Some edible fall mushrooms include the chanterelle, the giant puffball, and the hen of the woods. The chicken of the woods is another edible fall mushroom with a similar name to the hen of the woods, but very different form and flavor. Because many of these mushrooms are similar in appearance to toxic or unpleasant mushrooms, only experienced mushroom hunters should harvest them from the wild.
The chanterelle is typically a medium-sized mushroom that ranges in color from pale yellow to bright orange. It is not solely a fall mushroom, as it actually grows year round in many temperate locations. While most chanterelle caps range in size from the diameter of an adult's thumb to the diameter of an opened palm, massive specimens as large as two entire hand-widths across grow in the Pacific Northwest.
The giant puffball is a white mushroom that is easy to identify because of its round shape and large size. Giant puffballs have few toxic look-alikes, and inedible species typically have a foul odor that makes avoiding them easy.
The hen of the woods does not have the typical mushroom shape with a stem and cap, but rather many delicate appendages surrounding a large, sturdy central column. The chicken of the woods is a bracket fungus, meaning it grows on the sides of the trees. This incredibly bright orange mushroom is also known as sulphur shelf, and it takes its name from the fact that it tastes remarkably similar to chicken.