Advice and tips from Washington State University mycologist Lori Carris on safe hunting for mushrooms.

Read about morel mushrooms and Carris’s research.

Basic tips

  • Learn the rules & regulations for your area
  • Learn to recognize the common edible mushrooms AND poisonous mushrooms
  • Eat mushrooms in moderation even when you are confident of identification
  • Always cook mushrooms thoroughly before eating.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

A good guidebook is essential

A mushroom guide should be:

  • Easy to use, with lots of color pictures
  • Accurate & up to date
  • Relevant to the area in which you are collecting

It also helps to attend mushroom classes, shows, and clubs.

Lori Carris leads mushroom class
WSU plant pathologist Lori Carris leads a mushroom class near Pullman. (Courtesy Lori Carris)

Mushroom Poisoning

  • Children, adults and dogs can be poisoned
  • Most common poisonings are gastrointestinal problems and are not reported
  • Some types of mushrooms contain enough toxins to kill
  • If you suspect mushroom poisoning, contact a physician or your local poison control center
  • Save a sample of the mushrooms consumed

Books and links

Trudell & Ammirati.  2009.  Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.  Timber Press.

Arora. 1986.  Mushrooms Demystified.  Ten Speed Press.

Arora.  1991.  All That the Rain Promises and More:  A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms.  Ten Speed Press.

Michael Kuo’s

Pacific Northwest Key Council’s Keys to Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest

North American Mycological Association (NAMA)

Morel Mushroom Hunting Club