Arizona is an exciting destination for mushroom hunters as it offers a wide range of species from both the desert and forested regions.
With over 100 species of fungi identified in the state, ranging from edible to inedible, Arizona offers plenty of opportunities for adventurers and nature enthusiasts to explore the unique diversity of its fungal population.
What are the common Arizona Mushrooms are wood blewits, yellow and black morels, puffballs, and chanterelles.
Below we’ll look at over 10 common fungi species in AZ, where to go mushroom hunting in Arizona and more.
List of Arizona Mushrooms
What are morel mushrooms in Arizona? Common varieties include:
Morchella tridentina: Western Blond or Mountain Blond are one of the most common mushrooms of Arizona. One key characteristic that sets Western blonds apart from other black morels is they turn paler in maturity.
Morchella sextelata: Recently discovered, morchella sextelata is an Arizona morels that can be identified by their vertical pits. Unlike the western blond, this new morel turns darker to almost black in maturity.
Morchella snyderi: One key feature of M. snyderi is its cap, which is shaped like a honeycomb and can vary in color from tan to brownish-gray. The cap also has ridges and pits that are irregularly arranged throughout its surface. Another important feature is the stem, which is typically white or cream-colored with a hollow center that runs through its length.
Morchella americana: When trying to identify Blonde Morels, look at the color and texture of its cap. The caps are paler with deep pits. They typically grow in ash trees in spring.
Morchella tomentosa: Black foot morels prefer conifer burnt sites. Also known as gray morels they have egg-shaped caps with denser pits and ridges. Caps ranges from sooty to black.
Morchella elata: Also called black morel, this prized Arizona Morel that has a distinctly conical or elongated shape that sets it apart from other morels with rounder caps. Additionally, the cap should have deep pits and ridges that are irregular in size and distribution.
Morchella esculenta: Yellow morels have a more rounder cap compared to black morels. Their pits are darker compared to the ridges. Caps color ranges from pale brown to yellowish.
2. Cryptoporus Volvatus
Polypores are unmistakable and these small shelf fungi are no different. Cryptoporus volvatus are easy to pick out.
Preferring burnt conifers, these polypores have small fruiting bodies. They grow to about 2.5 inches across and are cream or yellowish in color. The surface is glossy. Like other polypores, they dont have stems. These small polypores are common from summer to fall.
Chanterelles are common edible mushrooms of Arizona. There are three common varieties.
Cantharellus roseocanus: Common in the West, these chanterelles grow under shore pines and sitka spruce trees. They grow in loose clusters on the ground. They are bright yellow with funnel shaped fruiting bodies. Their flesh is white and doesn’t stain.
Cantharellus formosus: Pacific golden chanterelles fruit from July lasting to December. They have the same look as other yellow chanterelles; funnel-like caps with inrolled margins. On the underside, these yellow Arizona mushrooms grow false gills that run down the 3-inch stem.
Cantharellus cibarius: Golden chanterelles can be paired with many ingredients. Where can you find golden chanterelles in Arizona? They grow in hardwood forests. Note their apricot-like aroma that will help you distinguish them from jack-o-lanterns.
4. Peeling Puffballs (Lycoperdon Marginatum)
What are the white mushrooms of Arizona? Lycoperdon marginatum, also called peeling puffballs, have easy-to-identify fruiting bodies.
These unique fungi get their name from their ability to peel away in layers, revealing a soft and spongy interior. They typically have pear-shaped fruiting bodies that can range from 0.4-2 inches in diameter.
The white outer layer has short white spines that turn brownish with age. Also, as this white Arizona mushroom appears, the spines are blown away, leaving it ‘bald’. You can find them from June.
Also read: New Mexico fungi identification
5. Skull-Shaped Puffball (Calvatia Craniiformis)
Arizona is home to different types of puffballs. Skull-shaped puffballs have unique distinctive fruiting bodies that make it easy to pick them out from other mushrooms in AZ.
It has a unique shape and distinct features that make it stand out from other species of fungi. With its whitish-gray exterior and white to cream flesh on the inside, this mushroom can be found growing in large clusters on dead wood and grassy areas.
Also, its distinct shape resembles a skull with deep grooves. This puffball species is edible. Young skull-shaped puffballs are dried and ground.
6. Dune Stinkhorn (Phallus hadriani)
Like smelly mushrooms? Dune stinkhorns live up to their name. Common in parks, gardens and yards, you can identify them by:
One of the best ways to identify a dune stinkhorn mushroom is by its distinctive smell. These mushrooms have a strong odor similar to rotting meat or fish that is often described as unpleasant or offensive.
In addition to their distinct aroma, dune stinkhorns have a unique appearance that sets them apart from other fungi species. The fungus produces a long stem that can reach up to 7.9 inches in height, topped by a bell-shaped morels-like cap. Dune stinkhorns are classified as edible if you can stand the smell!
7. Omphalotus Illudens (Jack-o’lantern Mushrooms)
Omphalotus illudens, colloquially called Jack-o’-Lantern mushrooms are also common in Arizona. As a mushroomer, you need to tell them apart from the chanterelles above.
The scientific name of this species is derived from its bright orange color that resembles a flickering light at night, resembling a traditional jack-o’-lantern.
The Jack-o’-Lantern mushroom has several distinct physical characteristics for easy identification. Its gills are particularly notable as they are a bright orange in color and light up at night; luminescent. Another notable difference between these yellow mushrooms and Arizona chanterelles is jack-o’lanterns grow on tree stumps, never on the ground like chanterelles, and their caps are larger, growing to 10 inches in diameter.
8. Desert Shaggy Mane (Podaxis pistillaris)
Podaxis pistillaris is a type of mushroom that belongs to the order Agaricales. It is commonly known as the stalked puffball but mycologists have observed it resembles shaggy manes more than puffballs, giving them their other name; desert shaggy manes.
These Arizona desert mushrooms have a distinctive shape, with a long, wood stem that can reach up to 5.9 inches in height and canonical caps.
Note, this desert mushroom is mostly found in the Australian wild where desert tribes harvest them and use the black ink-like substance to dye their hair and paint their bodies.
Related Read: Check Utah mushrooms
9. Firerug Inkcap (Coprinellus Domesticus)
In the inkcap family, the firerug inkcap stands out.
Most inkys grow gregariously on the ground. However, what makes the firerug inkcap unique from other fungi in its family is the orange shaggy carpet that always appears around them wherever these inkcaps grow.
The carpeting is known as ozonium. Their fruiting bodies grow to 3.9 inches tall and have an oval shaped cap that becomes broadly convex with maturity.
10. Clitocybe Nuda
Common in Arizona, the clitocybe nuda, colloquially called wood blewit, is an edible purple mushroom with a unique look and texture.
Young blewits are easy to recognize. They are about 3-7 inches in diameter with inrolled margins. Also, they have a gorgeous purple hue that is unmistakable.
As blewits age, the caps become flatter and color changes from purplish to brownish. At this stage, the caps measure anywhere from 8-12 inches. When cut, their flesh is purple and does not change.
What do blewits smell like? Most foragers have described their smell as frozen citrus juice; sweet and fragrant. Also check their spore print; it should be pinkish.
11. Pleurotus Dryinus (Veiled Oysters)
What mushrooms grow on decaying wood in Arizona? Oyster mushrooms. The pleurotus dryinus or commonly called veiled oyster mushrooms are rare mushrooms of Arizona that are closely related to the pearl oyster below.
The most recognizable characteristic of a veiled oyster is its soft cream or white cap with white gills underneath; this cap can range from 2 to 5.9 inches in diameter. The texture of the cap should also feel velvety when touched. Additionally, this species has a white stem.
Veiled oysters are rare. You can find them on oaks, chestnuts and beech trees. Like other oysters, these white Arizona mushrooms are loved for their mealy texture.
12. Pleurotus ostreatus (Pearl Oysters)
Another type of oyster mushroom in Arizona that is edible is the pearl oyster. Like shelf mushrooms, this fungus grows on trees particularly beech.
Pearl oysters are popular edible mushrooms that have unique fan-shaped or shelf-shaped caps with gills that run down the stem. The cap can range in color from whitish to gray to brown and can grow up to 11.7 inches in diameter. The stem of the oyster mushroom is usually short and thick, with a white to light brown color.
What can you do with oysters?
Sauteed Oyster Mushrooms
-6-8 oyster mushrooms
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-1/4 tsp. black pepper
-1/4 tsp. garlic powder
-1/4 tsp. onion powder
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-1 tbsp. lemon juice
– Preheat oven (375 degrees F)
– In large skillet,heat oil (medium heat)
– Add the mushrooms, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and chicken broth.
– Cook until the mushrooms are tender and the sauce has thickened, about 8 minutes.
– Stir in lemon juice before serving.
13. Hohenbuehelia Petaloides (Shoehorn Oyster)
Hohenbuehelia petaloides, commonly referred to as the shoehorn oyster mushroom, is an edible species of fungus that is common in parks, laws and sometimes can grow in flowerpot like the flowerpot parasol.
They often grow on wood debris in tight clusters. These oysters are common from summer to fall. The fruiting body is funnel shaped or shoe horn-shaped; cap is 1.2-3.5 inches wide. The fairly bald surface can be sticky in young species.
Like other oysters, the gills are crowded and run down the stem. Shoehorn oysters are also called leaflike oysters.
14. Pholiota Squarrosa (Shaggy Scalycap)
Pholiota squarrosa, commonly referred to as the Shaggy Pholiota, is a clustered fungus that grows on trees.
This species has a creamy-brown cap with shaggy scales that start near the center and radiate outward. The cylindrical stem has nearly the same color as the cap, but can vary from light yellowish-brown to brown. It also has noticeable dark scales.
Below its scaly surface, this mushroom’s flesh is whitish and firm. Its gills are close together and are gray or yellowish in color. It also sometimes produces a slimy ring on its stem below the cap’s margin due to slime glands on its gill edges which exude droplets of moisture during wet weather or when touched.
Shaggy scalycaps are inedible.
15. Lactarius Indigo (Blue Milk mushroom)
Lactarius indigo is a unique and recognizable fungus of Arizona. It is locally called blue milk mushrooms or indigo milkcap.
This mushroom has a distinctive blue hue that sets it apart from other species. Young blue milk mushrooms are indigo blue with incurved margins. When sliced, this lactarius bleeds, producing a bluish liquid. Its blue flesh turns greenish after some time. With age, the inrolled margins flatten and then turn upwards, giving the mushroom a vase shape.
Also, the blue fades to bluish gray. Are blue milk mushrooms edible? Yes, be sure to pick young fungi. Their flavor is similar to button mushrooms.
Where can you find milkcaps in Arizona? Check around pines, particularly white pines. Check from July to October.
16. Helvella Crispa (Elfin Saddle)
Helvella crispa, or elfin saddles, are common and easily identifiable mushroom species found in grassy areas.
With its distinctive shape and color, elfin saddle or common helvel can be identified by its irregular shaped or saddle-shaped cap which ranges in color from white to creamish to yellowish.
Its ornately ribble stem stands at about 4 inches tall for mature elfin saddles. It also has a pleasant smell and whitish flesh. But note, elfin saddles are inedible.
17. Hygrophoropsis Aurantiaca (False Chanterelle)
Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca, commonly called false chanterelle, is a member of the Hygrophoropsis genus, which consists of over 15 species of mushrooms.
As its name suggests, false chanterelles look like golden chanterelles. They have an intense orange hue to their caps and stems. However, unlike golden chanterelles which are typically more yellow in coloration, false chanterelles tend to be more reddish-orange.
Also these False chanterelles can easily be identified by their funnel-shaped cap that ranges from two to five inches in diameter when mature. The cap has a waxy texture. Also note, these species have true gills while their lookalikes have false gills. The hygrophoropsis aurantiaca are inedible.
18. Phaeolus Schweinitzii (Dyer’s Polypore)
What are the polypores of Arizona? Phaeolus schweinitzii, commonly called the velvet-top polypore or dyer’s polypore, is a species of shelf fungus that occur from late summer to fall.
This mushroom has many unique features that make it easy to identify, including its distinct shape and color.
One of the key features of dyer’s polypore is its concrentric zones. Each cap is fan-shaped and can range in color from reddish-brown to olive-brown. The pores on the underside of the cap are small and orangish yellow, which help distinguish it from other polypores.
How can you use dyer’s polypore? It has a tough texture that makes it ideal for use in crafting projects, such as making dyes.
19. Artomyces Pyxidatus (Crown-tipped Coral)
Are there coral mushrooms in Arizona? Artomyces pyxidatus or crown-tipped corals are distinctive fungi of Arizona.
One key characteristic of crown-tipped coral is its crown-like structure at the top of each fruiting body. This feature is often described as looking like a miniature forest canopy. The coloration of the mushrooms can vary from pale yellow to tan, depending on factors such as age and environmental conditions. Another important trait to look for is the texture of the fruiting bodies – they should feel firm when gently touched.
Where can I find mushrooms in Arizona?
Firstly, check out the Kaibab National Forest. This forest is home to a variety of edible mushrooms such as chanterelles, boletes, and morels. Another great place to explore is Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks, which boasts an array of wild mushrooms like coral fungi. Additionally, Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona is known for its robust mushroom population including hen-of-the-woods and oyster mushrooms.
Another place you can search is at farmers’ markets. Many local farmers grow and sell mushrooms such as shiitake, oyster, and portobello. You can also check out specialty food stores or gourmet grocers for a wider selection.
If you’re looking for a more organized way to hunt for mushrooms, consider joining a local mycology club like the Arizona Mushroom Society. Members share information about mushroom identification and host group hunts throughout the state. With these options available, finding delicious mushrooms in Arizona is easier than you might think!
Can you eat phoenix oyster mushrooms?
The good news is that phoenix oyster mushrooms are completely safe to eat! Whether you cook them up in a stir-fry, add them to soups or stews, or simply sauté them with butter and garlic, there are countless ways to enjoy these flavorful fungi.
What is the purple mushroom in Arizona?
Entoloma occidentale. It is a type of purple mushroom found primarily in western North America. Its unique features and characteristics make it a popular subject for both amateur and professional mycologists alike. Recently, there have been reports of Entoloma occidentale sightings in Arizona, which has sparked interest among those who study fungi.
Although there have been scattered sightings of Entoloma occidentale in Arizona, it remains to be seen whether or not the species will establish itself more permanently in this region.
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.