius)

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Entomosporium Leaf Spot (Diplocarpon mespili)


Eyelash Cup (Scutellinia scutellata)

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Fairy Fingers (Clavaria fragilis)

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False Coral Fungus (Tremellodendron pallidum)

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False Morel (Gyromitra esculenta)

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False Tinder Fungus (Phellinus igniarius)

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False Turkey Tail (Stereum ostrea)


Fan-shaped Jelly Fungus (Dacryopinax spathularia)


Fire Blight (Erwinia amylovora)


Fluted White Elfin Saddle (Helvella crispa)

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Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)


Four-rayed Earthstar (Geastrum quadrifidum)


Freckled Dapperling (lepiota aspera)

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Fried Chicken Mushroom (Lyophyllum decastes)


Frost’s Amanita (Amanita frostiana)

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Gabled False Morel (Gyromitra brunnea)


Gem-Studded Amanita (Amanita gemmata)


Gem-Studded Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum)

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Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea)


Golden Ear (Tremella aurantia)


Golden Pholiota (Pholiota aurivella)

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Gray False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. grisea)


Green-spored Parasol (Chlorophyllum molybdites)


Gyromitra ambigua


Gyromitra fastigiata

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Hairy Bracket (Trametes hirsuta)

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Hairy Curtain Crust (Stereum hirsutum)

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Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa)


Hexagonal-pored Polypore (Polyporus alveolaris)

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Honey Mushroom (Armillaria mellea group)


Hooded False Morel (Gyromitra infula)


Horn of Plenty (Craterellus cornucopioides)

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Hygroscopic Earthstar (Astraeus hygrometricus)

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Indigo Milk Cap (Lactarius indigo)

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Inky Mushroom (Agaricus moelleri)


Inocybe mixtilis


Inocybe rimosa

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Jack-o’-Lantern Mushroom (Omphalotus illudens)


Jelly Ear Fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae)


Lacquered Bracket (Ganoderma lucidum)


Lactarius fuliginellus

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Late Oyster Mushroom (Panellus serotinus)


Lavender False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. lavendula)


Leaf Curl (Taphrina communis)


Lilac Bonnet (Mycena pura)


Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)


Lizard’s Claw Mushroom (Lysurus cruciatus)

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Lobster Mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum)

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Long-spined Puffball (Lycoperdon pulcherrimum)


Lurid Bolete (Boletus luridus)


Meadow Mushroom (Agaricus campestris)

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Mica Cap (Coprinellus micaceus)


Milk-white Toothed Polypore (Irpex lacteus)


Mossy Maze Polypore (Cerrena unicolor)


Mycosphaerella Leaf Spot (Mycosphoerello effiguroto)

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Northern Tooth (Climacodon septentrionalis)

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Oak Anthracnose (Apiognomonia errabunda)


Oak Leaf Blister (Taphrina caerulescens)


Oak Mazegill (Daedalea quercina)


Oak Wilt (Ceratocystis fagacearum)


Ochre Brittlegill (Russula ochroleuca)

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Old Man of the Woods (Strobilomyces strobilaceus)


Orange Jelly Fungus (Dacrymyces palmatus)

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Orange Peel Fungus (Aleuria aurantia)

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Orange-gilled Waxy Cap (Humidicutis marginata)

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Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)


Painted Bolete (Suillus spraguei)


Panther Cap (Amanita pantherina var. pantherina)

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Parrot Mushroom (Gliophorus psittacinus)


Peach-colored Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria var. persicina)

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Pear-shaped Puffball (Lycoperdon pyriforme)

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Peeling Puffball (Lycoperdon marginatum)


Peppery Milk Cap (Lactifluus piperatus)

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Phomopsis gall on hickory (Phomopsis spp.)


Phyllosticta Leaf Spot (Mycosphoerello fraxinicola)


Psathyrella cystidiosa


Psathyrella rhodospora


Pseudospiropes longipilus


Purple Bordered Leaf Spot (Phyllosticta minima)

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Purple-bloom Russula (Russula mariae)

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Purple-gilled Laccaria (Laccaria ochropurpurea)

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Purple-spored Puffball (Calvatia cyathiformis)

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Ravenel’s Stinkhorn (Phallus ravenelii)


Red-Belt Conk (fomitopsis pinicola)


Ringed Cone Head (Pholiotina rugosa)


Rounded Earthstar (Geastrum saccatum)


Russula sp.


Russula flavisiccans

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Russula paludosa

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Russula pulchra


Rust of Prickly Ash (Puccinia andropogonis var. xanthoxyli)


Rusty Gilled Polypore (Gloeophyllum sepiarium)

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Saffron Milk Cap (Lactarius deliciosus)


Sandy Laccaria (Laccaria trullissata)


Sarcosoma globosum


Scaly Rustgill (Gymnopilus sapineus)

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Scarlet Cup (Sarcoscypha austriaca)


Scarlet Waxy Cap (Hygrocybe punicea)


Septoria Leaf Spot (Septoria aceris)


Sessile Earthstar (Geastrum fimbriatum)

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Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus)


Shaggy Parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes)


Shaggy Pholiota (Pholiota squarrosa)

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Sharp-scaly Pholiota (Pholiota squarrosoides)


Shoehorn Oyster Mushroom (Hohenbuehelia petaloides)


Short-stemmed Russula (Russula brevipes)


Shrimp Russula (Russula xerampelina)


Slipery Jack (Suillus luteus)

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Small Stagshorn (Calocera cornea)

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Smoky Polypore (Bjerkandera adusta)


Smooth Patch (Aleurodiscus oaksii)

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Snow Morel (Gyromitra gigas)


Speckled Tar Spot (Rhytisma punctatum)


Spiny Puffball (Lycoperdon echinatum)

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Split Gill (Schizophyllum commune)


Stalked Orange Peel Fungus (Sowerbyella rhenana)

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Stalked Scarlet Cup (Sarcoscypha occidentalis)


Striate Earthstar (Geastrum striatum)


Strict-branched Coral Fungus (Ramaria stricta)


Suillus weaverae

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Tar Spot (Rhytisma acerinum)

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Tar Spot (Rhytisma americanum)


Tar Spot (Rhytisma salicinum)


Thick-Walled Maze Polypore (Daedalea quercina)


Thiers’ amanita (Amanita thiersii)

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Thin-Walled Maze Polypore (Daedaleopsis confragosa)


Tiny Earthstar (Geastrum minimum)


Toothed Jelly Fungus (Pseudohydnum gelatinosum)

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Trametes pubescens

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True Tinder Polypore (Fomes fomentarius)


Tubakia leaf spot (Tubakia dryina)

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Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)


Umbrella False Morel (Gyromitra sphaerospora)


Veiled Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus dryinus)


Veined Brown Cup Fungus (Disciotis venosa)


Vermilion Waxcap (Hygrocybe miniata)


Violet-pored Bracket Fungus (Trichaptum abietinum)


Violet-toothed Polypore (Trichaptum biforme)


White Chanterelle (Cantharellus subalbidus)

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White Cheese Polypore (Tyromyces chioneus)


White Coral Jelly Fungus (Tremella reticulata)

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White False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. alba)

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White Jelly Fungus (Ductifera pululahuana)

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White-Pored Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus cincinnatus)

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Witches’ Butter (Tremella mesenterica)

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Wood Blewit (Clitocybe nuda)


Woolly Inkcap (Coprinopsis lagopus)

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Wrinkled Peach (Rhodotus palmatus)

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Yellow Fairy Cup Fungus (Bisporella citrina)

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Yellow Morel (Morchella esculenta)


Yellow Stagshorn Fungus (Calocera viscosa)




No Species Page Yet?

If you do not see a linked page for a fungi in the list at left you can still upload a photo or video as an email attachment or report a sighting for that fungi. Click on one of the buttons below and type in the common name and/or scientific name of the fungi in your photo, video, or sighting. A new page will be created for that fungi featuring your contribution.


Capitalization of Common Names

Fungi common names are governed by International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN). According to the ICN, fungi common names can be either capitalized or not. In Britain fungi common names are governed by The British Mycological Society (BMS). The BMS formed a working party in 2005 to standardize common names of fungi. The project is ongoing, but a current checklist is available on the BMS Website. According to BMS, “the use of capitals for the English name in published texts will be to an extent determined by the publisher.” The BMS checklist uses capitalized common English language names. Most authors today also use capitalized common names for fungi. MinnesotaSeasons.com will adhere to the convention adopted by BMS.


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