Deer Mushroom

(Pluteus cervinus)

Conservation Status
Deer Mushroom
Photo by Luciearl
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Deer Mushroom is a medium-sized, nondescript, woodland mushroom. It occurs in Europe, Japan, southern Australia, the United States, Mexico, and southern Canada. In the United States it is common east of the Great Plains, uncommon on the West Coast, and mostly absent in between. It is common in Minnesota. It is found in the spring and again in the fall, alone or in groups, in deciduous and mixed forests and woodlands. It grows on decaying logs and tree stumps of hardwoods, occasionally also of conifers. It sometimes grows on the ground on underground tree roots or on soil high in lignin. It is similar in appearance to Patrician Deer Mushroom (Pluteus petasatus), a common wood chip species. Deer Mushroom will grow on sawdust and wood waste piles in woodlands but is not found on wood chips in urban areas. It gets its nutrients from decaying wood (saprobic).

The cap is 1¾ to 4 (4.5 to 10 cm) in diameter. It is convex at first, flattening out and becoming broadly convex to flat when mature. Older caps sometimes have a raised knob or bump in the middle (umbonate). The upper surface is hairless, smooth, and dry, but slightly sticky when wet. It is dark or pale brown in the center and often paler toward the margins. The margin is straight and unlined or only faintly lined (striate).

The stalk is 2 to 5 (5 to 13 cm) long and 3 16 to (5 to 15 mm) thick. It may be straight or slightly broader at the base. It is usually covered with fine, grayish or brownish fibers (fibrils). Sometimes it is white and bald.

The gills are broad, closely spaced or crowded, and not attached to the stalk (free). They are white at first, turning pinkish then eventually flesh-colored with age. Between the primary gills there are short, secondary gills originating at the margin.

The flesh is soft and white. It does not change color when cut. It is edible. Young mushrooms are firm and have a radish-like odor and slightly radish-like taste. Mature mushrooms may be limp or waterlogged and not suitable for collecting.

The spore print is pink.


Similar Species

Habitat and Hosts

Deciduous and mixed forests and woodlands




Spring and fall


Distribution Map



4, 7, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.





  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subphylum Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushrooms, bracket fungi, puffballs, and allies)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Agaricales (common gilled mushrooms and allies)  
  Suborder Pluteineae  
  Family Pluteaceae  
  Genus Pluteus (deer mushrooms)  
  Section Pluteus  

Recent research suggests that Pluteus cervinus is actually a group of closely related species that can be distinguished only by looking at the spores under a microscope.




Agaricus lividus

Pluteus atricapillus


Common Names


Deer Mushroom

Fawn Mushroom











A term often used for saprotrophic fungi. Referring to fungi that obtain their nutrients from decayed organic matter.



Striped or grooved in parallel lines (striae).



On mushrooms, having a distinct, raised, knob-like projection in the center of the cap.

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Honey Fae (Farah)

    Deer Mushroom   Deer Mushroom  


    Deer Mushroom   Deer Mushroom  
    Deer Mushroom      








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Other Videos
  Deer Mushroom — Edible, But Is It Worth Eating?
Learn Your Land

May 16, 2017

The Deer Mushroom (Pluteus cervinus) is an edible spring mushroom with mixed reviews. In this video, I take a look at this interesting fungus and discuss all facets of its existence.

Music: Barefoot McCoy — Cali

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  Pluteus Cervinus mushrooms aka pink bottoms, deer mushroom, fawn mushroom

Aug 15, 2016

Pluteus cervinus is a mushroom commonly found on old sawdust piles around sawmills, etc. Also called deer mushrooms, fawn mushrooms, pink bottoms. Great to eat!




Visitor Sightings

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  Honey Fae (Farah)

Location: Hennepin County

Deer Mushroom  

Location: Cass County

Deer Mushroom  
Spring 2020

Location: Cass County

Deer Mushroom  






Created: 10/10/2020

Last Updated:

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