Wild Edible Mushrooms of Montana

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Oyster mushrooms have a chewy texture.

Mushrooms are a tasty addition to many recipes and many varieties are available in grocery stores. If you live in Montana, however, you may choose to hunt for mushrooms in the wild -- the state has a wide range of mushrooms growing in forests and other outdoor spaces. Understand the types of mushrooms available to keep yourself safe as some species are dangerous for your health.


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Common Puffball

When foraging for mushrooms, the common puffball, also known as Lycoperdon perlatum, is found throughout Montana. These mushrooms are often found in groups and have a white color that changes as the mushroom ages, a thick stem and a bulbous top. The surface of the common puffball is covered by tiny spikes. While edible, take care when picking this mushroom -- the destroying angel and stinkhorn mushroom varieties have a similar look but are not safe for human consumption.


Morel mushrooms are found in abundance in Montana, but you might have to search them out -- they often hide under leaves and trees and in areas that have suffered a fire. This mushroom has a hollow inside, a white stem and a dark brown cap. The cap has a deeply creviced surface. You may find these gourmet mushrooms in specialty markets, but if you opt to find them in the wild, be careful not to pick false morel mushrooms, which are poisonous.


Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms grow directly on dead wood and contain very little to no stem. The cream to white-gray hued caps are broad and flat, typically 2 inches to 8 inches in width. This oyster, common in Montana, resembles the color of oyster meat, and some people feel as if this oyster emits the scent of oysters, which is how the oyster got its name. While you should be relatively certain the mushrooms you choose are oyster mushrooms, no poisonous mushrooms resembling this variety exist in Montana.


King Bolete

While traipsing through the woods in Montana, you may run across a mushroom with a classic mushroom look -- broad, beige-tan cap and a stem that ranges in color from off-white to olive green. Rather than gills on the underside of the mushroom cap, though, this mushrooms has pores. Be cautious when picking the king bolete. No lookalikes grow in Montana that can kill you, but some mushrooms with a similar look can cause nausea and vomiting.