11 Common Mushrooms Found in Arizona! (2024)

What kind of mushroom did I find in Arizona?

Types of mushrooms in Arizona

If you spend time outside, you’ve probably asked this question at least once. Mushrooms are incredibly common in Arizona, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Believe it or not, there are THOUSANDS of different types of mushrooms that live in Arizona. Since it would be nearly impossible to write about them all, I focused on the most common types that are seen.

IMPORTANT: You should NEVER eat a mushroom you find. There are many poisonous types, and some species will kill you. So stay safe, and don’t eat any wild mushrooms unless you are with a mycologist (mushroom expert)!

11 COMMON MUSHROOMS in Arizona:


#1. Turkey-tail Mushroom

  • Trametes versicolor

Types of mushrooms in Arizona

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Caps are up to 8 cm (3 in) long and 5 cm (2 in) wide.
  • Rings of different colors decorate the tops, ranging from black to shades of brown and white.
  • They often grow in a stacked pattern, which makes them look like roof tiles.

This species is one of the most common mushrooms in Arizona!

Turkey-tail typically grows on logs of deciduous trees. It’s found in mature forests where dead trees on the forest floor make a perfect environment for this fungus.

This multicolored fungus is easy to spot thanks to the concentric rings of different colors on its caps. The growing pattern of Turkey-tail is also recognizable by the way it grows in a stacked pattern that looks like roofing tiles.

Like many mushrooms, Turkey-tail is used in Eastern medicine and as an herbal supplement. However, wild specimens should NOT be consumed or handled, and supplements containing this mushroom are not FDA-approved.


#2. Common Greenshield Lichen

  • Flavoparmelia caperata

Types of mushrooms in Arizona

Identifying Characteristics:

  • This lichen grows in roughly circular patterns with wavy edges.
  • The coloring is pale green to yellowish.

Common Greenshield Lichen is technically not a mushroom, but instead, it is a lichen. Lichens are complex organisms made up of both fungi and algae. The combination of these two types of organisms allows lichens to live in diverse climates, ranging from cool, dry areas to warmer regions with humid weather.

As a result, you can find Common Greenshield Lichen across Arizona. It most often grows on tree bark, although you might occasionally find it on rocks. Look for a rounded, pale-green growth with wavy edges.


#3. Fly Agaric

  • Amanita muscaria

Types of mushrooms in Arizona

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Caps are 8–20 cm (3–8 in) in diameter.
  • The stalks are 5–20 cm (2–8 in) tall.
  • These mushrooms have the typical looks of a “toadstool” with a bright white stalk and red, white-spotted cap.

I think this is the CUTEST mushroom in Arizona! 🙂

Fly Agaric looks just like the mushrooms found in Mario video games.

These mushrooms are considered toadstools, which are usually poisonous to humans. Fly Agaric is no exception. This fungus can cause hallucinations, low blood pressure, nausea, loss of balance, and in rare cases, death. If you ingest it, you should seek medical treatment immediately.

Luckily, Fly Agaric is a very conspicuous fungus in its fully-grown form. However, young mushrooms can be mistaken for other edible types, so you should steer clear of eating any wild mushrooms.


#4. Splitgill Mushroom

  • Schizophyllum commune

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The caps are 1–4 cm (0.3–1.6 in) wide.
  • They are pale white or gray and grow in stacked clusters that resemble shelves.
  • As its name suggests, the gills of this mushroom are spaced apart like individual threads.

Splitgill Mushrooms in Arizona thrive on decaying trees during rainy periods.

These tough, leathery mushrooms were once thought to be nonpoisonous. However, recent research shows they’re often linked to fungal infections of the lungs. Symptoms can include breathing problems, prolonged cough, and other respiratory ailments.

Interestingly, this is one of the few mushrooms that grow abundantly in tropical weather. It thrives in heat and humidity thanks to its rubbery, tough structure. Fleshy, sponge-like mushrooms quickly rot, whereas this species lasts much longer.

Even though Splitgill Mushrooms are not poisonous, it’s best not to consume any you find in the wild. The unprocessed fungus can cause lung infections, and this mushroom can be confused with more dangerous species.


#5. Green-spored Parasol

  • Chlorophyllum molybdites

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The caps are 8-30 cm (3-12 in) in diameter.
  • This mushroom is white or off-white with irregular brown spots and warts.
  • The gills are visible around the edges of the top and very prominent on the underside.

This is the most frequently eaten poisonous mushroom in Arizona!

Green-spored Parasols bear an unfortunate resemblance to several edible fungi, which means it’s often eaten by mistake. In addition, this fungus causes severe stomach symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and colic.

Unfortunately, this mushroom is common on lawns and in pastures, which puts children and pets are at greater risk for poisoning. Please keep them away from these mushrooms!

Green-spored Parasols grow directly from the ground instead of from tree logs or other decaying wood. We recently had a cluster pop up after we had new mulch put down. The spores are often present in soil or mulch and can remain dormant until the next fruiting season.


#6. Shaggy Mane

  • Coprinus comatus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The caps are 4–8 cm (1.63.1 in) wide and 6–20 cm (2.3–8 in) tall.
  • Their coloring is white when they first emerge, slowly turning black as their scales lift.
  • These mushrooms grow directly from the ground as single caps or clusters.

It’s easy to see how Shaggy Mane Mushrooms in Arizona got their name!

These tall, slender mushrooms have distinctive scales that make them look like they’re covered in shaggy hair. They often grow in suburban yards or fields straight from the ground.

Shaggy Manes definitely have some “yuck” factors. They’re called Ink Caps because their black gills liquefy and leak down the mushroom to release its spores. Additionally, the entire mushroom will “auto-decay,” digesting itself into a dark liquid within hours of being picked.

Shaggy Manes look very similar to poisonous mushrooms that are found in Arizona. Leave these mushrooms where you found them, and never eat them!


#7. Witch’s Butter

  • Tremella mesenterica

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Fruiting bodies can be up to 7.5 cm (3 in) in diameter.
  • The shape is irregular, gelatinous, and brain-like.
  • This fungus is typically bright lemon-yellow.

This is one of the WEIRDEST mushrooms in Arizona!

Witch’s Butter, which gets its name from its unusual shape and color, completely differs from what most people picture in a mushroom. It has an irregular, ridged appearance that looks like brains and a jelly-like texture that trembles and vibrates if disturbed. Additionally, its coloring is bright yellow, unlike most mushrooms that blend in with their environment.

If the appearance of Witch’s Butter wasn’t strange enough, it also has fascinating properties that set it apart. During dry weather, this fungus dries and shrivels into a leathery mass. Then, when it rains, it fully revives back into its original state!

Look for this strange fungus on dead tree limbs that are still attached to trees or recently fallen branches. It will grow on any deciduous tree but is most prevalent on red alder.


#8. Common Puffball

  • Lycoperdon perlatum

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Mature specimens are 1.5-6 cm (0.6 to 2.3 in) wide by 3-10 cm (1-4 in) tall.
  • Their coloring is white to off-white, with spines and warts that are varying shades of brown.
  • The shape varies from pear-shaped to spherical with a wide stalk.

It’s easy to find Common Puffball Mushrooms in Arizona.

These distinctive fungi grow in gardens, yards, roadsides, and forest clearings. They’re easy to find because of their large size and bright white coloring. Common Puffballs also have an unusual covering of spiky warts on their surface, setting them apart from other types of puffballs.

Even though these mushrooms are considered nonpoisonous, it’s important to use caution when handling wild mushrooms. You shouldn’t eat any mushroom that hasn’t been identified by an expert because of the risk of misidentification. For example, the Common Puffball can easily be confused with immature Amanita mushrooms, which are poisonous and sometimes even deadly.

In addition, spores contained in the Common Puffball’s warts are released with handling. These spores can cause severe lung inflammation, resulting in cough, wheezing, or trouble breathing. Dogs are particularly susceptible to this symptom, so be careful not to let your pet play near Common Puffballs.


#9. Dyer’s Polypore

  • Phaeolus schweinitzii

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Caps can grow up to 25 cm (10 in) across.
  • Their coloring varies by specimen: yellow, green, orange, brown, and red are all common. Usually, concentric rings of different colors decorate the tops.
  • This mushroom grows as a stack of irregular flat disks.

Look for this mushroom in Arizona near conifer trees.

Even though it’s a tree pathogen, Dyer’s Polypore often looks like it’s sprouting right out of the ground. This is because it often grows from the root system of a tree instead of its bark. It sort of looks like a stack of badly made pancakes. 🙂

Dyer’s Polypore gets its name because this mushroom is an excellent source of natural dyes! Its coloring varies significantly by the specimen, and it can be used to create green, yellow, gold, or brown dyes.

Although it’s useful as a dye source, this mushroom should never be eaten. Use caution when handling these fungi to avoid eye and skin irritation.


#10. Artist’s Bracket

  • Ganoderma applanatum

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Caps can be 3–30 cm (1-12 in) wide × 5–50 cm (2-20 in) long and up to 10 cm (4 in) thick.
  • New specimens are white but quickly turn a dark reddish-brown as they mature.
  • Their shape is similar to a fan, and these mushrooms grow in a shelf-like formation individually or in groups.

This is one of the largest mushrooms in Arizona!

Artist’s Bracket caps are hard to miss, as they grow directly out of tree trunks and are too large to overlook. They’re tough and woody, and the surface of this mushroom often feels like leather.

Artist’s Bracket gets its name from a peculiar property of its white underside. You can scratch designs and pictures into their surface, and the picture remains as the mushroom dries. Here’s an example!

By Alex Ex – Own work, via Wikipedia

#11. Summer Oyster Mushroom

  • Pleurotus pulmonarius

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The caps are 5-20 cm (2-8 in) wide.
  • They are white or off-white, with a smooth appearance above and orderly gills below.
  • These mushrooms grow in stacked clusters that look like shelves on the trunks of trees.

This is the most-cultivated type of oyster mushroom in Arizona.

It grows particularly well in warmer climates, which allows for a better growing season than other mushroom varieties. Because there is less need for climate control to keep these mushrooms fresh and growing well, you’ll often find them in the grocery store or at farmer’s markets!

However, it’s best to stick to the supermarket instead of eating wild specimens. Oyster Mushrooms are incredibly easy to misidentify, and it only takes one poisonous mushroom to cause horrible discomfort or death.


Learn about other awesome things in Arizona!


Which type of mushroom is your favorite?

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