Edible Mushrooms


Chicken Mushroom Growing on Tree in Brooklyn

Chicken Mushroom Growing on a Tree in Brooklyn

Brooklyn, NY. The latest Urban Forager on mushrooms you’re likely to find in NYC was supposed to be a round-up of a variety of mushrooms both edible and non-edible. But the story was running very long and before you know it, I was cutting all the non-edible ones out–like some potentially stomach-upsetting Agaricus [actually very edible Agaricus bernardii] I’d found on the grassy lawn near the car park on campus.

Many of the mushroom pics I sent to my editor didn’t make it to either the online version of the story or the Sunday Metro section, so I’m including them here. Photos are helpful, and so are guides like Gary Lincoff’s “National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms,” but the best is going out into the field with someone who knows. Always do your research and make spore prints to help with identification.

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Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus)

Fresh oysters abound through the city from all the recent rains. These gilled mushrooms I found growing high atop a deciduous tree are basically creamy-white and only slightly yellowish at the edges.

Lingzhi or Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)

Lingzhi or Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)

Lingzhi or reishi mushrooms appear in NYC more often that one would think. My editor found one growing on Lincoln Place in Park Slope. I saw my first Ganoderma lucidum in Central Park growing on a willow tree.

Lingzhis or reishis can be a little scary-looking, but this is one mushroom I have great reverence for. As a tea or tincture, it’s one of the bitterest of bitter herbs, and sort of the Number One Son of Chinese medicine. I drink it as a tea at the first sign of cold and it usually cuts it to the quick.

I found this young specimen growing on a sycamore tree just outside my stoop in Brooklyn. Once fully mature, its white edges will darken and the entire upper surface will appear a shellacky, reddish-brown.

(See older post for pics of Giant Puffball).

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