Mushrooms in Colorado come in all colors and shapes. There are over 50 different types of mushrooms found in the state. The most common mushrooms found in Colorado are oyster mushrooms, boletes, and chanterelles.
Below we’ll explore 31 types of wild mushrooms of Colorado, how to identify them, and some tips on preparation. If you are looking to go mushroom hunting, the information packed article below is perfect for you.
Edible mushrooms of Colorado
You must practice caution when hunting mushrooms. Only harvest fungi that you can properly identify or better hunt in the company of an experienced forager
1. Lobster mushrooms
Lobster mushrooms are a type of wild mushroom that can be mistaken for chanterelles. They get their name from their bright orange color, which is similar to that of a lobster. Where can you find these mushrooms?
They prefer areas where russula brevipes grow. Look around areas with pine trees, you’ll find them underneath pine pine needles. The bright orange color will be hard to miss.
When cut open, you’ll notice the white flesh.
Lobster mushrooms are edible, and they have a slightly sweet and nutty taste. They are often used in dishes like risotto or pasta.
2. Oyster mushrooms of Colorado
Another common type of mushroom in Colorado is the Oyster mushroom. They are a white or light-colored mushroom with a smooth, velvety texture and a delicate flavor.
Oyster mushrooms are often used in dishes like risottos, pasta dishes, and salads. They are also popular as an ingredient in vegan and vegetarian recipes. Oyster mushrooms can be found in aspen groves.
3. Hawk’s Wing (Sarcodon Imbricatus)
Hawk’s wing mushrooms or sarcodon imbricatus, is a species of fungus in the family bankeraceae. Also known as the shingled hedgehog or scaly hedgehog, this tooth fungus is found in areas with lots of stumps or deadwood.
The fruit bodies have a fan-shaped cap up to 12-inch wide, covered with small scales that are brownish at the tips and white elsewhere. The taste of the mushroom can be bitter.
Related Read: Check types of mushrooms in Georgia
4. Corn smut
Corn smut is a fungus that affects corn crops. It is also known as huitlacoche. The fungus causes the corn kernels to become black and swollen.
It can affect the entire ear of corn or just a few kernels. Corn smut is considered a delicacy. If you are looking to enjoy it for the first time, I recommend you mix it with onions, garlic, and epazote. Then enjoy tacos.
5. Giant western puffball
Giant western puffball or the Calvatia booniana is a large, edible mushroom found throughout Colorado. This fungus can grow up to one feet in diameter and weigh up to fifteen pounds!
Where can you hunt for the giant western puffball? Forage around sagebrush bushes and open fields in late summer through the first few weeks of fall.
The giant western puffball is white or light brown in color, and has a smooth, firm texture. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and has a slightly nutty flavor.
6. Saffron Milk cap
Saffron Milk caps are delicious, edible mushrooms that can be found in late summer and early fall. Also known as the delicious milkcap, these Colorado mushrooms are bright orange and turn green when bruised. The gills are orange while the stem is hollow when cut.
They mostly grow around coniferous trees. The taste is mild with a slightly sweet aftertaste. Milky caps are good eaten fresh, but can also be dried or frozen.
7. Orange peel Fungi
The orange peel mushroom (Aleuria aurantia) is a type of edible mushroom that is easy to identify. Found during summer and autumn, the mushroom has similar plumage to orange peels.
Its cap is cup shaped due to crowding. The taste of the mushroom is mild, with a slightly sour aftertaste. Orange peel mushrooms can be eaten fresh or cooked, and are often used in dishes such as soup.
8. King Bolete (Boletus Edulis)
Preferring elevated areas, the King bolete or Boletus Edulis is a favorite edible wild mushroom of many. It has a rich, earthy flavor and a meaty texture, and can be found under spruce trees.
Also known as Porcini these mushrooms are easy to identify due to their distinctive appearance: they have a convex cap and are a rusty brown color on top, and white or cream-coloured underneath.
They grow in clusters under trees and experienced mushroom hunters look for them in June through August, when they are in season.
King bolete mushrooms are best harvested in the autumn months when they are at their most flavorsome.
9. Bronze Bolete (Boletus aereus)
Boletus aereus is a species of mushroom that is edible, meaning it’s at the top of the list for most mushroom hunters. The mushroom can reach up to 12 inches in diameter and spots a violet-brown, dark brown convex cap.
This edible mushroom grows around oak trees and other broadleaf trees. The mushroom can be eaten fresh or cooked. If you have more than you need, you can dry them and store in an airtight jar.
10. Gem Studded Puffball Mushrooms in Colorado
Spotted a large football-like mushroom in your yard? A member of the puffball family, the gem studded puffball is also a large white mushroom that can be found in some backyards as well as forests. It’s slightly smaller than other members of its family with small spines on its surface.
It grows in plenty during summer and early fall. The mushroom is edible and you can fry or prepare an omelet and even pizza.
11. Colorado Chanterelle Mushrooms
Golden chanterelles are a type of mushroom that is found in the wild. They have a bright yellow-orange color and smell like apricots.
Golden chanterelles can be found on the ground where there is lots of moisture and around juniper bushes. They can be used in recipes or eaten raw. Golden chanterelles can be found from late summer to early fall.
12. Yellow Morel Mushrooms in Colorado
Yellow morels are a type of mushroom that is found in the spring (April-May). It is a popular edible mushroom that can be found in the wild or grown in a garden.
The yellow morel has a conical shape and is light brown to yellow in color. It has a smooth, pitted surface and a honeycombed cap. The yellow morel has a nutty flavor and is considered to be a delicacy.
13. Aspen oyster mushroom
Aspen oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus populinus) are a prolific and delicious mushroom that can be found growing on Aspen trees.
They have a white to light brown cap with a creamy white underside. Aspen oyster mushrooms are considered a delicacy, and can be eaten fresh or cooked.
14. Fairy ring
The common fairy ring mushroom, Marasmius oreades, is a small, nondescript mushroom that grows in grassy areas. It is one of the most easily recognized mushrooms, due to its distinctive ring-shaped fruiting body.
The caps are convex to broadly bell-shaped when young. They become flattened with age, and often have a wavy margin.
The gills are white to pale pink.
Fairy rings grow in association with grasses and other plants, and are also found in meadows, parks, gardens, and other grassy areas. It fruits from late summer to early winter, depending on the location. People do eat this mushroom but its not tasty compared to other picks on this list.
Also read: Most common mushrooms in Ohio
15. Russula decolorans
Russula decolorans is a common edible mushroom found throughout Colorado. It has a cream-colored cap that is typically smooth and slightly sticky to the touch. The cap unfolds as the mushroom ages and also turns brown.
The gills are also whitish without pigment. The stem is white and hollow. R. decolorans have a mild taste and can be eaten raw or cooked. You can find it around pine trees.
16. Sweet Tooth (Hydnum repandum)
Hedgehog Mushroom or sweet tooth or hydnum repandum, is a choice edible mushroom. The mushroom has a spore print and a smooth orange cap that grows up to 6 inches wide.
The white gills are attached to the stem. The stem is white and thick. The mushroom’s taste is described as being slightly sweet with a nutty aftertaste. Hydnum repandum can be eaten fresh or cooked.
17. Velvet Foot (Flammulina populicula)
Velvet foot mushroom or Flammulina populicula is a saprophyte that grows on the dead wood of trees, most commonly aspen trees. It is a small, thin mushroom that ranges in color from white to brown. The cap is typically 3-4 inches in diameter, and the stem is 2-3 inches long and thick.
The gills are close together and have a white to light brown color. Velvet has a mild taste and a slightly peppery smell. This mushroom is edible, but not considered to be very tasty.
18. Floccularia albolanaripes
Floccularia albolanaripes is a rare and beautiful mushroom that spots a yellow-brown cap. Their undersides are white with a thick stipe. These mushrooms grow in groups of four and can be found under pine and fir trees.
They are considered edible, but have a slightly bitter taste. They are perfect for stuffed mushroom recipes.
19. Ramaria largentii
Looking for coral mushrooms in Colorado? You can go wrong with the ramaria largentii.
It looks like a cauliflower and is mostly yellow. It’s really hard to miss. Where can you go mushroom foraging to get this beauty? This Colorado mushroom grows on the ground in wooded areas.
20. Flat topped Coral
Clavariadelphus truncatus or flat topped coral or club coral is a species of fungus in the family Clavariaceae.
The fruit body (mushroom) is a club-shaped or cone-shaped stalk up to 6 inches tall and 1-inch wide, with a small, round head at the tip. The surface is covered with small spines, and the color ranges from white to pale yellowish brown.
21. Stubby Brittlegill (Russula brevipes)
Russula brevipes is one of the most common mushrooms in Colorado. The lobster mushroom we looked at earlier uses it as a source of food.
The cap can grow up to 12 inches and its stipe is about 1.6 inches wide. The mushroom has a peppery taste, and is often used in cooking. Russula brevipes grows on the ground in dense groups, and can be found from late summer to early fall
22. Fused Polypore (Albatrellus confluens)
Also known as the fused polypore, the albatrellus confluens is a sweet scented mushroom that you can find in high elevations and mostly under conifers.
This fungus has a white to orange cap and a white stem. Like other Colorado mushrooms it’s mostly found in summer and fall.
23. Aspen Bolete Mushrooms
The Aspen Bolete is a fungus that we recommend only to those who have had it before. It’s edible but may cause issues to some. The Aspen Bolete has a smooth, brown-orange cap, and a gray-white stalk. This mushroom is also known as the orange caps or scaber stalk.
24. Shaggy mane
Shaggy mane is a wild mushroom that gets its common name from its shaggy, white cap. It is sometimes called the lawyer’s wig or the shaggy ink cap.
The shaggy mane mushroom is a saprophyte, meaning it decomposes dead plant material. It is often found in fields, pastures, and along roadsides. The mushroom has a long shelf life and can be stored in a paper bag for several days.
The shaggy mane mushroom is edible and can be cooked in a variety of ways. It has a mild flavor and most people enjoy it cooked or raw.
25. Mica Cap
Mica Cap mushrooms are a common and easily identifiable wild mushroom. It grows in fields and meadows, on lawns, and in other open areas. The cap is convex when young, but flattens out as it matures.
It is white to pale gray or tan, and has a smooth surface. The gills are also white, and they begin to blacken as the mushroom matures. The stem is slender and white, and it sometimes has a ring around it. Mica Caps can be eaten fresh or cooked.
Inedible Of Mushrooms In Colorado
26. Amanita Muscaria
Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric, is a poisonous and psychoactive mushroom. The mushroom contains the compound muscimol, which is psychoactive. It is red on top with white spots. It starts out with a dome-shaped cap that flattens as it matures.
27. False morels
False morels are a type of mushroom that can be easily mistaken for the edible morel mushroom.
However, false morels are toxic and can cause serious health problems. It is important to be able to tell the difference between true morels and false morels, as eating a false morel can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death.
28. Scaly Pholiota
This mushroom is a large, brown-white fungus with a white stalk. It is found in late summer and fall in deciduous forests.
The Scaly Pholiota is a gilled mushroom that is closely related to the common button mushroom. It can be distinguished from the button mushroom by its scales on the cap and its white stalk.
Final Thoughts of Mushrooms in Colorado
In conclusion, mushrooms can be found throughout Colorado in a variety of colors and sizes.
Some mushrooms are edible, but it is important to properly identify them before eating. For those who are interested in hunting mushrooms, we hope the resource will help you know what to bring to the table.
My name is Jenny. I’m the Chief Editor at Try Green Recipes and besides making yummy and healthy foods for my kids, grandkids, and friends. I’m new to the blogging world but I believe what I have to share is unique and will bring joy to your home. If you are adventurous and want try something tasty, let’s get started.