24 Common Mushrooms Found in Maine! (2024)

What kind of mushroom did I find in Maine?

Types of mushrooms in Maine

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

Believe it or not, there are THOUSANDS of different types of mushrooms that live in Maine. 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)!

24 COMMON MUSHROOMS in Maine:


#1. Turkey-tail Mushroom

  • Trametes versicolor

Types of mushrooms in Maine

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 Maine!

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 Maine

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 Maine. 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 Maine

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 Maine! 🙂

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. Dryad’s Saddle

  • Cerioporus squamosus

Types of mushrooms in Maine

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The cap is 8–30 cm (3–12 inches) across and up to 10 cm (4 in) thick.
  • It has a thick stem, and the cap is generally white or off-white with brown scales on top.
  • They grow in clusters of up to three mushrooms stacked on top of one another like tiles.

Look for this mushroom in Maine near fallen trees.

Dryad’s Saddle is typically most abundant in spring. If you’re looking for Morel mushrooms, you may find this variety since their fruiting periods (when the fungus produces an above-ground mushroom) are about the same.

This species is important in forest ecosystems because it helps to decompose dead trees, creating new rich soil. However, it occasionally becomes a parasite on living trees as well.

Although Dryad’s Saddle is considered nonpoisonous, it can easily be confused with other deadly mushrooms. Unless you have experience with wild mushrooms, you should never eat or handle one.


#5. Chicken of the Woods

  • Laetiporus sulphureus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The shelf-like caps are 5-60 cm (2-23.5 in) across and up to 4 cm (1.5 in) thick.
  • Their coloring is a strikingly bright yellow, sometimes with an orange or pink center.
  • They grow in a stacked shelf pattern of fan-shaped caps on the sides of trees.

Chicken of the Woods grows on a variety of hardwood trees. Usually, it thrives on dead trees, although it occasionally parasitizes mature living trees.

Many people eat this mushroom in Maine and Europe.

However, you should never eat this mushroom if you found it in the wild. Uncooked, it can cause an upset stomach and is unpleasant in texture. Plus, it can be confused with other poisonous varieties that can cause unpleasant symptoms or even permanent injury and death.

Unfortunately, it’s often confused with Laetiporus huroniensis, a poisonous mushroom that causes fever and vomiting. It’s best to purchase your Chicken of the Woods mushrooms from an expert forager and leave wild specimens alone!


#6. Crowded Parchment

  • Stereum complicatum

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Individual caps are about 2 cm (0.8 in) across.
  • This fungus grows in clusters of irregularly shaped semicircles, circles, and crescents.
  • Its coloring is varying shades of brown and orange. It resembles crumpled pieces of paper.

Crowded Parchment is commonly found on dead oak trees. This inedible mushroom in Maine helps with breaking down dead trees. It’s easily recognized by the way it resembles crumpled paper.

However, despite being easy to find, this is one mushroom you’ll want to leave alone. While it isn’t considered poisonous, Crowded Parchment is often found near jelly fungus or algae, which can harm humans.

Instead of handling this mushroom, take photos to appreciate its complex structure.


#7. Pear-shaped Puffball

  • Apioperdon pyriforme

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The cap portion is 1.5-4.5 cm (0.6-1.8 in) wide by 2-4.5 cm (0.8-1.8 in) tall.
  • Their coloring is off-white with brown spots that are dense toward the middle of the cap and spread out at the edges.
  • Most specimens are pear-shaped, but they are often spherical as well. They grow in clusters of 4-10 caps.

Look for these mushrooms in Maine on rotting logs.

Pear-shaped Puffballs are commonly found during their long fruiting season, which lasts from July to November. They are nonpoisonous.

However, Pear-shaped Puffballs look similar to several dangerous species of poisonous mushrooms. For example, a lookalike called the Earthball mushroom can cause gastrointestinal distress, fever, and eye infections.

It’s better to purchase Pear-shaped Puffballs from an expert or forage with someone who knows what they’re doing. If not, you may end up sick.


#8. Violet-toothed Polypore

  • Trichaptum biforme

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The caps are 1-7.5 cm (0.4-3 in) wide.
  • Their shape is an irregular semicircle, similar to a seashell.
  • The coloring of this fungus is shades of brown with violet, purple, or lavender rings near the edges.

If you spot a mushroom in Maine that looks like a clamshell, it’s likely a Violet-toothed Polypore! This species can be identified by its shell-like shape and striped purple coloring. It grows in stacked clusters on rotting logs.

Interestingly, Violet-toothed Polypore is known to only grow on decaying aspen and poplar trees. So, if you live near a forest with those species, you’ll likely find this mushroom!

Keep pets away from this species, as it’s particularly poisonous for dogs. It can cause stomach problems and dehydration. Violet-toothed Polypore is also inedible to humans.


#9. Oyster Mushrooms

  • Pleurotus ostreatus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The caps are 2–30 cm (0.8–12 in) wide.
  • They are fan-shaped with thick stalks and grow in a stacked pattern or irregular clusters.
  • Their coloring is often white or off-white, sometimes with a light purple or gray wash.

You can find Oyster Mushrooms in Maine both in the wild and on farms.

These mushrooms are often used as food and are commercially farmed worldwide. In fact, they were first cultivated in Germany during World War I to mitigate hunger because of rationing. As a result, you can find these mushrooms in most grocery stores, so eat those instead of a wild variety!

Something most people don’t know is that Oyster Mushrooms are carnivorous! This species eats nematodes that you might know as roundworms. They paralyze and consume the nematodes as a source of protein and nitrogen. Additionally, Oyster Mushrooms help to decay dead trees.

Pearl Oyster Mushrooms are also dried and used as a leather-like material or compressed into a wood substitute to make furniture. Mycelium, which is the fiber that gives Oyster Mushrooms their structure, is incredibly strong and resilient. Check out this page for more info!


#10. Honey Mushroom

  • Armillaria mellea

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The caps are 3-15 cm (1-6 in) in diameter.
  • They range in color from buttery yellow to light brown.
  • This species grows in large clusters of shelf-like caps.

Honey Mushrooms in Maine are considered tree parasites.

These “plant pathogens,” as they’re sometimes called, grow into the roots, bark, and wood of living hardwood and conifer trees. Their rhizomes (the “underground” parts of the fungus) leach nutrients from the wood, slowly killing the tree. The mushrooms themselves often sprout from the base of infected trees.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to effectively kill Honey Mushrooms without killing the tree they infect. Eventually, the tree will become so weak from the spreading rhizomes that it dies and eventually falls.

Honey Mushrooms look very similar to several poisonous varieties, so it’s best to steer clear of these mushrooms and don’t try eating one!


#11. 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 Maine 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 Maine. Leave these mushrooms where you found them, and never eat them!


#12. 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 Maine!

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.


#13. 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 Maine.

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.


#14. 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 Maine 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.


#15. Deer Mushroom

  • Pluteus cervinus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The caps range from 3–12 cm (1-4.8 in) in diameter
  • They have a typical mushroom shape, with a round, umbrella-like cap, and a short, thin stalk. As this mushroom matures, its cap expands and becomes convex.
  • The coloring is most commonly medium brown but can range from off-white to dark brown.

Look for Deer Mushrooms in Maine on rotten logs, roots, and tree stumps. It’s a common variety in most forests. This fungus got its name from its typical coloring, similar to that of a white-tailed deer. It has a velvety-looking texture, like a deer’s fur as well.

Although this species is technically nonpoisonous, it’s not commonly gathered for eating. It has a bitter taste and an unpleasant rubbery texture. You’re better off with grocery-store mushrooms instead!


#16. Orange Jelly Spot

  • Dacrymyces chrysospermus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Complex groups of caps grow up to 6 cm (2.4 in) across.
  • The coloring is vibrant orange-yellow.
  • This fungus has an irregular, wavy shape and often looks like goop stuck to a tree.

Orange Jelly Spot isn’t technically a mushroom in Maine!

Even though it looks like a mushroom, this species is just a fungus. As you can see, it gets its name from its unusual shape and color, which completely differs from what most people picture in a mushroom. In fact, it looks more like a bright orange brain than anything else! Orange Jelly Spot also has a jelly-like, wobbly texture.

You can find this strange fungus on dead conifer trees like pine and spruce. It was originally discovered in New England but has a worldwide distribution! Most people probably go their whole lives without knowing this oddity exists, but if you keep an eye out in the woods, you’re likely to find it.


#17. 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 Maine!

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

#18. Eastern American Jack-O’-Lantern

  • Omphalotus illudens

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The caps are 3-20 cm (1-8 in) wide.
  • Their coloring is bright orange to pale yellow.
  • These mushrooms have a typical toadstool shape, thick stalk, and a large, flat cap.

You might find it odd that a mushroom is named after a popular Halloween decoration. However, once you learn more about Eastern American Jack-O’-Lantern mushrooms, you’ll quickly start to understand!

First, the coloring of this fungus is remarkably similar to bright orange pumpkins. Imagine a leering face on the cap, and you’ll see what I mean.

But probably the most interesting similarity between Jack-O’-Lanterns and this mushroom is that they both glow in the dark. That’s right! Eastern American Jack-O’-Lantern Mushrooms have a bioluminescent chemical that allows them to glow green in the dark. It’s thought that this glowing green light attracts insects, which then distribute the mushroom’s spores.

By KeithMiklas – Own work, via Wikipedia

Although photo evidence of this phenomenon exists, it can be hard to witness for yourself. Every year, amateur mushroom foragers try to find Eastern American Jack-O’-Lanterns and bring them home to a dark room, only to be disappointed when their mushrooms don’t glow. It could be that the fungus isn’t fresh, or they’ve misidentified it. Either way, don’t be surprised if you find this mushroom but don’t see it glow.

Use caution when handling this mushroom. Eastern American Jack-O’-Lanterns are poisonous to humans and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps if ingested.


#19. Yellow Patches

  • Amanita flavoconia

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The caps are 5.5-11.5 cm (2.2-4.5 in) long.
  • Their coloring is bright orange to yellow, with a yellow and white stem.
  • This mushroom typically erupts as a single toadstool-shaped growth.

If you come across a yellow mushroom that looks more like a cartoon, you might have found this variety! Yellow Patches are large toadstool-like mushrooms with bright orange or yellow caps. They have prominent yellow warts.

Although its toxicity hasn’t been confirmed, it’s assumed to be poisonous because this mushroom is a part of the Amanita family. Therefore, it shouldn’t be handled or consumed. Instead, take a picture and impress your friends with your knowledge of common fungi!


#20. Northern Red Belt

  • Fomitopsis mounceae
Northern Red Belt (Fomitopsis mounceae)
iNaturalist.ca user: davidbroadland, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • The cap is fan-shaped and often shiny with bands of brown and red. The edge is white or pale yellow.
  • The underside is white or yellow and covered with pores, and the flesh is woody and brown.

The Northern Red Belt is easy to find in Maine.

It usually grows on dead conifers, though it occasionally grows on hardwoods and sometimes parasitizes living trees. It’s an essential mushroom to the nutrient cycle in many North American forests. As it grows, it causes brown cubical rot, which helps decay the woody material.

These perennial mushrooms can be found at any time of year. When young and just emerging from a tree, they look like white bumps, as if someone stuck marshmallows to the tree!

They often darken as they age, and their surface grows bumpy and uneven. The older caps are sometimes more domed and hoof-shaped than flat and fan-like. Older mushrooms have been known to grow to 18 inches (45.72 cm) wide and 7 inches (17.78 cm) deep.


#21. Tree Lungwort

  • Lobaria pulmonaria
Tree Lungwort (Lobaria pulmonaria)
Bernd Haynold, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • The lichen body is leafy with roughened ridges and smooth depressions on the upper surface.
  • The underside is tan with short, velvety hairs.
  • The upper surface changes color with the habitat and weather and may be bright green when wet or brown, gray, or tan when dry.

This North American Lichen gets its name from an old medical theory.

The doctrine of signatures, which dates back to the 1500s, claimed that the body of this lichen roughly resembled the shape of lungs and was, therefore, good for treating lung ailments. Today, it’s still used in cough syrup in some countries.

Lungwort grows on trees and rocks in humid areas. It’s an important food source for deer and moose; chipmunks and birds use it as nesting material. This species can be exciting to see today because it mainly occurs in old mixed coniferous and deciduous forests. Its process of capturing nitrogen from the also requires a specific pH, making it a good indicator of air quality.


#22. Birch Polypore

  • Fomitopsis betulina

Birch Polypore (Fomitopsis betulina)

  • The mushroom is a hoof-shaped white, grayish, or tan bracket that flattens and becomes more gray and brown with age.
  • The flesh is white, and the underside is covered with tiny pores.
  • They only grow on birch trees.

This mushroom only grows on birch trees!

It parasitizes living trees, usually infecting those previously weakened by disease or injury. It slowly kills them and continues to fruit on them as they rot away.

Birch Polypore has a long history of human use. Its applications have included antiseptic, antifungal, and parasite treatment. It has also been used as a strop to sharpen razors, tinder, and mounting material for insect collections.

A birch polypore was found around the neck of Ötzi the Iceman, the 5,000-year-old mummy.

Researchers believe he might have been using the birch polypore to treat a parasite called whipworm, which can be killed with polyporenic acid, a compound found in Birch Polypore.


#23. Common Sunburst Lichen

  • Xanthoria parietina

Common Sunburst Lichen (Xanthoria parietina)

  • The lichen body has flattened lobes and is usually less than 3.1 inches (8 cm) wide.
  • The upper surface may be yellow, orange, or greenish-yellow.
  • The lower surface is white.

Unlike most lichens, Common Sunburst Lichen is highly tolerant of pollution.

It can survive heavy metal pollution and thrives with nitrogen pollution. Its preference for high nitrogen means it often grows near bird droppings and farmland. Scientists believe that industrial and agricultural development has caused Common Sunburst Lichen to spread locally in some areas.

Common Sunburst lichens may look different in different light conditions. The lichen’s body is thicker in sunny areas, protecting the algae within from intense light. It may also change color, becoming green in shady areas but more yellowish or orangish in sunny areas.

In coastal areas, this lichen grows on rocks or stone walls. Inland, it grows more often on trees.


#24. Painted Suillus

  • Suillus spraguei
Painted Suillus (Suillus spraguei) 
Photo by erlonbailey
  • The cap is convex but flattens with age.
  • The upper surface is yellow to yellow-orange and covered with pink to brownish-red scales, which fade with age.
  • Underneath, the coloring is yellow.

These colorful North American mushrooms usually grow around the base of pine trees.

They dot the forest floor, often in clusters or groups beneath stands of pines. They’re typically easy to find because their color stands out amongst the bed of brown needles.

Painted Suillus and other Suillus species are sometimes known as “slippery jacks” because their caps are slimy when wet. Despite this odd texture, foragers often select these mushrooms for their flavor, nutritional value, and ease of identification. Native Americans, including the Ojibwe of the Greats Lake Region, often harvested these mushrooms for food.


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