12 Common Mushrooms In Colorado: Edible & Poisonous


Mushrooms are a fascinating and diverse group of organisms that can be found all over the world, including in Colorado.

While many people may think of mushrooms as simply a pizza topping or a side dish, they are actually an important part of many cultures and cuisines.

In this article, we will explore the world of edible and poisonous mushrooms in Colorado, providing tips for identifying and foraging for mushrooms, as well as information on the most popular edible and dangerous mushrooms found in the state. 

Key Takeaways

  • Colorado is home to a diverse array of edible and poisonous mushrooms.
  • Some of the most popular edible mushrooms in Colorado include morels, oysters, porcinis, chanterelles, matsutakes, lobster mushrooms, and shrimp russulas.
  • Some of the most dangerous mushrooms in Colorado include the destroying angel, Galerina marginata, Gyromitra infula, Amanita bisporigera, and Amanita pantherina.
  • It is important to be able to identify both edible and poisonous mushrooms in order to avoid accidental ingestion.
  • Foraging for mushrooms in Colorado can be a fun and rewarding activity, but it is important to do so safely and responsibly.
  • Educating yourself, knowing the terrain, looking for signs of decay, using all your senses, and being cautious are all important tips for identifying and foraging for mushrooms in Colorado.
  • Always be aware of any regulations or restrictions on mushroom foraging in your area, and follow them carefully.
  • Remember to only eat mushrooms that you are absolutely certain are safe to consume, and seek medical attention immediately if you suspect that you or someone else has ingested a poisonous mushroom.

Edible Mushrooms in Colorado

Mushrooms In Colorado

Colorado is home to a wide variety of edible mushrooms, each with its own unique flavor and texture.

Here are some of the most popular edible mushrooms found in Colorado:

  1. Morels – Morels are one of the most sought-after mushrooms in Colorado, prized for their rich, nutty flavor and meaty texture. They are typically found in the spring, growing in moist areas near trees and other vegetation.
  2. Oysters – Oyster mushrooms are another popular edible mushroom in Colorado, known for their delicate, slightly sweet flavor and velvety texture. They can be found year-round, growing on dead or dying trees.
  3. Porcinis – Porcini mushrooms are a meaty, flavorful mushroom that is popular in Italian cuisine. They are typically found in the summer and fall, growing near coniferous trees.
  4. Chanterelles – Chanterelles are a delicate, trumpet-shaped mushroom with a fruity, slightly peppery flavor. They are typically found in the summer and fall, growing in moist areas near trees and other vegetation.
  5. Matsutakes – Matsutake mushrooms are a highly prized mushroom in Japanese cuisine, known for their spicy, earthy flavor and meaty texture. They are typically found in the fall, growing near coniferous trees.
  6. Lobster mushrooms – Lobster mushrooms are a unique, bright orange mushroom that is actually a parasitic fungus that grows on other mushrooms. They have a meaty, slightly sweet flavor and can be found in the fall, growing on a variety of different mushrooms.
  7. Shrimp russulas – Shrimp russulas are a small, delicate mushroom with a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a crunchy texture. They are typically found in the summer and fall, growing in moist areas near trees and other vegetation.

When foraging for edible mushrooms in Colorado, it is important to be cautious and to only eat mushrooms that you are absolutely certain are safe to consume.

It is also important to be aware of any regulations or restrictions on mushroom foraging in your area, as some areas may be off-limits or require a permit.

Poisonous Mushrooms in Colorado

While there are many delicious and safe-to-eat mushrooms in Colorado, there are also a number of poisonous mushrooms that can cause serious harm or even death if ingested.

Here are some of the most dangerous mushrooms found in Colorado:

1. Destroying angel – The destroying angel is a deadly mushroom that is responsible for the majority of mushroom-related deaths in North America. It is a white, gilled mushroom that is often mistaken for an edible mushroom, such as a puffball or a meadow mushroom.

2. Galerina marginata – Galerina marginata is a small, brown mushroom that is highly toxic. It is often found growing on decaying wood and can be mistaken for an edible mushroom, such as a honey mushroom.

3. Gyromitra infula – Gyromitra infula is a brain-like mushroom that is highly toxic. It is often found growing in disturbed areas, such as burned forests or clearcuts.

4. Amanita bisporigera – Amanita bisporigera is a white, gilled mushroom that is highly toxic. It is often mistaken for an edible mushroom, such as a meadow mushroom or a puffball.

5. Amanita pantherina – Amanita pantherina is a brown, gilled mushroom that is highly toxic. It is often mistaken for an edible mushroom, such as a portobello or a shiitake.

It is important to be able to identify these and other poisonous mushrooms in Colorado in order to avoid accidental ingestion.

Symptoms of mushroom poisoning can range from mild gastrointestinal distress to liver and kidney failure, and can be fatal in some cases.

If you suspect that you or someone else has ingested a poisonous mushroom, seek medical attention immediately.

Tips for Foraging and Identifying Mushrooms in Colorado

Mushrooms In Colorado

Foraging for mushrooms in Colorado can be a fun and rewarding activity, but it is important to do so safely and responsibly.

Here are some tips for identifying and foraging for mushrooms in Colorado:

  1. Educate yourself – Before you start foraging for mushrooms, it is important to educate yourself on the different types of mushrooms that can be found in Colorado. There are many resources available, including field guides, online forums, and local mycological societies.
  2. Know the terrain – Different types of mushrooms grow in different types of terrain. For example, morels are often found in moist areas near trees, while chanterelles are often found in drier areas near oak trees. Knowing the terrain that different mushrooms prefer can help you narrow down your search.
  3. Look for signs of decay – Many edible mushrooms grow on dead or decaying wood, while many poisonous mushrooms grow on living trees or in disturbed areas. Look for signs of decay, such as fallen trees or stumps, to increase your chances of finding edible mushrooms.
  4. Use all your senses – When identifying mushrooms, it is important to use all your senses. Look at the color, shape, and texture of the mushroom, smell it to see if it has a distinctive odor, and even taste a small piece (if you are certain it is safe to eat) to get a sense of its flavor.
  5. Be cautious – When in doubt, do not eat a mushroom. It is better to err on the side of caution and leave a mushroom behind than to risk ingesting a poisonous mushroom.
  6. Follow regulations – Be aware of any regulations or restrictions on mushroom foraging in your area, and follow them carefully. Some areas may be off-limits or require a permit, and failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines or other penalties.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of finding edible mushrooms in Colorado while avoiding the dangers of poisonous mushrooms.

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