Shelf Mushrooms

This page lists only shelf mushrooms of South Dakota (and the Midwest). A shelf mushroom grows laterally from a tree or object. The mushroom may or may not have a stem. If you want to identify other types of mushrooms in SD such as spherical mushrooms, mushrooms with gills, mushrooms with atypical caps, etc. please start on the main mycology page:

Daedaleopsis Confragosa

Habitat: saprobic, decaying hardwood
Spore Print: white
Season: summer through winter
Notes: This specimen was spotted on a dead stump at the local apple orchard near Sioux Falls, SD. I had to sneak away from my apple picking duties to grab a few photos. The identification may be wrong as I was unable to spore-print this mushroom or do a KOH test.

Ganoderma Applanatum

Habitat: parasitic, live or dead deciduous trees
Spore Print: brown
Season: perennial
Notes: Also known as “Artist’s Conk”. This absolute behemoth in the photo above was found while crawling through a pile of junk next to an overflow tunnel on a dead tree. I see this mushroom so frequently that apparently I stopped taking pictures of it. I love this mushroom because it is one of the few I come across on my family’s -0*F winter hikes. Apparently can be used for a “medicinal tea” per Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest.

Gloeophyllum Sepiarium

Habitat: saprobe, dead or burried wood
Spore Print: unknown
Season: august & september
Notes: not edible but looks pretty darn cool. The spore surface is an odd mixture of veiny gills and the mushroom itself is hard and woody. Found 2022 at Good Earth, SD kids play area and at an abandoned cemetery.

Ischnoderma resinosum

Habitat: saprobe, deciduous wood, sometimes very sick live trees
Spore Print: white
Season: fall
Notes: young specimens are edible when gently stewed. I gotta try it next year!

Laetiporus Sulphureus

Habitat: grows on wood, saprobe & parasite
Spore Print: white
Season: late summer through fall
Notes: commonly called chicken of the woods, this is a very popular edible mushroom. It is super easy to identify due to the bright orange and yellow fruiting body and it tastes absolutely delicious. We roll them in flour -> oat milk -> bread crumbs and then fry them up like chicken strips. I eat this mushroom by the POUNDS! Haha.

Phellinus igniarius

Habitat: grows on hardwood mainly birch, willow, cottonwood, alder. parasite (and saprobe?)
Spore Print: white
Season: grows spring to summer but present year round
Notes: per Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest this mushroom is difficult to distinguish from other Phellinus species. “Host tree provides the best clue.” It has some studied medicinal uses including protecting the liver from alcohol damage, helping diabetics regulate blood sugars, and amplifies the effect of nicotine. (source =, not the best reference but I hope to look into this further!). The photos of this mushroom were taken in South Eastern Minnesota.

Pleurotus Pulmonarius

Habitat: living and dead wood
Spore Print: whitish
Season: late spring through early winter
Notes: The damn bugs ALWAYS beat me to these!!! I may have the wrong Pleurotus species but according to Marrone and Yerich there are three oyster mushrooms that are almost impossible to differentiate without microscopic work. I kept the spores from this specific mushroom for my own mushroom farm! Found 9/19/22 two days after three days of light rain and overcast weather. Cooked up with onion, garlic, and veggie butter. So delicious!

Polyporus Mori

Habitat: branches and sticks of deciduous trees
Spore Print: white
Season: early spring through fall
Notes: These mushrooms pop up in the spring during morel season and they stick around all through summer. As they age, they begin to turn pale yellow. They can be growing on twigs up in a dead tree or from sticks laying on the ground. Generally smaller than a few inches.

Polyporus Squamosis

Habitat: parasitic and saprophytic on wood
Spore Print: white
Season: early spring through late fall
Notes: This mushroom can get absolutely enormous and almost impossible to miss. If you find a young specimen (cap breaks in chunks instead of flexing like leather) then you found yourself a big meal! This is a shelf mushroom but I have found it growing straight up from the ground on a short black stem looking like a traditional GIANT mushroom. On 9/19/22 I ran across three guys (they spoke horrible English, haha) carrying over 50 pounds of this. After a lot of hand-gestures and laughing I learned that they make a spicy chilli with it. Check out my foraging video for identification and edibility tips:

Unknown (possible Pseudoinonotus Dryadeus)

Habitat: a living tree
Spore Print: –
Season: –
Notes: This fungus was found in late august two days after a short rainfall. It felt spongey just like Laetiporus Sulphureus but the colors weren’t bright enough. Also, old specimins of L. Sulphureus get bleached white so it isn’t an old specimin either. I need to take more time for a better ID

Schizophyllum commune

Habitat: saprobic, sometimes parasitic
Spore Print: white
Season: spring through fall
Notes: I find this tiny shelf mushroom in forests and parks on sticks and logs. The gill-like folds are “split” down the center which is the main identifying feature. Finely hairy cap.

Stereum Hirsutum

Habitat: saprobic
Spore Print: difficult to obtain
Season: spring through fall and into winter
Notes: This species is hairy and I personally find it less often than Stereum Ostrea.

Trametes Hirsuta

Habitat: saprophytic, dead wood
Spore Print: whitish
Season: spring through fall
Notes: may be confused with T. Versicolor but has quite a fuzzy top, with a brownish outer band, and larger pores than T. versicolor.

Trametes Versicolor

Habitat: saprophytic, dead wood
Spore Print: whitish
Season: spring through fall
Notes: I find this mushroom so frequently and in such impressively huge clusters that I stopped photographing it and learned to just enjoy the awesomeness. But I have recently gained some interest in using this mushroom in teas due to the science coming out on its ability to help treat certain types of cancer.