The Ringless Honey Mushroom: Armillaria Tabescens

by | Aug 1, 2018 | Foraging

If you live in the North East or near the Great Lakes (or east of the Mississippi) then you are seeing this wild mushroom now. In LARGE amounts. EVERYWHERE!

This mushroom starts to show up in late summer and seems to suddenly appear out of thin air. I really enjoy eating this fungus and love that I can step onto my lawn and harvest fresh mushrooms. But, there is a downside. A. tabescens is a ferocious parasite that will kill every tree it finds. It is also saprobic and will decompose the tree it killed. As you can see in the top left this fungus will seem to be growing in the grass, sometimes quite far from its host tree. Be assured that it is growing off the tree, in this case the trees roots.

Identifying Characteristics:

Look for a cap that ranges in color from straw-yellow to tan to maroon-brown and is covered with tiny scales. The scales tend to flake off with age leaving a slightly pitted bumpy texture. The gills are close to distant, will run a short ways down the stem, and be white or pinkish with age. The gills will slowly bruise brown when damaged and will leave a pure white spore deposit. The stems of this fungus will taper and seemingly fuse together at their base in a cepitose growth pattern.

How To Use It:

At Larder we grill this fungus over high heat and use it in duxelles, salads, and pickles. Be sure to thoroughly cook these Ringless Honey Mushrooms to reduce any possibility of gastric upset (bloating and gas). This is one fungus that you should definitely harvest without any reservation seeing that it is a death sentence for any tree it encounters.

Remember that if you ever have questions about wild edible plants or mushrooms that you can contact us. We always have a licensed wild mushroom expert in our store who can help you to properly and safely identify your foraged finds. Stop by in person with your finds or call us at 216.912.8203 or email to contact us with your questions.


      • Jennifer

        How can I kill these mushrooms? They are everywhere along an old tree root system and it looks HORRIBLE. How can I kill these mushrooms without killing the grass or anything else?

        • Katherine

          Armillaria is one of the largest, oldest, and longest living species on the planet. It would be almost impossible to completely eradicate the fungus from the soil. Your best bet would be to remove as much of the old tree root system as you can and remove any visible mushrooms when they pop up. You may also want to plant a Armillaria resistant shrub on the site to discourage mushrooms popping up there. Armillaria feeds mainly on weak woody plants in old growth forests and really loves maple trees in urban settings. However, it will also attack woody shrubs like roses, hollies, crepe myrtles, etc. There are even instances of it attacking strawberry plants. The best thing is to keep your plants happy and healthy and don’t plant anything you prize too close to the site of the mushrooms. Hope this helps!

  1. Donna

    I found some that are a darker brownish red. Not honeycolored the stems are a bit shaggy or? Not sure if best description but they are kind of wide at base not thin like in some pics. They have the black hairs when young do u think its them?

  2. Dave Perales

    Found these in an old cherry tree stump

  3. Dave Perales

    I parboiled.them.there are these tiny white rice lookin things in the fills here and there..any ideas what these are .spores??

    • Eurodanceqn

      I am sincerely sorry to tell you this, but they are maggots.

      Fungus gnats LOVE ringless honeys and will lay their eggs on them every chance they get. Fortunately most of them do get cooked out during parboiling, as you discovered, but it still might not be for the faint of heart.

  4. Stefanny Montes

    Hello !
    I found this mushroom growing on my plant and I’m not quite sure if it’s a honey mushroom. Can I share you the pic ?

  5. Lynn Venable

    Do these mushroom decompose into a black gooey mess with lots of maggots swimming in the goo?

    • William

      Yes! They do and you are the first person I’ve been able to find to confirm that for me. They were growing in three large patches outside in the yard and not even 24 hours later it looked like like three black blobs had fallen out of the sky and splattered onto the ground where they once were. Strangest thing I’ve ever seen.

    • Michelle Lewis

      YES!! I have that happening at the base of my maple tree right now and along the ground where the roots are. Thousands of them.

      • Michelle Lewis

        To clarify, “thousands” is in reference to the maggots, not the mushrooms.


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