5 Most Common Edible Mushrooms in Missouri

Most Common Edible Mushrooms in Missouri
The top edible mushrooms you’ll find on your adventures in Missouri are puffballs, chanterelles, and shaggy mane. But, of course, Missouri is a bountiful home of wild fungi for mushroom hunters.

What Mushrooms are Edible in Missouri?

There’s a reason Missouri is known as a hotbed for fungi growing activity.

The list includes:

1. Puffballs (Lycoperdon and Calvatia)

Although at the top of the list, puffballs do not belong to the mushroom species or any of its genera’. As its name suggests, puffballs are just ball-shaped mushrooms with spores on their interior that look like a puffball.

You may think you’ve seen a golf ball or baseball lying on the ground, but it’s most likely a puffball.

Puffballs vary in nature; some boast spores that break open and others that puff when mature. Please ensure you eat puffballs only when young, are completely white inside and have no gills. Consume before the spores mature, as only young puffballs are edible.

Lycoperdon Perlatum
Lycoperdon perlatum

You’ll often find puffballs from late summer (July) to fall (October). They usually grow in clusters or singly in pastures, open woods, lawns, decaying woods, or barren soil areas.

Puffballs taste great as a meat alternative in stirfries and burgers, with a texture similar to tofu.

Always cook them before eating. Many choose to bake, boil, roast, or fry puffballs in butter.

I recommend the following recipe:

2. Shaggy Mane (Coprinus Comatus)

When young, the shaggy mane is a white mushroom with a cylindrical and shaggy cap. As the shaggy mane ages, its cylindrical shape turns to a bell shape, with white scales that become brownish and upturned, with black spores.

The shaggy mane is often seen in many scattered individuals on lawns and roadsides during fall (September to October).

Shaggy mane mushrooms (Coprinus comatus)
Shaggy mane mushrooms

Shaggy mane mushrooms are only edible if prepared before they turn inky black. Again, eat in moderation at first and always thoroughly cook before eating.

Most people like to fry their shaggy mane mushrooms.

I recommend the following recipe:

3. Chanterelles (Cantharellus)

Chanterelles are pretty easy to identify with their trumpet shape, wave edges, and spores that sit outside the trumpet bell. In addition, it often appears ridged or reigned, without gills.

Bright orange, yellow, or reddish-orange is usually the color chanterelles sport. Some have a fruity, pleasant fragrance.

Cut the mushroom in half lengthways to reveal the center, which should be completely white.

You’ll usually find four species of the Cantharellus genus in Missouri, including;

  • Golden chanterelle (C. cibarius)
  • Smooth chanterelle (C. lateritius)
  • Small chanterelle (C. minor)
  • Red chanterelle (C. cinnabarinus)

Look for chanterelles in the summer and fall, where they grow on the ground in grass or leaf litter in hardwood forests.

The easiest way to cook chanterelles is to fry them in a bit of butter or boil them for about 20 to 25 minutes.

I recommend the following recipes:

Watch our video on when and where to look for chanterelles.

4. Morels

Morels are a well-known edible mushroom among mushroom hunters. You must be careful when mushroom hunting for edible mushrooms in Missouri. Morels can make people sick when confused for the poisonous mushroom false morel or when prepared incorrectly.

Morels are easy to spot with their clear, pitted, and thimble-shaped cap, with a few other distinctive features. Because many morels look like each other, they can be hard to identify.

Three of these species are:

  • M. Americana
  • M. angusticeps
  • M. punctipes

But in general, you’ll spot morels with the honeycombed cap and black to brownish-black ridges and yellowish-brown pits. Long and conical caps also sport vertically elongated ridges and pits, whereas the spores are inside the pits and appear white or cream-colored.

Morels grow on the ground in various habitats, including river bottoms and moist woodlands, often near ash trees, apple trees, and dying elms.

To get the best taste out of your morels, sear them in oil on high heat, like any other mushroom. The morel will brown nicely; you can continue softening them on a lower heat.

Be careful with adding butter, as it could burn this edible mushroom before the morels are brown enough.

I recommend the following recipes:

Watch our video to learn all about how to find, forage, and identify morel mushrooms!

5. Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus)

As another easy-to-spot edible mushroom in Missouri, the chicken of the woods has a bright-orange cap with no stalk and a flat, shelflike fleshy texture. When young, the color is vibrant, paling to a lighter salmon or peach shade when younger. The spore print is white.

Look for chickens of the woods on dead or dying hardwood trees, buried roots, and stumps of living trees from summer to high (May to November). Unless the weather conditions are optimal, you are unlikely to find them in the spring.

Chicken of the woods
Chicken of the woods, author: Kbh3rd at Wiki

Although the chicken of the woods fungus is edible, it does not agree with everyone. So, perhaps eat in moderation if you have not previously eaten this mushroom.

To tenderize chicken of the woods enough to eat, most people prefer to sauté or slow boil.

I recommend the following recipe:

What Mushrooms are Poisonous in Missouri?

A handful of non-edible mushrooms in Missouri can make you very ill when consumed. Be sure to avoid the below list of Missouri’s wild mushrooms.

  1. False morels (Helvella and Gyromitra)
  2. Jack-o’-lantern mushrooms (Omphalotus olearius)
  3. Destroying angel (Amanitas)
  4. Little brown mushrooms (little gray birds), like the most dangerous autumn skullcap or Galerina marginata
  5. Green-spored lepiota (Chlorophyllum molybdites)

Check our video on the 7 most poisonous mushrooms growing in the US (mushroom details and ingestion symptoms included)!

Foraging Tips

Now you can see why the Missouri conservation department recommends exercising caution when eating what could be potentially poisonous mushrooms.

Because some of Missouri’s wild mushrooms are poisonous, follow the below-foraging tips when mushroom hunting.

  1. Always do your research.
  2. Always check and double-check which mushroom you are picking, plucking, or preparing.
  3. Always have your field guide with you for mushroom identification.
  4. Try a small amount first to find out how the mushroom affects you.
  5. Only eat fresh, as the wild edible mushrooms in Missouri usually have a short shelf life.
  6. Always know how to prepare your wild mushrooms and whether or not they can be eaten raw.


Getting into the great, wet outdoors in search of edible plants, herbs, fruits and fungi is one of Sarah’s favorite outdoor pursuits. She thinks there’s nothing better than combining her passion for hiking with the start of the foraging season. Sarah’s definitely not afraid of a little rain and dirt, it’s all part of the fun.

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