Mushrooms with cap, stem, and gills.

South Dakota is home to a huge variety of mushrooms, some are delicious and some painfully deadly! This page lists only mushrooms that have a stem and cap with gills (see above photo). If you want to identify other types of mushrooms such as spherical mushrooms, mushrooms with pores, shelf mushrooms, etc. please start on the main mycology page:


Agaricus (unknown species, bisporus?)

Habitat: found on well fertalized lawn
Season: early fall
Spore Print: dark brown
Notes: Out of my five mycology guides not a single one has 100% matching identifiers for this mushroom! Its 15cm wide with a brown cap and a chunky cottony veil. Smell and taste are identical to grocery store mushrooms. After visiting a local coop and seeing their portabella mushrooms in hand I’m very confident that it is a wild strain of agaricus bisporus. But the stem has me second guessing this ID!


Agaricus Bitorquis

Habitat: hard packed soil, saprophytic
Season: late summer to early fall
Spore Print: dark brown
Notes: My oldest son was the first to spot this mushroom on our city block. They are tasty if you can beat the maggots to them. You can find the caps barely poking out of the hardpacked dirt on lawns.


Agaricus Sylvicola

Habitat: forests, saprophytic
Season: late summer to early fall
Spore Print: dark brown
Notes: Absolutely beautiful mushroom! I found these fruiting in a nearby forest at the exact same time that A. Bitorquis fruits in my local neighborhood. Tasty, but not as good as A. Bitorquis.


Agaricus Xanthodermus

Habitat: forests, saprophytic
Season: late summer to early fall
Spore Print: dark brown
Notes: gills turn white, then pink, then brown like many agaricus. This is a toxic look-alike of A. Sylvicola. It stains bright yellow when cut at the base of the stem and apparently smells like tar. With that said, the one in the above photo smelled pretty almond-y to me!


Arrhenia epichysium

Habitat: parasitic on moss or mossy dead-wood
Season: spring through fall
Spore Print: white
Gills: decurrent, close or nearly crowded
Notes: I find this mushroom all over my favorite local forest. I tried no less than six times over a month to get a spore print from these mushrooms. On one tiny mushroom I got a faint whitish looking line that could have been fairy dust or completely imagined. Either way, I was unable to ID until I accidentally ran across a similar photo in Michael Kuo’s Midwest guide. Every detail matched; problem solved.


Clitocybe odora

Habitat: hardwood litter, saprobic
Season: summer and fall
Gills: decurrent, crowded
Spore Print: white
Notes: YESSSSS! Can you feel it!!!!??? When I originally found this blue-ish capped mushroom mid-August of 2022 I was totally unprepared for documenting it or the challenge of identifying it. But I figured it would be easy-peasy since not many mushrooms have a blue velvety cap. Fastforward 3 months (and 3 guide books) later and I still hadn’t IDed this mushroom. Fortunately I have an addiction to buying mushroom books and accidently stumbled across a photo in Mushrooms of the Midwest by Michael Kuo. The description fit 100%. SUCK IT clitocybe. I win.


Coprinus Comatus

Habitat: lawns, saprophytic
Season: early summer – fall (I’ve only found in cool fall weather)
Spore Print: blackish
Notes: Also known as shaggy mane. Gotta steal them from my neighbors’ lawns before they deliquesce! If cooked properly, these are incredibly good IMO.


Coprinellus Micaceus

Habitat: forest & urban, saprophytic on wood
Season: early spring to late fall
Spore Print: blackish
Gills: attached or free, close or crowded
Notes: This is probably my most frequently found edible mushroom in Sioux Falls. Every time it rains I walk the block and pick these where all the ash trees were cut down due to the ash bore. They always grow from buried wood and roots. In the forest they are found frequently at the base of trees. I will be the first to admit that they taste quite bland but they work well in fried pickled beet sandwiches, stir-fries, and any dish that needs a mushroom.


Galerina Autumnalis (?)

Habitat: dead wood, saprophytic
Season: spring and fall
Spore Print: rust colored
Gills: attached (slightly decurrent to adnexed)
Notes: Deadly poisonous! My photos above may be wrongly identified but I am referring to this mushroom as g. autumnalis (deadly galerina) since everything matched David Aurora’s description except for the “translucent-striate margin when wet” (as you can see, the specimens I found were quite dry).


Gymnopilus Luteus

Habitat: mature forests, decaying wood, saprophytic
Season: found in september & october (probably all season)
Spore Print: rust colored
Gills: attached, close
Notes: The first time that I found this mushroom in South Dakota was mid September on a 53*F early morning hike. The previous day was light morning sprinkles with heavy rain for the latter part of the evening. Prior to that it was 3 weeks of 80*F+ dry weather. The stump was covered in tons of, I assume, aborted young mushrooms (blackened from decay). Many of the still living young specimens had deformed caps perhaps from the heavy rain. The three mushrooms that grew to maturity each had a dark annulus. Largest cap was 11cm, second largest 7cm, and the 3rd was just over an inch. All of the large mushrooms were old, covered in bugs, and knocked over as if a squirrel used them as a mini punching bag. Light grayish-green bruising appeared two days after cutting the mushroom in half. Active in both psilocybin and kava analogs.

I originally identified this as G. Junonius (which was formerly known as G. Spectabilus) but I’m changing to G. Luteus because the largest cap was only 11cm and most of the other caps were under 6cm. Second, the mushrooms are growing gregariously instead of in tight clusters. Third, the stem base was enlarged in all specimens… In my guide books I frequently see pictures of Cortinarius Hesleri and think “that looks like Gymnopilus.” Spore print is the same color but C. Hesleri does not grow on dead wood and KOH reaction is purplish instead of dark red.


Gymnopilus Penetrans

Habitat: mature forests, decaying wood, saprophytic
Season: found in October
Spore Print: rust colored
Notes: I was a bit too late when I found this mushroom covering a dead stump and woodchip pile in MN not too far from the SD border. The brown splotches on the gills, the lack of a ring, and its similarities to G. Junonius helped me quickly ID. Many of the decaying specimens were bruised green all-over. Unfortunately there were no fresh mushrooms to make a 100% positive ID.


Hypsizygus Ulmarius (see notes)

Habitat: saprophytic on wood (especially elms)
Season: summer and fall
Spore Print: white
Gills: Attached to the stem
Notes: what in the absolute hell? how can a mushroom this big and beautiful (and durable) be so difficult to ID? After I went through two of my older guides I couldn’t find anything to match this mushroom. Then I used Michael Kuo’s key and easily found a 100% match (KOH=negative, growing from scars, etc). BUT! The “ulmarius” name sounded familiar and sure enough one of my former mushroom guides uses Pleurotus Ulmarias to describe a mushroom that “looks like an oyster mushroom”. You can view P. Ulmarias down below and notice that the cap has a much different flesh. But apparently these two names are synonyms. And according to David Arora it is a synonym with Hypsizygus tessulatus. If three different mycologists can’t agree on this how the hell am I supposed to figure it out?


Hypsizygus Ulmarius (variation?)

Notes: Found in the same park as all the above photos of H. Ulmarius but the cap and stem were completely covered in scales. I’m assuming it is weather related but would like to know if it is a variation on the same species.


Lentinus Tigrinus (malformed gills)

Habitat: saprophytic, clustered or gregarious on hardwood
Season: spring through fall
Spore Print: white (could not obtain!)
Gills: SEE NOTES!
Notes: I had to get help from some online mycologists with this one. I didn’t know what to call the gill/pore surface. Fortunately mushroomexpert.com has a great explanation:

“And now we come to the weird part of the Lentinus tigrinus story. In North America, a form of the species is commonly encountered in which the gills are malformed and appear covered with a partial veil or Hypomyces of some kind. Kauffman (1918) called it a “monstrous form” and a “monstrosity”; Smith (1979) called it an “abortive stage.” Although Morgan (1895) thought this aberrant mushroom was a separate species that should even be given a separate genus (as “Lentodium squamulosum“), later mating studies discovered that the normal and gasteroid forms could mate easily, demonstrating “complete intercompatibility” (Rosinski & Robison, 1968) and producing offspring in the normal form.”


Lepiota Rubrotincta

Habitat: woodland & landscape settings, saprophytic
Season: summer through fall
Spore Print: white
Gills: closely spaced, not attached
Notes: I find these all over the local hiking trails and recently growing in the woodchips surrounding my house. Stem becomes hollow with age.


Marasmius Androsaceus

Habitat: leaf litter, saprophytic
Season: spring through autumn
Spore Print: white
Notes: An absolutely ENORMOUS mushroom found growing directly on leaves. Due to the huge size I did not attempt a spore print and just enjoyed finding this mushroom while sitting down for a snack with my boys. The species in the photos could definitely be wrong.


Marasmius Oreades

Habitat: lawns, grassy areas
Season: summer and fall
Spore Print: white
Gills: Adnate, adnexed, or free
Notes: HAHA!!! Finally! After a year of owning “Mushrooms Demystified” by David Arora I made it to the end of his key with an LBM and a perfectly matched description. Originally I thought it was agrocybe pediades based solely on photos from “Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest” but after obtaining a spore print and noting gill attachment I realized I was wrong. “At first bell shaped or umbonate then convex or plane but often retaining an obtuse umbo… flesh tough, pliant… caps don’t decay quickly [i forgot that I had some specimens in my fridge for 30 days and they still looked fresh] and are usually free from maggots.” (p209 Arora) He also states that they are very tasty in almost any dish. I have not tried them yet. Clitocybe dealbata looks similar and contains the toxin muscarine but has adnate to decurrent gills and lacks an umbonate cap.


Mycena Haematopus

Habitat: saprobe on decaying hardwood
Season: spring through fall
Spore Print: white
Gills: narrowly attached, nearly distant
Notes: a stand-out feature of this mushroom is the reddish-purple juice that seeps out when the stem is cut.


Panaeolina Foenisecii 

Habitat: grassy areas, saprophytic
Season: spring and early summer
Spore Print: dark brown
Gills: adnate and soon seceding, mottled
Notes: An inconspicuous LBM. These are incredibly common and the only reason why I was able to properly ID them among the thousands of seemingly identical LBM’s is due to the growing location (lawns), the viscid cap with a dark brown ring along the cap edges, and the dark brown spore print.


Pholiota Adiposa (species questionable)

Habitat: decaying hard wood roots
Season: Found late october
Spore Print: dark rusty brown
Gills: decurrent
Notes: I originally thought this was a Gymnopilus but after tons of digging I ended up asking some mycologists who all agreed that it was Pholiota due to the darker spores and viscid cap. It had some mold growing on top so the specimen was old but still impressive considering the recent freezing temperatures.


Pleurotus Ulmarius (see notes)

Habitat: deciduous trees, saprophytic
Season: late summer through fall
Spore Print: white
Notes: “Elm Caps [P. Ulmarius] are often mistaken for oyster mushrooms.” (excerpt from Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest). This exact same thing happened to me. As I saw these hanging off the underside of a downed tree I became quite excited until I pull them off and realized they had a full stem and cap. WTF!? The gills did not run down the stem like in P. Pulmonarius either… I identified this mushroom as P.Ulmarius but you can look far above and see Hypsizygus Ulmarius which is supposedly a synonym but they seem to have very different flesh and stems. I am leaving them seperate until I can figure out what the hell is going on (anyone got a microscope I can borrow?).


Pluteus Petasatus

Habitat: forests & lawns on rotting or buried wood, saprophytic
Season: spring through fall
Spore Print: salmon pink
Gills: free, crowded
Notes: The first time I found this mushroom (which was 15cm!) it was baking in the hot sun, no shade, in dry dirt. I was quite fascinated because this seemed like the absolute worst possible growing conditions for such a large mushroom. P. Petasatus stands out because it has a shiny cap when totally dry. This mushroom grows from buried wood and roots. Originally the very heavy and wet spore print looked brown so I questioned the ID (p. petasatus has a “salmon” spore color) but as the spore print dried it turned a light-reddish-brown also known as salmon! Very common in Sioux Falls, SD.


Psathyrella (possible Psilocybe)

Habitat: ?, growing on dead logs & possible buried wood in sandy soil
Season: found in August
Spore Print: black
Gills: attached, distant
Notes: I stumbled on this LBM when I was hiking solo after almost 3 days of rainy overcast weather mid September. This means I didn’t have my kids with me and could really obsess over something as boring as this little mushroom. I tried my very hardest to ID based on macro characteristics but not one of my four guide books had this mushroom in it (I can’t blame them!). Spore print was completely black. I am assuming this is psathyrella based on Stamet’s key but psilocybe based on Arora’s key. I tried to blow off some sand and the cap exploded (brittle). Then I squeezed a mature cap and it was quite robust? The stem snaps partially but can be bent 180* against itself without fully breaking. Mature gills have white edges and the pellicle is separable.


Xeromphalina (unknown species)

Habitat: saprobic, decaying hardwood debris (not usually on logs)
Season: found in late fall
Spore Print: white
Gills: attached
Notes: I found this cluster popping up in very loose-sandy soil on day 3 of light sprinkles in 45°F weather in November. KOH dark reddish brown. No smell, slightly sweet taste. I want to identify it as X.Tenuipes but the lack of fuzz on the stem and the very late season growth do not match X.Tenuipes characteristics.


Xerula Megalospora

Habitat: saprobic, decaying hardwood debris (not usually on logs)
Season: spring through fall
Spore Print: white
Gills: attached or notched
Notes: be careful when making a spore print! During my first print attempt the cap turned into maggot infested goo within a day. Also, my specimens had gills that were almost decurrent.