4 Orange Mushrooms that Grow on Trees
Mushrooms come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Several species of mushroom are a bright, eye-catching orange, and a few of these varieties grow on trees.
Many of these mushrooms are saprobic decomposers, meaning that they grow on dead or dying trees and break down and recycle wood and other forest debris.
Some are also parasitic species that eventually kill the trees they grow on. Let’s dive into three orange mushrooms that grow on trees and how they interact with their environment.
1. Jack-O’Lantern Mushroom (Omphalotus illudens)
Jack-o’-Lantern mushrooms get their name for their bright orange to yellowish orange color. These mushrooms also have sharp-edged gills on their stalks, which sometimes give off a faint greenish glow in the dark, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Despite their striking appearance, Jack-o’-Lantern mushrooms are poisonous and should never be eaten. Though they are not life-threatening to healthy adults, consuming these mushrooms will cause mild to severe upset stomach. They appear in North America, mainly east of the Rocky Mountains.
Jack-o’-lantern mushrooms are frequently mistaken for delicious chanterelle mushrooms. However, while chanterelle mushrooms grow singly on the forest floor, Jack-o’-lantern mushrooms appear in large clusters on wood — such as at the base of trees, on tree stumps, or on buried wood. Jack-o’-lantern mushrooms appear during the summer and fall.
2. Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)
The laetiporus genus of mushroom is commonly referred to by its nickname, chicken of the woods. In fact, many people describe this edible mushroom as having a similar taste and texture to chicken meat.
Chicken of the woods mushrooms are quite common and easily identifiable. According to Leafy Place, they are golden yellow or orange in color and create shelf-like overlapping growths on trees. Fresh chicken of the woods also emits a strong, earthy scent.
The fungus grows on both living and dead trees. They most commonly grow on oaks but also appear on a number of other trees, including eucalyptus, yew, sweet chestnut, and willow. Unfortunately chicken of the woods mushrooms are parasitic and eventually kill the host tree. This species makes its home in North America, South America, and Europe.
3. Enokitake Mushrooms (Flammulina velutipes)
Enokitake are also known as enoki or velvet shank mushrooms. In the wild, this funghi grows on the wood of trees — particularly elms. They have brown stems and a yellow to orange cap when exposed to sunlight, according to Forager Chef. Wild enoki mushrooms appear in the spring and fruit throughout the year in Europe and North America.
Enoki mushrooms frequently make their way into Japanese cooking. However, enoki mushrooms that are cultivated for culinary use are small in size, have long delicate stems, and are white in color.
They are known by the scientific name Flammulina filiformis and are a popular ingredient in soups, stir-fries, and salads. The two species were thought to belong to the same species, but DNA sequencing has shown them to be distinct, according to research from Mycological Progress.
4. Orange Mycena (Mycena leaiana)
Orange mycena are small, sticky mushrooms that grow in dense clusters on deciduous wood. These mushrooms are saprobic decomposers, meaning they get their nutrients from dead or decaying wood, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The cap of a young orange mycena is oval, shiny, and bright reddish-orange in color, writes Minnesota Seasons. Over time the mushroom becomes more distinctly bell-shaped or even flat. The color fades to bright orange, then paler and more yellow.
These mushrooms grow in parts of North America, including Mexico, and Central America. A variety of this species also occurs in eastern Australia and New Zealand.
Orange mycena won’t poison humans. Still, they shouldn’t be eaten and reportedly have no distinctive taste. However, the species does have antibiotic and antitumor properties, making it an important little fungus for humans.
Summary of 4 Orange Mushrooms that Grow on Trees
|1||Jack-O’-Lantern||Omphalotus illudens||Poisonous||North America|
|2||Chicken of the Woods||Laetiporus sulphureus||Edible, similar taste and texture to chicken meat||North America, South America, and Europe|
|3||Enokitake||Flammulina velutipes||Edible, but Flammulina filiformis is the popular choice for consuming||North America and Europe|
|4||Orange Mycena||Mycena leaiana||Not edible||North America, Central America, Australia, and New Zealand|