19 Common Mushrooms Found in Rhode Island! (2024)

What kind of mushroom did I find in Rhode Island?

Types of mushrooms in Rhode Island

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

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

19 COMMON MUSHROOMS in Rhode Island:


#1. Turkey-tail Mushroom

  • Trametes versicolor

Types of mushrooms in Rhode Island

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 Rhode Island!

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 Rhode Island

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 Rhode Island. 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 Rhode Island

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 Rhode Island! 🙂

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 Rhode Island

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 Rhode Island 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. 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 Rhode Island 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.


#6. 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 Rhode Island 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!


#7. 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 Rhode Island 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.


#8. 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 Rhode Island 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.


#9. 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 Rhode Island 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.


#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 Rhode Island 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. False Turkey-tail

  • Stereum ostrea

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The caps are 1–7 cm (0.4–2.8 in) wide.
  • Their coloring is a mix of brown and red shades.
  • These mushrooms have a shell-shaped cap that grows in stacked clusters.

If this mushroom in Rhode Island reminds you of others you’ve seen, you aren’t alone! False Turkey-tail gets its name from its resemblance to Turkey-tail Mushrooms, another widespread variety. But, despite their similar appearance, they don’t have much in common.

While Turkey-tail is often used as an herbal supplement, False Turkey-tail is completely inedible. In addition, it can cause stomach pain and cramping.

They’re also part of completely different classes within the Fungi kingdom, with almost no genetic relation. For example, False Turkey-tail is a plant pathogen that infects live trees and grows from their bark. Eventually, this fungus weakens the tree to the point of falling over. Then, the mushroom will completely decompose the dead wood.

Like any wild mushroom, you should avoid handling or ingesting False Turkey-tail. It can cause fungal infections and stomach discomfort, and if you misidentify it, you may come in contact with an even more dangerous variety.


#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 Rhode Island!

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. 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!


#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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island!

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. Red Chanterelle

  • Cantharellus cinnabarinus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Caps are 1-4 cm (0.4-1.6 in) wide.
  • The coloring is typically bright pink to red.
  • Their shape is similar to an umbrella that’s been blown up by the wind. A long stalk leads to a wide cap that’s slightly convex.

Look for Red Chanterelle mushrooms in mixed forests.

Thanks to their bright coloring and unique shape, they aren’t difficult to find! These mushrooms are prized for their beautiful red hue.

However, be cautious with these, as well as any wild mushroom. Because they can be easily confused with poisonous species, you should check with an expert before handling any mushroom you come across.

Red Chanterelles are similar to the more common Chanterelle mushroom but usually more delicate and slightly smaller. You’ll likely find both species growing together since they favor the same environment.


#18. 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 Rhode Island!

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

#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!


Do you want to know about common animals in Rhode Island?


Which type of mushroom is your favorite?

Leave a COMMENT below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *