Mushroom Field Guide of Michigan

By Chris Steel
a field guide, photos, correct mushroom identification
wild mushrooms image by Barcabloo from

The Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club identifies nearly 30 species of mushroom native to Michigan. Mushrooms are labeled based on their edibility. When foraging for mushrooms, you must determine edible mushrooms from their poisonous and inedible brethren, which can resemble edible varietals.


morels, Michigan, the spring
The mushroom morel image by Ludmila Galchenkova from

The prize of Michigan woods, morels are identified by their prune-like ridged cap that is attached to the stem and is hollow when cut open. Black and yellow varieties are common. Deliciously earthy when cooked, these mushrooms should never be eaten raw. Beware of the the false morel, a poisonous lookalike, with a stem that is not hollow.

Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods are large bright orange to salmon-colored capped mushrooms, sometimes with whitish zones, that are found attached to tree trunks. They are extremely edible, with a lemony chicken flavor, especially when young. They can cause intestinal problems for some people, so eat small amounts if you are unaccustomed to them.


Growing on the ground in the forest, you can find these delicious light orange, round mushrooms with small teeth-like projections on the underside of the cap rather than gills. Lightly sauté them in butter to form the perfect accompaniment to many different meals.


Chanterelles, the summer, Michigan
chanterelles en tube image by Davy HILLER from

The golden-colored, fleshy caps taper with the stems to form a trumpet shape. The caps and stems are interconnected and shred into pieces when pulled apart. The chanterelle's aroma is described as apricot- or peach-like, and the flavor is accordingly sweet.

Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms, Michigan, the summer, fall
mushrooms image by Warren Rosenberg from

Found growing in clusters on sick, dying or dead trees, these mushrooms are identified by their white to light-brown caps and gills that run from the tip of the underside of the fan-shaped cap down to the stem. They are described as having an anise aroma and a mild flavor when cooked. Diners enjoy several edible species of oyster mushrooms.

About the Author

Chris Steel began writing professionally in 2010, specializing in cooking, fitness and nutrition. He has also taught English for two years in Korea. Steel holds a bachelor's degree in sports sciences from Ohio University and an associate degree in culinary arts from Western Culinary Institute.