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Pictures of Mushrooms in Western New York

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A hygrocybe grows in a wooded area in Western NY.

A hygrocybe grows in a wooded area in Western NY.

Mushrooms in New York

Western New York has a wide variety of mushrooms and other fungi that grow among the grasses and woodlands. Many species (most notably Amanita Muscaria, which has a red cap with white spots) are highly poisonous. Wild mushrooms and other fungi should never be harvested and consumed unless identified by an expert mycologist.

The fungi contained in these pictures are only a small sampling of the various mushrooms and other interesting fungal growth that occur in the forests of New York. Mushrooms are found most commonly between the months of June-September, as the winter snows and frigid temperatures during the rest of the year either hide or kill the mushrooms.

The following mushrooms were photographed at theTom Erlandson Overview Park in Frewsburg, New York. All photographs were taken with a Canon 30D digital SLR camera. All of the mushroom pictures were taken in the month of July in the dense undergrowth of oak, beech, and maple trees.

Orange Waxy Cap Mushrooms (Hygrocybes)

While many wax cap mushrooms grow in grasslands in Europe, similar mushrooms grow in woodlands in North America. Orange waxy cap mushrooms can be found growing under beech and other hardwood trees in the forests of Western New York. The bright orange mushrooms may grow in small groups among the mosses of the undergrowth. These mushrooms were found under oak and beech trees in the month of July.

These mushrooms should not be eaten (the toxicity is unclear, but there have been reports of poisonings). In any case, the waxy substance would make the mushroom unpalatable

The "witch's cap" mushroom always has a peaked cap, making it a distinctive find in the forest undergrowth.

The "witch's cap" mushroom always has a peaked cap, making it a distinctive find in the forest undergrowth.

Witch’s Cap, or Yellow Nolanea

The yellow Witch’s Cap mushroom has a brilliant yellow color and a conical cap. This yellow mushroom will leave a pink spore print, and is also known as the “Yellow Unicorn Entoloma.”

This mushroom may grow isolated or in small groups under trees. The cap is always pointed or has a convex cap with a point in the center. The gills are initially yellow, but will turn a rosy color as the mushroom matures. These mushrooms should never be eaten, as it is considered dangerous and/or poisonous. This mushroom is found widely distributed around the Great Lakes region of the United States.

A Yellow Wax Cap mushroom in the woods of Western New York.

A Yellow Wax Cap mushroom in the woods of Western New York.

Yellow Wax Cap Mushrooms

Also known as “hygrocybes,” the waxcap mushrooms tend to frequent the grasslands of Europe and the woodlands of North America. These mushrooms often have a waxy or shiny appearance on the button cap, and are often found in brilliant orange and yellow colors. The spore print of these mushrooms will be white.

These are similar to the orange wax caps, as they are both hygrocybes. We found this brilliant yellow wax cap growing among some moss under a thick forest of oak, beech, and maple trees. The color was so bright it nearly glowed in the dark undergrowth.

This wavy brown fungus was found growing on a felled oak tree in the woods of Western New York.

This wavy brown fungus was found growing on a felled oak tree in the woods of Western New York.

Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus) is an edible mushroom, but only if it is properly prepared. As with all fungi, mushroom identification should only be made by an expert: many fungi are deadly, and should not be consumed unless the identification is confirmed.

This mushroom often grows on rotting logs or felled trees, though some varieties will grow in soil. The mushroom may grow in a row of “shelves” (hence its alternate name, “Sulfur Shelf”) or in a rosette pattern. Chicken of the Woods is nearly always found on oak trees in the state of New York.

This mushroom gets its name from the flavor of the fungus: when properly cooked, the mushroom tastes like chicken. Some people are very sensitive to this mushroom, so a small (cooked) quantity should be tried before consuming larger amounts. This mushroom can also be used to create an orange dye.

This "dog vomit" slime mold is a brilliant yellow - despite its rather disgusting name, it is actually quite pretty in the woods.

This "dog vomit" slime mold is a brilliant yellow - despite its rather disgusting name, it is actually quite pretty in the woods.

Slime Molds: Yellow Myxomycete

Slime molds are technically not fungi – they have their own kingdom, completely separate from mushrooms. The yellow slime mold at the right has the rather unappetizing name of “Dog Vomit Slime Mold.” This slime mold can often be found on felled trees. This bright yellow, fuzzy, spreading slime mold is covering the stump of a felled oak tree.

While slime molds produce spores similar to fungi (and thus are often studied by mycologists), they do not have cell walls like fungi. Instead, they exist in an amoeba-like form and feed on bacteria by engulfing them. Oddly enough, slime molds were the inspiration for "The Blob," a sci-fi flick originally produced in 1958. Some slime molds do appear as slimy blobs for part of their life cycle, though the one photographed on the right has more of a spongy texture.

The slime molds start out as amoeba-like lifeforms, but can mate and form plasmodia – these plasmodia can grow to be many feet long and will contain many cell nuclei without individual cellular membranes. When a human stumbles across a slime mold, the visible portion is usually the fruiting body. The fruiting body is what appears to be a mold or fungus, though it is in no way related to the fungi. Spores are released from the fruiting bodies, and amoeba hatch from the spores, starting the life cycle over again.

Other Great Mushroom Articles

  • Pictures of Mushrooms and Fungi - Wild ones!
    Take a look at all the many interesting photos that my cousin Bill and I took of mushrooms and fungi growing in our respective areas of the country. Not only are they beautiful but they serve various purposes which I found to be very interesting when

Questions & Answers

Question: I have a white wild fungus that is all solid. It has a round top and a thick stem. There are clusters of them found in western New York. Is it safe to eat?

Answer: Never eat a wild mushroom without proper identification, as many are highly poisonous and could result in a fatal outcome if the identity is mistaken. For example, the "destroying angel" mushroom is entirely white and causes 95% of mushroom fatalities. It is never worth your life to taste a wild mushroom without proper identification. If you have a picture, you might be able to send it to a local mycology group and have it positively identified.


Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 01, 2019:

It is wonderful to know there is a local mycology group, Mr. Green! I live near Jamestown, NY so Warren is not far from us. Several of these pictures were taken at Tom Erlandson Overview Park in Frewsburg, NY. My schedule is incredibly hectic in the spring and early summer, but sometimes settles down in early fall - I will have to check into your facebook group!

MrGreen on March 29, 2019:

Hey Leah,

I am in Western New York and have found everything from turkey tail to chicken of the woods. Are you able to meet up with a group of people ? We have a facebook group called 'wny mycology club'. You could up with us. I am hunting from Bradford, PA over to Warren then north towards Erie then Buffalo then back down again for a few weeks. Morels are just around the corner so I was hoping to grab some. If you want to meet up with some friends and myself we could all go together. Anyways pretty good article.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on October 04, 2018:

Hello, Marc - foraging for wild mushrooms is not advised, as the chance of ingesting a poisonous mushroom is simply not worth the risk. While I am not aware of any mushroom identification classes locally, if you do find one, please do not feed any wild mushrooms to your child. Even very well read mycologists have made mistakes that have led to fatalities, so be very cautious unless you are with an expert in the field.

Marc on October 03, 2018:

Is there a class nere buffalo ny so i know what to pick with my 5 yr old. Ty

Mushroom hunter on January 15, 2017:

That is not a chicken of the woods. Good try though.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on November 08, 2011:

I am often on my belly to get photos! The slime mold and chicken of the woods were growing on tree stumps, so those were a bit easier to shoot. I find it really interesting that the pharmacists in France are all trained to identify mushrooms! Most of the ones on this hub are toxic (with the exception of Chicken of the Woods). We have some edible mushrooms, but it would take a person with real training to identify the differences - we have a very deadly mushroom called the death cap here, and as the name implies, you wouldn't want to accidentally ingest it!

richardmohacsi from Florence on November 08, 2011:

You must have done some crawling around to get these photos! Here in France, you take your mushrooms to the local pharmacist - they are trained to identify them. If they're not good mushrooms, they keep them. And if they are good mushrooms, they still keep them (sometimes!). Nice hub.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on November 08, 2011:

Thank you, Movie Master! That is my favorite, too. I loved some "Indian Pipes" pictures that we took, but those are flowering plants and not mushrooms, so I placed them in a separate hub.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on November 08, 2011:

Fabulous pictures, I love the witch's cap!

Voting UP

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on November 07, 2011:

Thanks, Cardelean! I'm not professionally trained, but a lot of my shots are straight out-of-camera on point-and-shoot mode. The type of camera has a lot to do with the richness of the color, etc. (the digital SLR cameras are expensive, but they yield beautiful photos even set to "auto" mode). My husband might have taken a few of these - he's actually more of a photographer than I am, though we both love getting great shots!

cardelean from Michigan on November 07, 2011:

Beautiful photos. I am always in awe of those who can capture such beauty in nature. My 2012 to do list includes taking a photography class or two. I love taking photos but don't know a thing about capturing images at the right angles, lighting, etc. Thanks for sharing these beauties!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on November 05, 2011:

Definitely get those photos into a hub! They are really fascinating! I had some photos of Indian Pipes, but after some basic research realized those were a type of flowering plant and not a mushroom! I can't wait to see your work, Robin!

Robin Anderson from United States on November 05, 2011:

Thanks for the inspiring hub. You inspired me to get busy and publish my collection of photographs of Michigan mushrooms. Thanks for the nudge.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on November 04, 2011:

Hyphenbird, I have about a gazillion hubs to write. We lived in Ireland for a year, skied the Via Lattea in Italy, etc. and I have all of those photos. If only I had joined Hubpages a couple of years ago! Photographing nature is my second favorite thing to do (photographing my kids is, of course, my first favorite thing to do)!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on November 04, 2011:

Thanks, Sidds123450, I really love beautiful things in nature!

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on November 04, 2011:

How cool. I really love that Yellow Nolanea. You are very knowledgeable and must have a wonderful library of photographs. This Hub is one of my favorites. The world sure has some fascinating creations doesn't it?

sidds123450 on November 04, 2011:

Its beautiful, thanks for sharing.!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on November 04, 2011:

Thanks, Peggy - K9 does beautiful work. I just love the talent here on HP! Thanks for the comment, K9keystrokes! Nature really does provide an amazing set of things to photograph! Thanks for the hubhugs, too!

India Arnold from Northern, California on November 04, 2011:

Leah, these are awesome mushroom pictures! I love the Orange Cap and Slime shots! What an interesting bunch of fungi. I really enjoyed this hub and the delightful photos you shared! Linkalicious!



Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 04, 2011:

Thanks Leah! I'll have to take a look at K9Keystrokes mushroom hub. Mushrooms and fungus is truly beautiful.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on November 04, 2011:

Found it! You have a lot of gorgeous mushroom pics - I added a link to your article and to K9Keystrokes. Who knew that fungus could be beautiful?

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on November 04, 2011:

Really, Peggy? I'll have to take a look at your hub! Very interesting! They can be really beautiful - I am always surprised at the colors and types that can pop up in the woods!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 04, 2011:

Oh I loved this! I have written a mushroom hub also and will link this one to mine. You have some types in yours that I do not and vice versa. I am always on the lookout for new types in our yard and elsewhere. Voted everything but funny.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on November 04, 2011:

I grew up in Southern California and the only mushrooms (or toadstools) I ever saw were white or beige types in the front lawn. I am always amazed by the spectacular diversity of fungi, flora, and fauna that exist in the woods!

cre8ivOne from Midwest, USA on November 04, 2011:

Nice photos and a clever topic. I have noticed mushrooms growing in my yard and around town but they are never as pretty or colorful as these!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on November 04, 2011:

They are really pretty - too bad they are nearly all so toxic! I should have taken a shot of a particularly beautiful amanita I saw last month - it was bright red with white spots. Very, very pretty... and very, very deadly!

Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on November 04, 2011:

Some nice pictures and information about these brilliantly coloured yet too often overlooked mushrooms and toadstools. I particularly like the little yellow Witch's Cap. Useful page if it inspires a few people to develop an interest in these little appreciated mushrooms.