Minnesota Fungi
Kingdom Fungi

Fungi is the kingdom of living organisms that is characterized by lacking chlorophyll, feeding on dead and decaying organic matter, producing spores, and having cells with cell walls that contain chitin. The order includes mushrooms, puffballs, rusts, smuts, sac fungi, molds, yeasts, Penicillium, bread molds, and organisms that cause plant and animal diseases such as athlete’s foot and leaf spot.

While there are about 100,000 described species, there are estimated to be over 1,500,000 species worldwide. According to the Bell Museum of Natural History, there are 9,000 species expected to be native to Minnesota “based on the number of vascular plant species native to the state and the ratio of fungi to vascular plants for well documented parts of Europe.”

To date, only two states have declared a state mushroom: Minnesota and Oregon. In 2010, the Minnesota legislature declared that the Yellow Morel (Morchella esculenta) is the state mushroom of Minnesota.

Recent research based on DNA comparisons have resulted in changes in taxonomic order at all levels, even the highest (fungi are now considered to be closer to animals than plants). As a result, authoritative sources of information about fungi on the Web provide differing binomial names and lineages for the same species. The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) on-line database, http://www.itis.gov, avoids this problem by providing only sparse coverage on fungi. The classifications on MinnesotaSeasons.com will be based on the taxonomy database maintained by NCBI/GenBank34.


European Starling



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Northern Tooth

This is a widespread and fairly common tooth fungus. The fruiting body is annual and often massive, up to 20 tall and 10 wide. It consists of tight, overlapping layers of shelf-like caps joined at the base by a whitish plate. It lives high on the trunks if living hardwood trees, especially sugar maple. It enters the tree through a wound and causes heartwood rot. It is sometimes found on recently dead trees and stumps but is rarely found on fallen logs.

Northern Tooth is not poisonous but is not edible due to a bitter taste and a tough texture. It has a sour smell when it is fresh, an unpleasant, rancid odor as it dries.

  Northern Tooth
  Photo by Bill Reynolds

White Cheese Polypore
  White Cheese Polypore

This common, widespread, fleshy, medium-sized, bracket (shelf-like) fungus. It is not edible. It is found singly or in groups of two or three on decaying stumps and logs usually on dead hardwoods. The cheesy texture of the mature bracket gives this fingis its common name.


Russula paludosa
  Russula paludosa

This is a common, widespread mushroom. It has no common name. It is large and brightly colored. It is found on the ground growing on the roots of pines in mixed woods and coniferous forests from early summer to early autumn.This mushroom is edible but can be easily mistaken for Russula emetica, a poisonous mushroom.




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American Hawthorn Rust (Gymnosporangium globosum)


American Hawthorn Rust





Artist’s Conk





Black Knot










Chicken of the Woods





Dead Man’s Fingers





Dryad’s Saddle





False Coral Fungus





Fried Chicken Mushroom





Lobster Mushroom





Northern Tooth







Old Man of the Woods







Russula paludosa





Russula pulchra





Scarlet Waxy Cap





Shaggy Mane





Stalked Scarlet Cup





White Cheese Polypore





White Jelly Fungus


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Artist’s Conk (Ganoderma applanatum)

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Black Knot (Apiosporina morbosa)


Boletus subcaerulescens


Cavern Beard Lichen (Usnea cavernosa)


Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

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Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius)

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Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)


Cytospora Canker (Valsa sordida)


Confusing Bolete (Strobilomyces confusus)

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Crown Rust (Puccinia coronata)


Crown-tipped Coral (Artomyces pyxidatus)

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Dead Man’s Fingers (Xylaria polymorpha)


Death Cap (Amanita phalloides)


Deer Mushroom (Pluteus cervinus)


Destroying Angel (Amanita bisporiger)


Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa)

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Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus)

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Entomosporium Leaf Spot (Diplocarpon mespili)

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False Coral Fungus (Tremellodendron pallidum)


False Tinder Fungus (Phellinus igniarius)


False Turkey Tail (Stereum ostrea)


Fan-shaped Jelly Fungus (Dacryopinax spathularia)

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Fried Chicken Mushroom (Lyophyllum decastes)

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Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea)

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Gray False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. grisea)

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Jack-o’-Lantern Mushroom (Omphalotus olearius)


Lacquered Bracket (Ganoderma lucidum)


Lavender False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. lavendula)


Leaf Curl (Taphrina communis)

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Lobster Mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum)

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Northern Tooth (Climacodon septentrionalis)

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Oak Anthracnose (Apiognomonia errabunda)


Oak Wilt (Ceratocystis fagacearum)

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Old Man of the Woods (Strobilomyces strobilaceus)


Peppery Milkcap (Lactarius piperatus)


Russula sp.


Russula flavisiccans

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Russula paludosa

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Russula pulchra


Rust of Prickly Ash (Puccinia andropogonis var. xanthoxyli)

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Saffron Milk Cap (Lactarius deliciosus)


Sarcosoma globosum

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Scarlet Cup (Sarcoscypha austriaca)


Scarlet Waxy Cap (Hygrocybe punicea)


Scorched Bracket (Bjerkandera adusta)

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Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus)


Short-stemmed Russula (Russula brevipes)

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Stalked Scarlet Cup (Sarcoscypha occidentalis)


Tar Spot (Rhytisma americanum)


True Tinder Polypore (Fomes fomentarius)


Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)

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White Cheese Polypore (Tyromyces chioneus)

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White False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. alba)

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White Jelly Fungus (Ductifera pululahuana)


White Puffball (Lycoperdon candidum)


Yellow Morel (Morchella esculenta)










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Capitalization of Common Names

Fungi common names are governed by International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN). According to the ICN, fungi common names can be either capitalized or not. In Britain fungi common names are governed by The British Mycological Society (BMS). The BMS formed a working party in 2005 to standardize common names of fungi. The project is ongoing, but a current checklist is available on the BMS Website. According to BMS, “the use of capitals for the English name in published texts will be to an extent determined by the publisher.” The BMS checklist uses capitalized common English language names. Most authors today also use capitalized common names for fungi. MinnesotaSeasons.com will adhere to the convention adopted by BMS.






























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