Weirdo mushrooms of NW Ontario


Crown Tipped Coral

When: Spring into October

Where: On dead hardwoods.

Distinguishing features: Unique shape with small branches at the tip of primary larger branches forming a “crown”

Cap: NA

Gills: NA

Flesh: White to pale yellow becoming tan with age

Identifiable: Growing on dead hardwood with crown like fringed branches


Flat Topped Coral


When: August into October

Where: Conifers and mixed forests

Distinguishing features: Bright orange/yellow colour and trumpet shape.

Cap: Flat to concave, with irregular edges. Young ones appear almost as clubs.

Gills: NA

Flesh: White

Identifiable: Unique shape and colour

Preservation: Saute/Freeze


Morel Mushrooms


When: May-June

Where: Near hardwood trees, in grass, edges of disturbed areas.

Distinguishing features: Unique cap and hollow from top of cap to bottom of stem.

Cap: Black/Brown covered with ridges and pits attached directly to stem.

Gills: NA

Flesh: Grey, pale/tan to light brown.

Identifiable: Unique shape and appearance and hollow inside.


Puffballs (young)


When: August into October

Where: Pretty much anywhere. – disturbed areas, on wood, on the ground, in clumps and alone.

Distinguishing features: Shape and consistent marshmallow look when cut in half. Any coloration or shapes when cut in half indicate is not a puffball or to old to eat. Soft white flesh from side to side.

Cap: Round, as they mature they turn from white to brown/green and eventially develop a hole in the center from which spores escape. Some may be smooth, some may appear with small scaly features.

Gills: Inside

Flesh: White

Identifiable: Unique Shape and soft white flesh consistent throughout with no inside discoloration or shapes.


Bear’s head tooth

When: August into October

Where: Dead wood

Distinguishing features: Unique toothed branches that cascade down off each other. White in colour

Cap: NA

Gills: NA

Flesh: White to light tan

Identifiable: This mushroom is unique and looks like a cascading waterfall of ice-cycles.


Gill Types: Note colour, staining and type of gills present.

Weeds and Plants

Wild edible and medicinal weeds and plants are everywhere here in NW Ontario. Some tasty weeds are probably in your yard right now!


Blueberries abound here, but if you know where to look berry riches of NW Ontario start to show themselves.


Some of the best tasting and easy to identify edible mushroom species are native to the Boreal Forest here in NW Ontario. 


Worksheets, charts, apps, maps and additional information to help you in your forage.

Weeds and Plants


Berries and Nuts

Tips and Tricks

Mushroom rules

Never eat a mushroom you are not 100% sure of its identification. Even when 100% sure, only ingest a small amount as some people have reactions to normally edible mushrooms. Always cook them first.

The underside of mushrooms are its gills. They are typically fragile blades, some have spines/”teeth”, some are more ridges, some are pores and others have no gills at all.

Spore print mushrooms – place the cap, gills down on a piece of white AND a piece of dark paper for an hour or two. This will tell you the colour of its spore print.

Stay away from young “button stage” mushrooms and older, bruised or damaged mushrooms.

Where does the mushroom grow? On wood? Mossy forest? Hardwood? Softwood?

How does the mushroom grow? Clusters? Alone? In spaced out groups?

What time of year is it? Most mushrooms have a season, finding a fall mushroom in the spring means its not likely what you were looking for.

Start out with easier mushrooms, join groups and go on identification walks. Always ask for help with identification.



Identification and resources

It is important to identify and be sure of edible plants, mushrooms and berries in the wild. There are numerous resources available however nothing is better than going with an expert and growing your knowledge over time.

Pictures and videos are very important and a simple google search (images) will return a wide range of a specific plant you are looking for.  There are numerous Facebook groups as well, where the users are usually more than happy to help identify something. Simply upload a good quality picture (or 3 or 4 from different angles) and see what the collective consensus is.

Keep in mind that no one can identify by picture alone 100% of the time.

Mushroom identification Facebook Group

Get In Touch

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