It’s sad to say, but the most common mushroom in the woods right now is the Honey mushroom, Armillaria ostoyae (to the best of my knowledge,) a parasite that eventually kills and decomposes its host. Until we get rain and more edible species make an appearance, many of us will pick and eat the tasty fruit of this destroying fungus. This is such an incredibly variable mushroom, making it hard to identify, a real challenge for beginners. The buttons look totally different than the mature mushroom. The whole mushroom can be giant or small. This white-spored species growing on wood can be confused with several others such as Pholiota (brown spores) and the deadly Galerina (rusty-brown spores and small stature.) We searched for any look-alikes this weekend and found nothing other than Honeys, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there! It seems more and more rare to find the poisonous look-alikes, but mushroom hunters must know of all possibilities if they plan to eat wild varieties. The main point I want to make, however, is that Honeys are more likely to cause some people gastric upset than others. The rate of allergic reactions to this mushroom is much higher than others. One unfortunate student discovered this fact from the Honeys we all took home and enjoyed without problems. I know that there are tons of Honeys in the woods and I know they are tasty. Just be so very sure of what you are picking and don’t overdue it. Eat only a few to start and wait a couple hours before trying more. Test out one new type of mushroom at a time or you won’t know which one caused you a problem.
BE THOROUGH AND CERTAIN OF YOUR ID. Before cooking them, look each bunch over carefully as you cut them up and if in doubt, throw them out – but NOT in the compost, only in the trash. Your yard does not need a parasitic mushroom.
Having said all that, Honey mushrooms are popular with my students.