Some edible mushrooms found in Missouri include morels, chanterelles, hen of the woods, lobster mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and giant puffballs. These mushrooms are the easiest types to recognize for beginning mushroom hunters due to their unique appearances.
Chanterelle mushrooms are easily recognized by their bright orange or yellow coloring and clustered growth with wavy cap edges. There are two other types of chanterelle in Missouri that are also edible. The cinnabar chanterelle grows in a vase-like shape and is bright orange. The black chanterelle, sometimes called the black trumpet, is a black mushroom with a wide, trumpet-shaped cap.
The hen of the woods mushroom is known commercially as a maitake. It grows in large clusters of spoon-shaped caps. It has the appearance of a ruffled chicken and usually grows at the base of oak trees. Morels grow only in the spring, and some have pale caps, while others have dark brown to black caps.
The lobster mushroom is a fat mushroom with a bright orange color. A bumpy layer of orange or orange-red mold completely covers the mushroom. Oyster mushrooms have gray or tan smooth, wide caps and stubby stalks. They grow in clusters on the trunks or stumps of trees. Giant puffballs are white, round balls that tend to grow in open grassy areas.