13 Common Mushrooms Found in New Mexico! (2024)

What kind of mushroom did I find in New Mexico?

Types of mushrooms in New Mexico

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

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

13 COMMON MUSHROOMS in New Mexico:


#1. Common Greenshield Lichen

  • Flavoparmelia caperata

Types of mushrooms in New Mexico

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 New Mexico. 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.


#2. Fly Agaric

  • Amanita muscaria

Types of mushrooms in New Mexico

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 New Mexico! 🙂

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.


#3. 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 New Mexico 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.


#4. 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 New Mexico 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.


#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 New Mexico!

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. 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 New Mexico 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!


#7. 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 New Mexico 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 New Mexico. Leave these mushrooms where you found them, and never eat them!


#8. Mica Cap

  • Coprinellus micaceus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The bell-shaped caps are 1–2.5 cm (.5–1 in) in diameter when new and expand up to 5 cm (2 in) as they open.
  • These mushrooms grow in dense clusters of bell-shaped caps with long, thin stems. The caps have grooves that run vertically, giving them the appearance of a head of straight hair.
  • Their coloring is grayish brown.

This unassuming mushroom has a creepy talent – it can self-destruct! Mica Cap autodigests within a few hours of being picked, meaning its flesh turns from a spongy white structure into an inky black liquid. Yuck!

Mica Cap is usually found in clusters at the base of deciduous trees in mature forests. This mushroom’s less-than-appetizing qualities are just one reason I recommend never eating wild mushrooms. Additionally, there’s a high likelihood of ingesting a poisonous mushroom by mistake.

If you see Mica Cap in the wild, it’s best to take a picture of the fascinating clusters and then leave it be. After all, if you pick it, you’re likely to be covered in gross black goo!


#9. 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 New Mexico.

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.


#10. 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 New Mexico 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.


#11. 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 New Mexico!

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.


#12. 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 New Mexico!

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

#13. 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 New Mexico.

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 New Mexico!


Which type of mushroom is your favorite?

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