Foraging for edible mushrooms is a fun and delicious way to spend time in the great outdoors. Connecticut is home to a wide variety of edible mushrooms for the novice and more advanced mushroom hunter. When collecting edible mushrooms, be sure to properly identify them before consuming them, as some edible mushrooms of Connecticut closely resemble poisonous ones.
Oyster mushrooms grow in large patches on the bases of tree trunks. They have a dirty white, fan-shaped cap of medium thickness and will almost always be growing in large clumps. During the spring and early summer months, oyster mushrooms also grow on dead trees, while in the fall and early winter they are found exclusively on the trunks of living trees.
The puffball mushroom is a very common mushroom found in Connecticut. It is a white or light brown globe with nobs of spores on the outside. Puffball mushrooms predominately grow in the damp ground or on dead wood. When identifying puffball mushrooms, slice open the mushroom to distinguish it from its poisonous counterpart the amanita. The puffball has no internal features while the amanita has a stalk and gills on the inside.
Chicken of the Woods
The chicken of the woods is as strange looking as its name. A bright orange, fan-shaped mushroom, the chicken of the woods thrives in the late summer and early fall, growing in clumps on the base and the middle portion of hardwood trees in Connecticut. The chicken of the woods is an easily identified mushroom due to its color and its short, broad stem.
Blewits are capped mushrooms that thrive in Connecticut in the cooler temperatures of late autumn. Growing to approximately one inch, the caps and stem of blewits turn a soft lavender color as the mushrooms reach maturity. Blewits are commonly found growing on decaying wood near the edges of woods.
Two Colored Bolete
The two colored bolete is a showy early autumn Connecticut mushroom. The two- to six-inch wide cap of these mushrooms can vary from a vibrant pink to a pale red, with a pale yellow underside. These mushrooms grow in large numbers both alone or in clusters at the base of hardwood trees during the late summer and early autumn.
Hen of the Woods
The hen of the woods grows in feather-like clumps in the woods of Connecticut. The caps of this mushroom are thin and gray and brown. They grow together with other caps to make a clump that resembles a flowering cauliflower and are often found on the base of hardwood trees and growing on dead wood. The clusters of mushrooms can grow up to 36 inches in diameter. They thrive throughout the autumn.