Honey Mushroom & Deadly Galerina — Identification and Differences

honeymushroomgillsUnless you’re hiking around a botanical garden, it’s very unlikely that you will encounter identification labels attached to wild organisms.

No “Acer saccharum” next to the sugar maple.  No “Dicentra cucullaria” next to the Dutchman’s breeches.  No “Armillaria mellea” next to the honey mushroom.

What’s an amateur naturalist to do?  It can all seem so overwhelming…

Before you toss your mushroom basket in the trash, however, keep reading.  I have a solution.

You see, one of my goals here at Wild Foodism is to deepen your connection to nature by helping you identify the wild species within your ecosystem.  Specifically in this post, I’d like to help you distinguish between two common mushrooms found throughout North America.

One is the honey mushroom, a choice edible fungus that fruits in large quantities.

The second is the deadly galerina (Galerina marginata), a toxic mushroom that resembles the honey mushroom in appearance.

As you might be able to tell, this information is extremely important for individuals interested in harvesting honey mushrooms for the table.  Both species grow in similar habitats and their seasons overlap.  What’s more, neither species is labeled in nature…

Read the rest of the article (and watch a video!) at Learn Your Land.



  1. Illustrating mushrooms….Standards please!

    When discussing 2 mushroom varieties, Always have a picture of both for the article with a clear description of differences, with a big red ‘X’ on the one that is deadly.

    There is a natural tendancy for us “foragers” to get cocky with our knowledge. In fact most of us get asked, gee how’d you get so smart about mushrooms(but can’t balance your bank account)?
    It’s a loaded question but I like to say, “I love the outdoors and appreciate knowing what I can eat that grows in the wild”…

    As with many of these helpful earthy, organic sites…there is a natural aversion to telling anyone anything definitively… But out of love for my neighbor, and not wanting him/her to die, let’s commit to some Illustrative Standard….for mushrooms so people know in an instant…” Heay ! that’s poisonous!” Mark the bad ones only. So simple, right? But no-one is doing that.
    Why this standard has never been established by rangers, illustrators, FDA is a mystery.

    This then leaves us able to have wonderful discussions about mushrooms you can pick up and eat, and mushrooms that Require the extra step of cooking, even information for our edibles covering topics like mushrooms and what you can’t drink with some of them(Wine).

    This is especially important when a site or book is covering mushroom topics of similar looking species(but 1 of em is deadly). I would highly recommend to any hunter, stay away from anything edible, that can easily be mistaken for something that is deadly.

    1. cooking wild mushrooms is NOT an “extra step”. for most wild mushrooms, it is a standard, required, conservative, normal step.

      except those few exceptions cooking is mandatory.

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