Questionable Mushrooms and How to Identify Them

armillaria tabescens, mushroom, ringed honey mushroom

For years I have observed this mushroom in our yard. First it started on the roots of a deceased cottonwood tree. Soon, I saw it come up on the shallow roots of silver maples as well. I’ve always wondered about this mushroom. What kind is it? Is it good for anything? Does it pose any danger to our livestock? I’m no expert on mushrooms and, it is hard to find time to research. My son gave me a couple of good books on mushroom identification. Yet, in those books I found a couple of mushrooms which seemed similar. I moved on to other things….

armillaria tabescens, ringed honey mushroom, backyard mycology, amateur mycology
Mushrooms come up everywhere. Are you ever curious about what they are?

… and this mushroom kept coming back.

Over the years I did take a number of pictures. Then, one day on Facebook I ran across mention of a group called “Mushroom Identification Page.” I joined. Then, within a couple of days I posted a picture of this mushroom and asked about it’s identity. Within an hour someone identified it for me: armillaria tabescens, or ringless honey mushroom. Once I had the scientific name I was able to corroborate the identification. Using  DuckDuckGo Search Engine I found a number of websites with mention of this fungus.’s Description

What did I learn?

  • This is supposed to be an easy mushroom to identify. My thanks to the expert on the “Mushroom Identification Page” who answered my query without any disparaging remarks.
  • It’s a common sight in yards, in much of our country.
  • Though it’s not killing my trees; it only appears to grow on roots of dead ones, it has been known to parasitize and kill trees.
  • It is “sort of an edible mushroom.” Armillaria tabescens has long been considered edible, if well cooked. Yet there is a small subset of the human population which has a really bad reaction to it, a reaction whose side affects can linger for six to eight weeks. Okay, I’ll put this information in my stash and leave it alone unless I’m in a starvation/survival scenario. Then I might consider it. Otherwise, I’m not touching it.
armillaria tabescens, ringless honey mushroom, micology, amateur micology
Gilled mushrooms aren’t always poisonous, but more often than not poisonous mushrooms are gilled.
  • In order to safely scavenge for edible mushrooms it is important to exercise extreme caution and learn from an expert.

For now, I’ll enjoy “mushroom watching!”



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