Ringless Honey Mushroom Facts – Identification, lookalikes, Benefits & recipes

The cute little Smurfs, yes, I am talking about mushrooms, not the black species exactly like the cartoon character, but their golden variant, known as ringless honey mushroom.

Many people remain confused about if this fungi type is edible or toxic, if it should be grown and served on the table or get rid of them.

Is this opaque to you too?

Are you done with reading those longer guides with no specific information?

Well, now the wait is over, here you will get to know all the bits and bobs of ringless honey toadstool. Check our TOC below, we will let you know each and everything about this tiny little creature in your garden.

Ringless honey mushroom:

There appear various species in ringless honey mushroom category because yellow mushrooms are several, so the one you are here to learn about is Armillaria tabescens.

This fungus species belongs to the family Physalacriaceae, a plant pathogen known for its trait of using bioluminescent (glowing figs)

However, the world is so big and you find many, many mushrooms with yellow caps.

While walking past a garden or an old shrubbery with dead tree stumps and wood chips, for example, you will come across yellow fugus like Omphalotus illudens or Galerina marginata.

But do you know if you ever came across and brought galerina mushroom home considering it ringless honey mushroom, you might die?

Not to sound offensive, a little confusion can be disastrous so here you go with the few things that will help you know about the original Armillaria tabescens.

Ringless honey mushroom identification:

How to identify ringless honey mushroom? Good news is, it is not very hard. You will just have to learn some basics to become already to recognize this semi-edible fungus.

If you will walk past a greenery during September to November, you will come across a big yield of Armillaria tabescens.

It has honey (color and a dry plus scaly cap with no rings on the stalk. You will find them growing in clusters on the dead wood stumps, especially on the corpse of oak tree.

Cap shapes convex, flattened, with uplifted margins (if mature) and dry and scaly, honey-brown or reddish-brown cottony scales.

Gills are placed distantly in narrow to broad shape. While it will always be grown in clusters.

· Honey fungus habitat:

Honey mushrooms love forest settings.

Hence, their habitat becomes wooden stumps of eastern North America, Great Lakes southward, west to Texas and Oklahoma.

However, Armillaria might differ species wise for one country to another. Some of them makes highly edible after cooking, some are mildly edible, while some might be toxic to specific people.

Being parasitic, fruit tree stumps, orchards, and especially on the dead ends of oak tree are the home of honey mushrooms.

· Honey fungus size:

Ringless honey mushroom sizes:

  • Cap width: 1–4 in
  • Stalk length x width: 2–8 inches x ¼–½ inch.

Honey mushroom, if not cut from the ground can spread itself to as long as 2.4 miles.

To check this, you might visit Oregon, on the blue mountains, you will find ringless honey mushroom growing as the largest alive organism.

That’s why we call honey fungus of Oregon, the largest honey mushroom.

Along with this several other species might be there too growing besides honey fungus, Armillaria species.

· Ringless honey mushroom spores’ print:

Understanding, learning, and identifying the spores print of Armillaria tabescens is essential. So, for your information

Spores print of ringless honey mushrooms is white, if these aren’t white, you shouldn’t be taking it home.

Fatal species of mushrooms do not have pure white spore prints while yellow mushroom has pure white spores at start, and when magnified, they are elliptical, smooth, colorless.

Comparing with other poisonous fungus types, we find orange brown spores in Gymnopilus spectabilis, and brownish in deadly galerina while Omphalotus illudens will have creamy white spores.

Here is a trick, you can use dark pepper powder spray to find out the exact spore color.

· Honey fungus roots:

On the dead stumps of oak tree and dead roots of some edible trees, mycelium can be seen. Mycelium, you can say in common language is the mushroom root.

Honey fungus roots on the dead tree ends can be seen as white fan like structure grown between bark and the wood.

As the mushroom has root and grows in clusters, so you can see the cluster as big and as spread to 3.5 km.

· Ringless honey mushroom taste and Odor:

Talking about the taste and odor of honey fungus, it might differ when the fungus is sprouting and growing vs when it is fully grown or mature.

Usually, caps are eaten when it comes ringless honey mushroom because stem is thick, strong, a little hard to cook, chew, and digest.

Ringless honey mushrooms taste so well compare to its ringed cousin and no odor remains after cooking. The taste of edible honey fungus is usually latently bitter.

For those trying it for the first time, they might consider the taste distinctive as their taste buds are not used to the mushroom.

When not cooked, you might find an Astringent odor in the place with ringless honey mushrooms.

· Ringless honey mushroom bioluminescence:

Bioluminescence is a process in which mushrooms glow their gills in blue or green light to attract bugs at night in order to spread their spores.

Some species or types of  Armillaria do glow however, Armillaria tabescens is not reported to glow. A similar species, jack O’lantern mushroom do Bioluminescence and glows in the dark.

However, it is toxic and not edible.

Ringless honey mushroom lookalikes:

Ringless honey mushrooms have many lookalikes, some of those are edibles while some are completely avoidable due to their fatal toxicity that can even lead to death.

Two most common and prominent lookalikes we have for yellow fungus are

· Omphalotus illudens:

Omphalotus illudens also known as the little yellow mushroom is not an edible lookalike of Ringless honey mushroom Armillaria tabescens.

It is not fatal enough to kill you but can cause some serious gastric issues and problems. Hence, avoiding it is needed.

Due to being similar looking to honey fungus, there are chances you might put some of the jack O’lantern (common name of omphalotus illudens) mushrooms in your basket.

To not to let it happen, note down the main difference between the two:

The deadly mushroom will have orange cap and smoother surface while the edible variety has sticky cap with and ring.

· Galerina marginata:

Honey mushroom vs deadly galerina; Galerina marginata, also known as deadly galerina is the one little killer that even eating some can make an adult dead.

Due to this, we call it deadly galerina, and it also has very closer looking to the Armillaria tabescens. Main difference is between size, ring, and spores.

Ringless honey mushroom, that’s edible, have a comparatively big size, ringless, and transparent spores with white spores’ print.

Deadly galerina has brown spores, rings, and smaller size.

· Gymnopilus junonius:

Also known as the big laughing gym is also another similar looking mushroom with yellow honey fungus. Its taste is bitter quite similar to the other brother.

However, it has orange brown spores and that’s the major different between Armillaria tabescens and Gymnopilus junonius.

Ringless honey mushroom facts:

Some OTC facts are:

  • Safely edible
  • Scientific name, Armillaria tabescens
  • Family, Physalacriaceae.
  • Color, honey
  • Dry scaly cap
  • No rings on stalk
  • Grows in clusters on dead woods
  • Grows during September–November
  • Size, 1–4 inches cap; stalk; ¼–½ inch x 2–8 inches (width x height).

Here are some more interesting facts about ringless honey mushroom you will enjoy reading:

1. It is not a single mushroom:

Ringless honey mushroom is not a single mushroom but a there appear a number of different edible mushrooms, belong to same family but different species.

2. It is semi-edible:

Not all people can digest ringless honey mushrooms and not all people are recommended eat it, rather, new mushroom eaters might face some stomach issues after eating it.

3. It can easily be identified.

If you learn some very basic tips about yellow fungus, you can identify it and eat it safely without any damage. Learn about the cap size, gills, ringless trait, and do a spores print and dah, you are good to go.

4. As a new mushroom eater, you should start with eating low amount of yellow fungus.

It is said that people who are trying it for the first time, should start with eating one mushroom only and gradually increase the quantity.

If they have no hard symptoms, they can enjoy a complete meal of yellow fungus.

5. Yellow fugus is grown during early winters only.

Ringless honey sprouts do not like hard weathers as in summers and winters. They appear and grow only between September and October and disappear in frost.

6. During September and October, yellow fungus yield is matchless.

When these months arrive, you will see it growing under every tree hedge and on all dead roots. But after that, you will not find even a single trace of it available in your yard, lawn, or anywhere.

7. Yellow honey fungus is largest growing mushroom:

In Medford Oregon, the yellow honey fungus is found grown on the mountains in huge sizes as big as not found in any other mushroom type.

If not cut and removed from the ground they can spread their growth to miles.

8. You can do a black plate test to configure if the mushroom is really ringless honey mushroom.

A spore print is usually taken on a black plate to find out if the mushroom you are putting in the basket is actually yellow honey mushroom.

If it really is, the black plate will show a white print. If it does, you can eat or else it is not actually the edible variety of mushroom.

9. It is similar to many poisonous mushrooms.

Yellow honey mushroom is similar to many deadliest and fatal mushroom varieties such as deadly galerina, and Jack O’lantern mushroom.

10. Ringless honey mushroom is decomposer:

Ringless honey mushroom is primarily is a saprobe when grow on the dead tree roots.

On the other hand, they can also grow on the living tree roots but there, they act as parasites or symbiotes.

Ringless honey mushroom benefits:

1. Treats and removes cancerous cells.

Honey fungus is known to have special substance called glucan that have anti-cancer properties. Due to this property, yellow fungus traditionally used for medicinal purposes.

2. It is very good antioxidant.

Eating this can wash off the toxic substances inside the stomach because it contains rich amounts of vitamin C and E.

Both of these substances help to clean up the stomach and keeps a person healthy, fit, and smart.

3. Honey mushroom is a great antibacterial.

Vitro studies have shown honey fungus to be very effective against pathogens and bacteria, human come in contact with on daily basis.

4. It increases human immunity.

Due to having anti-bacterial properties, ringless honey mushrooms never let the bacteria or virus to affect the body so easily and builds a wall against regular bacterium.

5. It might be great against Alzheimer.

Some studies prove it to have neurological properties as some Alzheimer patients showed improvement after consuming yellow mushroom.

However, the mushroom should be exact ringless honey mushroom that’s edible and you will also have to take care of the quantity, as a first-time eater.

Honey mushroom toxicity:

Ringless honey mushrooms grown on Hemlocks and Buckeyes can be toxic.

Edible honey mushrooms grown on the dead roots of edible trees like apples, hollies, plums, and almonds are also not recommended to eat as they can have toxic traits.


Well, there is no doubt, ringless honey mushrooms sprout so well on the dead roots and tree dunks. By doing so, they inhale and suck out some of the properties and enzymes of those trees and fruits.

These contain nasty chemicals like hydrocyanic acid which makes them toxic to humans but even more toxic to dogs and cats.

Cyanide is very toxic for dogs; it might get then killed hence Ringless honey mushroom is poisonous to dogs.

Besides this, if these mushrooms are not cooked properly, they can leave you with an upset stomach that can last for a little while and keep you disturb.

Therefore, it has to be cooked properly.

Honey mushroom recipe:

Ringless honey mushroom recipes aren’t difficult to try. Making it is not as tough as finding, identifying, and cleaning.

Besides, some people like making it without stems while some enjoy it with stems. However, with stems it tastes better, people said.

Here is how you have to do it.


  • Mushrooms
  • Oil
  • Salt to spices to taste

1. Honey mushroom recipe – simple:

  • First of all, separate mushroom stems and caps.
  • Peel the stems off and remove any excessive dirt on them

You can use a wet towel or tissue to clean mushrooms because if rinsed under water, the water inside the mushroom will increase, it will take time drying up, and cooking.

  • Take the pan, put some butter or oil, whatever you like, add mushroom caps and cook for three minutes.
  • Once done, after three minutes, add the stems and cook for another 3 minutes.

Keep cooking until you see that your mushroom has remaining half of their size and all water is dried while the mushrooms have gone golden.

  • Turn off the stove
  • Use tissue to remove the oil from your mushrooms
  • Sprinkle spices and enjoy

Honey mushroom recipe – with onions and broccoli:

To make it a complete meal, check out this video and enjoy your tasty mushrooms, thoroughly cooked with broccoli and onions.

· Ringless honey mushroom removal

If you see ringless honey mushrooms growing under any of your alive tree, make sure to get rid of them immediately because it will weaken the roots and overall tree, and can get it dead.

To get rid of mushrooms, you will need sharp blade to extract out the complete and whole weed out of the tree.

Once done, do not stop there, spray some weed killers over there to stop the mushrooms from appearing again.

Besides this, you will have to keep an eye on the trees during September to November because it is the time when mushroom sprouting starts.


Before ending the discussion, lets get in with some FAQs.

1. Is ringless honey mushroom edible?

Is honey fungus good to eat? Yes and no! when young and fresh edibility is good. When they are mature, it takes time to cook them.

It also recommended to eat only one mushroom at first to configure if your stomach can digest it.

2. How can you tell if a honey mushroom is edible?

You will have to identify the size and gills of the honey mushrooms. Besides this, you can take sprout print, if it is white, the mushroom is edible otherwise it is toxic and should never be consumed.

3. Is honey fungus psychedelic?

No. it is a beneficial mushroom with so many health benefits. It is antifungal, antioxidant, antibacterial, and helps to treat brain issues like Alzheimer.

4. Where is honey fungus found?

Honey fungus is widely spread across the United States and Canada’s cooler regions. It grows on the plant roots, dead or alive. In Medford, you can find the larges growing mushroom i.e., ringless honey mushroom.

5. What animals eat honey fungus?

Honey mushrooms obtained from the roots of dead trees is eaten by humans and animals. However, honey fugus on fruit tree roots contains cyanide that should be avoided.

Dogs are reported to die after consuming raw honey fungus.

6. Is honey fungus a decomposer?

Yes, honey fungus is a decomposer.

Bottom Line:

This is all about honey fungus or ringless honey mushroom, whatever you call it. If you find our hard work, interesting to read and informative, please give us a share and don’t forget to bookmark our blog so you don’t miss any future posts.

Until next time, have Happy Mushrooming!

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