Tips for identifying edible mushrooms

12 October 2023

Mushrooms are a delicious ingredient for pizzas, pastas, salads and more. We already know that the beautiful forests of Transylvania are home to a wide variety of wild plants, herbs and mushrooms. And a walk in the woods can be turned into an expedition of observation and identifying wild mushroom species. We hope these tips for identifying edible mushrooms will be useful on your next visit to Valea Verde and on your forest excursions in Romania.

This is probably the best advice: if you are not 100% sure in identifying a mushroom, then it is 100% inedible and we recommend leaving it in its environment.

Tips for identifying edible mushrooms

Choose mushrooms without white gills. Look for mushrooms with brown or brownish gills. Although the most popular mushrooms, Champignon, have white blades, the deadliest and most poisonous mushroom families, such as Amanitas, almost always have white gills.

Select mushrooms that do not have a red cap or stem. Choose mushrooms with a white, or brown cap and stem. Many red mushrooms are poisonous.

A red mushroom uses its only natural warning system, the color, to tell predators – including you – to stay away.

Look for mushrooms without stains on their caps. Avoid mushrooms with spots or stains of a lighter or darker shade on the hat, which can appear as spots. These scaly spots are common among poisonous mushroom varieties.

For example, white mushrooms may have brown scaly spots.

Look for mushrooms without a ring around the stem. Check under the mushroom’s hat for a second veil-like ring of tissue under the hat that looks like a mini-hood under the hat. If the mushroom you observe has this tissue ring, move on to another. Many mushrooms with this feature are poisonous.

It can be hard to notice or identify the ring, and no single, obvious feature will tell you if a mushroom is poisonous, so it’s best to consult an expert.

Take two baskets when you set out on your mushroom identification expedition. Put mushrooms you are sure are edible in one basket and mushrooms you are not sure about in the other. You won’t get sick just because you’ve put your hands on a poisonous mushroom. 

There is no specific location where edible mushrooms grow, they can be found on trees, logs, forest edges or moss.

It is not necessary to wear gloves when looking for mushrooms.

Do not ingest a mushroom unless you are 100% sure of the category it falls into. Be extremely cautious when looking for mushrooms, as many poisonous and non-poisonous varieties look alike. Some varieties of mushrooms can change appearance depending on growing conditions, making it difficult to identify them.

For example, mushrooms of the same variety may develop colour differently depending on their exposure to sunlight.

Experts suggest that you should never eat a variety of mushroom that you have not been able to identify at least 3 times in the wilderness. A professional should confirm that you have correctly identified the mushroom each time, from all 3 attempts.

On your next visit, we invite you to a truffle hunt, the black gold of the Transylvanian wilderness!

We offer a variety of experiences to our guests, all related to truffles! For reservations or further information you can write us at or call us at +4 037.1237.117.

Valea Verde stories » Tips for identifying edible mushrooms