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

Purple Bordered Leaf Spot

Phyllosticta minima is a common and widespread fungus. It occurs in eastern North America and west to the Great Plains. It causes a disease known as Purple Bordered Leaf Spot on maples. It infects mostly Amur, Japanese, red, and silver maple, but also mountain and sugar maple, and in other areas, Tartarian and sycamore maple.

The infected leaf develops small, round, tan spots with purple or brown margins. Tiny, black, pimple-like fruiting bodies form in each spot. The dead tissue in the middle of the spot sometimes breaks away, leaving a small hole.

Infections are most common in wet years and on the bottom third of the tree. Some infected leaves may eventually turn brown and drop off the tree, but most trees are able to withstand the infection. Control involves removing leaves with spots from the tree, and raking up and removing fallen leaves. That prevents further infections in the current growing season, and reduces the number of infected leaves that will overwinter.

  Purple Bordered Leaf Spot

Gilled Polypore

Gilled Polypore (Lenzites betulina) looks very much like a Turkey Tail but the pore surface on the underside has gills. It is widespread across Europe, Asia, and North and South America. In the United States it is very common from the East Coast to the Great Lakes states, south to Texas, and on the West Coast. It is less common in Minnesota where it is at the western edge of its range. It is found usually in overlapping rows or columns on logs and stumps of a wide variety of hardwoods, especially oak and willow.

The name Gilled Polypore sounds like an oxymoron but accurately describes this mushroom. The fruiting body is a small, fan-shaped to nearly round, shelf-like bracket. The upper surface is concentrically zoned with varying textures and and colors, and is densely hairy. The gills are white when young but darken as they age. The flesh is thin, tough, and inedible.

  Gilled Polypore
  Photo by Luciearl

Chicken Fat Mushroom

Chicken Fat Mushroom (Suillus americanus) is a widespread and very common “Slippery Jack” mushroom. It occurs in North America east of the Rocky Mountains. It is very common in the United States from the northeast to the Midwest, and in adjacent Canadian provinces. It is common Minnesota in the northeast, north-central, and metro regions. It grows on the ground, usually in groups but not clustered, exclusively under eastern white pine. It is found from mid-July to mid-September in mixed and coniferous forests and anywhere else its host is found.

When young, the cap is bright yellow, convex, and slimy. As it matures, the cap becomes broadly convex and sometimes has a small bump in the middle. The mature cap is sticky or slimy when moist, and frequently has reddish-brown scales, streaks, and/or patches, especially near the margin. The underside of the cap is a sponge-like pore surface.

Chicken Fat Mushroom is edible but the taste is not distinctive, and the cap becomes slimy when moistened. After removing the slimy skin and the spongy pore surface, there is little left to enjoy.

  Chicken Fat Mushroom

King Alfred’s Cakes

King Alfred’s Cakes (Daldinia concentrica) is a common fungus that occurs on all continents except Greenland and Antarctica. It grows on dead or dying deciduous wood, especially ash. The fruiting body is ball-shaped, stalkless, and hard. It is brown when young, black and shiny when mature. The surface is densely covered with minute, pimply bumps. These bumps are tiny, spore-bearing chambers just under the surface. When the spores are mature they burst open during the night and eject up to an inch or more large numbers of black spores. These spores are often visible on the bark near the fungus long after they have worn off the fruiting body.

The common name King Alfred’s Cakes refers to a story told about a British monarch. King Alfred fled from a battle and took refuge in a peasant woman’s house. The woman asked him to watch her cakes in the oven. Preoccupied with his own troubles, he let the cakes burn. This earned him a scolding from the woman who did not know her visitor was the king.

King Alfred’s Cakes is also called Coal Fungus, but not just for its appearance. An older, black specimen, when broken to expose the interior, will readily take a spark from a fire steel. Blow on the glowing spark and it will grow in size. Left alone, it will smolder for a long time. Placed against dry tinder and blown upon, it will ignite a fire. Another common name, “Cramp Balls”, refers to the belief that when carried in a pocket it can prevent or cure leg cramps.

  King Alfred’s Cakes
  Photo by Luciearl

Common Bird’s Nest

Common Bird’s Nest (Crucibulum laeve) is called that because it looks like a bird’s nest with several eggs. It occurs on all continents except Greenland and Antarctica. It may be the most common bird’s nest fungus in Canada and the northern two-thirds of the United States. It grows on sticks, wood chips, humus, vegetable debris, and manure. Although common, its small size makes it difficult to see.

The fruiting body is a very small bowl-shaped “nest” containing several tiny, egg-like capsules. When young, it is yellowish, densely hairy, and topped with a yellowish lid. Eventually, the outer surface sloughs off and the lid ruptures and disappears. The mature mushroom has a hairless, brown, shiny, outer surface, and a smooth, white inner surface. Inside the hollow nest are several tiny, white, circular, flattened capsules (eggs). The eggs are attached to the side of the nest by a long, thin, elastic, white cord that can be seen only with a hand lens, a needle, and a lot of patience. The eggs are disbursed by raindrops and wind. Common Bird’s Nest may be edible but is too small and tough to be worth the effort.

  Common Bird’s Nest
  Photo by Ginger Halverson

Other Recent Additions

Choke Disease of Grasses (Epichloe typhina)

Rust of Prickly Ash (Puccinia andropogonis var. xanthoxyli)

Oak Leaf Blister (Taphrina caerulescens)

Flowery Blewit (Lepista irina)

Trembling Phlebia (Phlebia tremellosa)

Handsome Club (Clavulinopsis laeticolor)

  Flowery Blewit








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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



Chicken of the Woods

Chicken Fat Mushroom

Common Bird’s Nest

Common Stinkhorn

Crowded Parchment

Crown-tipped Coral

Dead Man’s Fingers

Devil’s Stinkhorn

Dryad’s Saddle

Elegant Sunburst Lichen

Elm Oyster

Fairy Fingers

False Coral Fungus

False Tinder Fungus

False Turkey Tail

Fan-shaped Jelly Fungus

Flowery Blewit

Fly Agaric

Fried Chicken Mushroom

Gabled False Morel

Giant Puffball

Gilled Polypore

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

Oat Crown Rust

Old Man of the Woods

Orange-gilled Waxy Cap

Oyster Mushroom

Painted Suillus

Pear-shaped Puffball

Peeling Puffball

Phomopsis gall on hickory

Purple-spored Puffball

Ravenel’s Stinkhorn

Russula pulchra

Rust of Prickly Ash

Scarlet Cup

Scarlet Waxcap

Scarlet Waxy Cap

Shaggy Mane

Small Stagshorn

Smoky Polypore

Snow Morel

Split Gill

Stalked Scarlet Cup

Tar Spot (Rhytisma americanum)

Thin-Walled Maze Polypore

Trembling Phlebia

True Tinder Polypore

Turkey Tail

White Cheese Polypore

White False Death Cap

White Jelly Fungus

Witch’s Hat

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)


Aspen Bracket (Phellinus tremulae)


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)

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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)

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Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

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Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius)


Cherry Leaf Spot (Blumeriella jaapii)

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Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)

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Chicken Fat Mushroom (Suillus americanus)

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Choke Disease of Grasses (Epichloe typhina)


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)

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Common Bird’s Nest (Crucibulum laeve)


Common Funnel (Clitocybe gibba)

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Common Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum)

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Common Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus)


Confusing Bolete (Strobilomyces confusus)


Conifer Mazegill (Gloeophyllum sepiarium)

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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-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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Devil’s Stinkhorn (Phallus rubicundus)


Dung-loving Bird’s Nest (Crucibulum stercoreus)

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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)

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Flowery Blewit (Lepista irina)


Fluted Bird’s Nest (Crucibulum striatus)


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)


Funeral Bell (Galerina marginata)

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Gabled False Morel (Gyromitra brunnea)


Gem-Studded Amanita (Amanita gemmata)

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Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea)

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Gilled Polypore (Lenzites betulina)


Golden Ear (Tremella aurantia)


Golden Pholiota (Pholiota aurivella)

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Gray False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. grisea)


Green Beetle Hanger (Hesperomyces virescens)


Green Wood Cup (Chlorociboria aeruginascens)


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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Handsome Club (Clavulinopsis laeticolor)

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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)

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King Alfred’s Cakes (Daldinia concentrica)


Lacquered Bracket (Ganoderma lucidum)


Lactarius fuliginellus

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Late Oyster Mushroom (Panellus serotinus)


Lavender False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. lavendula)


Lead-grey Puffball (Bovista plumbea)


Leaf Curl (Taphrina communis)


Leaf Spot (Cerospora xanthoxyli)


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)

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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)

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Oak Leaf Blister (Taphrina caerulescens)


Oak Mazegill (Daedalea quercina)


Oak Wilt (Ceratocystis fagacearum)

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Oat Crown Rust (Puccinia coronata f. sp. avenae)


Ochre Brittlegill (Russula ochroleuca)

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Old Man of the Woods (Strobilomyces strobilaceus)


Orange Jelly Spot (Dacrymyces chrysospermus)

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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)

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Painted Suillus (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.)


Powdery Mildew (Phyllactinia guttata)


Phyllosticta Leaf Spot (Mycosphoerello fraxinicola)


Psathyrella cystidiosa


Psathyrella rhodospora


Pseudospiropes longipilus

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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)


Ruddy Puffball (Lycoperdon subincarnatum)


Russula sp.


Russula flavisiccans

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Russula paludosa

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Russula pulchra

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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)

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Scarlet Waxcap (Hygrocybe coccinea)


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)


Stem Canker (Diplodia natalensis)


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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Trembling Phlebia (Phlebia tremellosa)

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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)

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Velvet Foot (Flammulina velutipes)


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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Witch’s Hat (Hygrocybe conica)

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Wood Blewit (Clitocybe nuda)


Woolly Inkcap (Coprinopsis lagopus)


Wrinkled Crust (Phlebia radiata)

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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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