MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link
Physical Characteristics of Common Poisonous Mushrooms of North America

Physical Characteristics of Common Poisonous Mushrooms of North America

Genus and Species

Color of Cap




Amanita muscaria

Red to orange-red, sometimes yellow or white

Ground-pine, spruce, birch, poplar, hemlock, and oak trees

June–Nov, Nov-Feb (California)

Widespread, common in eastern US, California, and Pacific Northwest

Amanita ocreata

White or cream-colored

Sandy soils under oaks or pines

Winter and spring

Pacific Coast from Baja California to Washington

A pantherina

Brow with white warts, margins with short white striations

Ground under conifers (Douglas fir)

June, Sept–Oct, Nov–Feb (California)

Rocky Mountains and west coast; rare in the eastern US

A phalloides

Greenish-yellow, yellow or sometimes brownish green

Ground under conifers, hardwoods; junipers and oaks

Late summer, fall, and winter

Maine to Virginia west to Ohio; Pacific Northwest to California

A bisporigera

Stark white to ivory

Ground under oaks and other hardwoods

Summer and fall

Eastern North America from Texas to the northern Maritime provinces

Chlorophyllum molybdites

Initially smooth and brown but soon breaking up into brown scales or patches

Lawn, pastures, meadows, fairy rings


Florida to California, common in Denver, reported in New York and New Jersey

Clitocybe spp

White, whitish gray, or buff


Year round (but depending on species)

Widespread in North America

Cortinarius orellanus

Tawny-brown to reddish-orange

Ground under conifers, birches, and oaks


Widespread in North America

Galerina marginata

Yellow-brown to brown

Moss, well-decayed conifers and logs

Summer and fall

Throughout North America

Gyromitra esculenta

Yellow-brown, reddish brown, or dark-brown, cerebriform with lobes

Ground under conifers

Spring: April–early June

Throughout North America

Inocybe spp

White, yellow to brownish-yellow

Ground under conifers

Summer and fall: May–Nov

Widespread in North America

Lepiota spp

White to yellow-brown with brown scales

Ground conifers, grass, leaf litter, oak and mixed woods

July–Oct (Michigan, Ohio); July–Nov (Florida); Nov–Feb (California)

Throughout North America

Paxillus involutus

Yellow-brown, brown, or reddish-brown

Ground: single or numerous on wood in mixed woods


Widespread in North America

Psilocybe cubensis

Reddish-brown to golden-brown

Dung (cattle ranching), decaying wood chips

Year round

Gulf Coast

Russula emetica


Single or group; on sphagnum moss, rarely on very rotten wood, conifers, or mixed woods


Widespread in North America