Honey Mushrooms

(Armillaria mellea group)

Honey Mushroom
Photo by diraek

Honey Mushroom was formerly considered an extremely variable species with a very broad distribution and a wide host range. It was the only species in the genus Armillaria. Spore tests were conducted to see which fungi would “mate”. If they mated, they were the same species. The tests resulted in splitting Armillaria mellea into 35 species worldwide. Subsequent DNA studies in 2012 and 2013 upheld the results of the mating tests. Nine of these species occur in North America. One of them was transferred to the new genus Desarmillaria. Identification in the field from morphological features is difficult at best and may not always be possible. For that reason, the species are are often treated as a species group.


Honey Mushroom usually appears in small to massive clusters on stumps or logs, on the lower trunk of living trees, or on the ground on tree roots; occasionally solitary on the ground.


On young mushrooms the gills are enveloped in a protecting, Kleenex-like, cottony, membranous tissue (partial veil). At maturity, the veil breaks up to release the spores. Remnants of the veil usually remain as a ring near the top of the stalk. There are sometimes fragments of the veil clinging to the rim of mature mushrooms.

The cap is 1¼ to 6 in diameter and convex at first. With age it may become broadly convex or flat, with or without a raised “bump” in the center, or convex with uplifted margins. The cap color is extremely variable. It may be yellowish-brown (honey colored), reddish-brown, pinkish-brown, tan, or some similar color. There are usually tiny brown scales, most dense in the center and more or less radiating outward.

The flesh is thick. It is white when young, sometimes becoming pale tan with age. It is edible and tastes mild when cooked but bitter when raw.

The stalk is tough, fibrous, 2 to 8 long, and 3 16to 2 in diameter. When clustered, the stalk tapers to the base. When solitary, the stalk is enlarged at the base. It is smooth, dry, and whitish above the ring, reddish-brown or yellowish below. When young it is often covered with cottony scales.

The gills are white when young, becoming yellowish or flesh-colored, then brown or with dark spots in age. They are usually broadly attached and may slightly run down the stalk. Occasionally they are notched at the base.

The spores are white. In mature clusters, white spore dust is usually visible on top of the lower caps.


Distribution Map



4, 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 Marasmiineae  
  Family Physalacriaceae  
  Genus Armillaria (honey mushrooms)  

Subordinate Taxa


Bulbous Honey Mushroom (Armillaria gallica)

Dark Honey Fungus (Armillaria solidipes)

honey mushroom (Armillaria calvescens) ?

honey mushroom (Armillaria gemina)

Honey Mushroom (Armillaria mellea)

honey mushroom (Armillaria NABS XI ?)

honey mushroom (Armillaria nabsnona)

honey mushroom (Armillaria sinapina)

Ringless Honey Mushroom (Desarmillaria tabescens)




Agaricus melleus

Agaricus sulphureus

Armillaria mellea var. glabra

Armillaria mellea var. maxima

Armillaria mellea var. minor

Armillaria mellea var. sulphurea

Armillariella mellea

Clitocybe mellea

Lepiota mellea


Common Names


Honey Mushroom

The Honey Fungus













Partial veil

A protective covering over the gills or pores of a developing mushroom. At maturity it disappears, collapses into a ring around the stalk, or wears away into a cobwebby covering and ring zone.

Visitor Photos

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Sandy Jacoby

    Honey Mushroom      

Jennifer Dimich

    Honey Mushroom      



These mushroom were everywhere on the trail. If edible, someone could have a full meal.

    Honey Mushroom      

Jamal Matteson


Growing like mad near my home.

    Honey Mushroom      


    Honey Mushroom   Honey Mushroom  


    Honey Mushroom      


    Honey Mushroom   Honey Mushroom  
    Honey Mushroom      
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos








Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Honey Mushroom - Armillaria mellea

Uploaded on Feb 24, 2009

Tradd finds a honey mushroom patch, a problematic mushrooms that attacks living and dead trees, and it is very parasitic.

  The Honey Fungus (Armillaria mellea)
Roger Griffith

Published on Oct 8, 2013

The Honey or Bootlace Fungus (Armillaria mellea) at Spier's Old School Grounds, Beith, North Ayrshire, Scotland. This fungus is very destructive and kills many trees in plantations and woodlands. A parasitic fungus was found on one troop appearing as a white cotton wool-like growth on the caps and stems of the mushrooms.

  Armillaria mellea

Published on Nov 1, 2015

Armillaria mellea, commonly known as honey fungus, is a basidiomycete fungus in the genus Armillaria. It is a plant pathogen and part of a cryptic species complex of closely related and morphologically similar species. It causes Armillaria root rot in many plant species and produces mushrooms around the base of trees it has infected.

  Honey Mushrooms - Armillaria mellea - Yellow Variety
Dan Kennedy

Published on Oct 30, 2015

Yellow variety of Honey Mushrooms... Armillaria mellea.

  Foraging for Ringed Honey Mushrooms (Armillaria mellea) - www.Returntonature.us

Published on Oct 12, 2015

The ringed honey mushroom (Armillaria mellea) is a common wild edible mushroom distributed widely throughout North America. Heres a video showing you a look at some of its key features..

Forage safely,




Visitor Sightings

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  Apricity Apricity
Fall 2021

Location: Martin County, Fairmont, MN

  Jennifer Dimich

Location: Ely MN

Honey Mushroom  

Location: Cass County

Honey Mushroom  
  Jamal Matteson

Location: Aitkin, MN

Growing like mad near my home.

Honey Mushroom  
September 2020

Location: Tamarack Nature Center

Honey Mushroom  

Location: Walker, MN

I am wondering if these are Honey Mushrooms. The grew in the same place last Fall too.

Honey Mushroom  

Location: Brainard, Minnesota, USA

Honey Mushroom  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings






Created: 10/18/2016

Last Updated:

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