Last Updated - 2.24.2015
Edible Wild Mushrooms Commonly Found In Pennsylvania And Personally Eaten Regularly
Photo of winecap Stropharia
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Aborted Armillaria
Armillaria abortivum
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Formerly
Aborted entoloma

Almost Bluing
King Boletus

Boletus subcaerulescens

Artist's Conk
Ganoderma applanatum

Bear's Head Tooth
Hericium americanum

Birch Polypore
Piptoporus betulinus

Black Trumpets
Craterellus fallax

Blewits
Clitocybe nuda

Brick Caps / Brick Tops
Hypholoma sublateritium

Cauliflower Mushroom
Sparassis spathulata

Chicken of the Woods
Laetiporus sulphureus

Chaga
Inonotus obliquus

Comb Tooth
Hericium coralloides

Common Laccaria
Laccaria laccata

Corrugated Cap Milky
Lactarius corrugis

Dryad's Saddle
Polyporus squamosus

Giant Puffball
Langemannia gigantea

Golden Chanterelle
Cantharellus cibarius

Hedgehog Mushroom Big
Dentinum repandum

Hedgehog Little
Dentinum umbilicatum

Hen of the Woods
Grifola frondosa

Honey Mushrooms
Armilleria mellea

Horn of Plenty
Craterellus cornucopioides

Horse Mushroom
Agaricus arvensis

Hygrophorus Milky
Lactarius hygrophoroides

Lilac Bolete
Xanthoconium separans / Boletus separans

Lingzhi / Reishi
Ganoderma lucidum & G. tsugae

Lion's Mane / Old Man's Beard
Hericium erinaceus

Meadow Mushrooms / Pinkies
Agaricus compestris

Oyster Mushroom
Pleurotus ostreatus

Purple-gilled Laccaria
Laccaria ochropurpurea

Quilted Green Russula
Russula virescens

Red Chanterelle
Cantharellus cinnabarinus

Rooted Oudemansiella
Oudemansiella radicata

Shaggy Mane
Coprinus comatus

Smooth Chanterelle
Cantharellus lateritius

Tinder Fungus
Fomes fomentarius

Turkey Tail
Trametes versicolor / Coriolus versicolor / Polyporus versicolor

Two-colored Bolete
Boletus bicolor

Voluminous-latex Milky
Lactarius volemus

Winter Chanterelle
Cantharellus tubaeformis
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RARE FINDS and/or QUESTIONABLE

The Prince ? or Almond Mushroom ?
Agaricus augustus or A. subrufescens
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Wild Food Foraging
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Armillaria mellea

Honey Mushroom

It's human nature to cook too much of a good thing when found in abundance. That's what happens quite often with ' Honey Mushrooms ' because often when these are found you find them by a bag fulls ( and I mean BIG bags - paper type grocery bag ).
And, to make things even easier, when picking these in cooler weather you will not have much waste due to bug infestation so your bag will fill even easier/faster.
When you get them home all pristine and beautiful looking you will put too many in the skillet and ruin the sauté because honey mushrooms have a tendency to be mucilaginous, that is, they have a tendency to produce a thickish, slimey liquid. That turns some people off. It also causes some people to experience upset stomachs.
However, for those that know about these mushrooms the problem is quickly eliminated by briefly cooking in a bit of water and then discarding the water before sautéing.

These are great mushrooms for people that don't get upset stomachs from them or are not allergic. Like most foods not everyone can tolerate everything.
Honey mushrooms are reminiscent of Shitakes in appearance and texture. They hold their flavor well, they dry real good and canning these is a snap.

Honey mushrooms ( the name is because the cap color is usually some hue similar to honey ) are wood growing mushrooms, usually on stumps and old trunks.
Photo of a group of Honey Mushrooms on an old oak stumb

You will however find them growing away from stumps and trunks on occasion and you might think they are not honey mushrooms ( which is a distinct possibility ) but it is also likely that those are still honey's but growing on tree roots or wood just under the soil, like buried limbs, twigs or branches.

Photo of a group of Honey Mushrooms with a definite hairy cap surface
 
Honey mushrooms can be very deceiving as far as their appearance is concerned. There are dozens of variations in the brown hue, from a light chamois to a definite brown.
Some will be generously covered with fibrils ( fine little hairs ) on the cap.
Photo demonstrating the fibrils ( fine hairs ) on this group of honey mushroom caps.
 
And some not.
Some will be very light in color and the fibrils all but gone or flattened so much as to be hard to see.
In wet weather it sometimes happens that some of the fibrils get washed off.
Photo of a lighter colored cap variety of honey mushrooms. Also showing the veil remnants drooping below the cap margins ( the cottony white ).

Because of the many different looking hues, appearances and tree hosts some guides say that honey mushrooms are a 'complex' of at least 14 different types. Some say there are two main types, an early variety before the leaves turn and a later variety as the leaves start to fall. Nevertheless, there are so many similarities that it should not be overly difficult to determine that it is an Armillaria mellea variety that is being viewed.

Spore color is one of the most important features in mushroom identification. In honey mushrooms it is often possible to see the spore color because it's cespitose growth nature usually results in overhanging mushroom caps depositing spores on lower caps.

In the photo below, a closer view of the first photo above, you can see the spores ( being either very light yellow or whitish ) deposited on the lower cap's surface.
Photo of a group of honey mushrooms on stump showing the spores deposited on lower caps

Gills are attached to the stalk, sometimes slightly decurrent ( descending the stalk ).
Gill color is whitish with a hint of tan ( light cream ) getting darker with age. Also there will often be areas in the gills with dark spots.


In the photo below two fine examples display their gill color, the long fibrous nature of the stalk and the ring around the stalk. The stalk will be durable.
Indeed, it is recommended that the stalk not be eaten due to the toughness. Best to cut it off close to the cap and discard it.
Photo of two honey mushrooms demonstrating the gill color and stalk features.

In the photo below you can see the cottony white veil remnants drooping down from the cap's margin. Having a veil is another important feature. The dropped veil leaves behind the superior ring on the stalk. The ring is delicate therefore it sometimes is not there. Careful observation however sometimes finds it laying at the bottom of the stalk, like a crumpled up skirt.
Photo of cap surface on wet honey mushrooms demonstrating the delicate nature of the fibrils and the slippery nature when wet.

Here in southwest Pennsylvania you will find varieties of these honey mushrooms from late August to late October, longer if the weather remains wet and mild.
I particularly like picking them in mid September, if the weather has been cooperating.



Best practice:
    Do what I have been doing for 35 years - pick only the perfect prototype:

1. First off, if they are not growing on wood I will not bother with them.
2. If they are growing on wood then I want to find a spore deposit somewhere in the group that is
    whitish or very light yellowish. I know that once I see the whitish spore deposit I will not be
    picking Poisonous Gales ( Galerina autumnalis ), Laughing Gyms ( Gymnopilus spectabilis ) and
    Pholiota species.
3. I like hairy honeys! I want definite fibrils ( little hairs ) on the cap. I know they can be washed off
    under the right conditions but I figure there are so many other good mushrooms out there,
    possibly even other honey mushroom patches with definite hairy caps, that it is not worth it to be
    taking chances.
4. I also check to see there is a veil on the young specimens or a ring on the stalk for the slightly
    older ones.
5. I also make sure the stalk is tough. You can tell the toughness by just bending it. In many
    mushrooms the stalk will break off near the cap. Not in honey mushrooms. You will need to cut
    the stalk off or you will mutilate the mushroom trying to neatly break off the stalk.
6. Cut off the stalk near the cap and collect only the pristine smaller mushrooms, similar in size to
    the ones I am holding in the photo above. They will have the best quality.
7. Also I like to pick my honey mushrooms that are growing on old hardwood trees, if it can be
    determined. Often it can. Sometimes not. If not I leave them.
    It's the same thing I do with 'chicken of the woods' mushrooms ( Laetiporus sulphureus ).


Armillaria mellea - A/K/A - Honey Mushrooms.
DATE - Late August through October.
FOUND - 'Laurel Hill State Park, Forbes State Forest near Kregar, Pa., Stahlstown, Pa. and Linn Run State park.
Growing in mixed hardwoods with mostly beech and oak.

Wet weather conditions in the Fall usually result in these being found in abundance. The Fall of 2010 was not one of the better years for honey mushrooms.

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