53 of the Most Colorful Mushrooms and Other Fungi in the World

When you think of mushrooms and other fungi, you might picture the portobello mushrooms in the produce section or white fuzzy mold. But there are far more varieties out there and in many different colors, from bright yellow slime molds to dainty purple forest mushrooms.

Here’s our list of the world’s most colorful mushrooms and other fungi:

1. Elegant Stinkhorn

Elegant Stinkhorn surrounded by leaves.
  • Latin name: Mutinus elegans
  • When it blooms: Usually from July to September
  • Soil needs: Most soil types with leaf litter and wood debris
  • Sun exposure: Does well with low light, though it can tolerate sun
  • Color varieties: The elegant stinkhorn is usually bright reddish orange. However, the upper third is usually greenish, as it is colored with a slimy mass of spores.

Many mushroom hunters like to collect edible mushrooms. The elegant stinkhorn is technically edible, although as the name suggests, it has such a horrifically unpleasant odor that virtually nobody would choose to eat it. Some people will eat the egg-like early forms of the stinkhorn, but they have very little flavor and tend to only taste like whatever seasonings you happen to add.

2. Fly Amanita

Fly Amanitas growing in forest.
  • Latin name: Amanita muscaria
  • When it blooms: Can grow year-round
  • Soil needs: Most soil types near trees
  • Sun exposure: Doesn’t need sun but can tolerate some
  • Color varieties: This distinctive mushroom is often glossy red, although the base color can vary a little. It is covered in irregular white spots that match its white stem.

Chances are good that you’ve seen this mushroom before. The fly amanita is the model for the Super Mushroom seen in the Mario game franchise. It’s also what a lot of people picture when they imagine mushrooms. It’s seen in a variety of folk art, too.

3. Ghost Fungus

Close-up of ghost fungus.
  • Latin name: Omphalotus nidiformis
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year round except in extreme cold
  • Soil needs: Doesn’t grow on soil; it grows on dead and dying wood
  • Sun exposure: Doesn’t need much sun at all
  • Color varieties: During the day, the ghost fungus is pretty but plain. But at night, it glows a truly magnificent, eerie green.

The ghost fungus has a bioluminescent glow that makes it among the most exciting fungi in the world. Early descriptions of this mushroom indicated that it glows so intensely that it’s possible to read text that’s held up to it at night. Though it is found in Australia, it’s not the world’s only bioluminescent mushroom: similar species can be found in many parts of the world.

4. Rosy Veincap

Rosy Veincap growing on a dead branch.
  • Latin name: Rhodotus palmatus
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year-round except in extreme cold
  • Soil needs: Doesn’t grow in soil; it can be found on rotting trees
  • Sun exposure: Does best in forests and other areas with little sun exposure
  • Color varieties: This mushroom is sometimes called the “wrinkled peach.” It’s easy to see why; it is an orange-pinkish color that is covered in whitish “veins.” These resemble the wrinkles found in a peach that has gotten old.

This nice-looking mushroom is endangered or threatened in many parts of Europe. Not all countries keep lists of threatened fungi, but the 12 countries that do list the rosy veincap as being threatened or endangered. In Hungary, it is legally protected; it is illegal to pick them.

5. Bleeding Tooth Fungus

Bleeding Tooth Fungus growing in forest.
  • Latin name: Hydnellum peckii
  • When it blooms: Usually between August and October
  • Soil needs: Does well in various soil types next to the roots of trees
  • Sun exposure: Prefers low-sunlight areas
  • Color varieties: This spectacular fungus is usually whitish with cherry-red globules on the surface. The globules are why it is called the bleeding tooth fungus or the strawberries and cream fungus.

This interesting fungus has a mutualistic relationship with various types of trees, meaning both the fungus and the tree benefit. The tree gives the fungus valuable fixed carbon, while the fungus delivers both amino acids and minerals collected in the soil to the tree roots.

6. Starfish Fungus

Starfish Fungus in mulch.
  • Latin name: Aseroe rubra
  • When it blooms: Anytime bark mulches begin to rot
  • Soil needs: Needs rotten or near-rotten wood
  • Sun exposure: Prefers low light but can tolerate some sun
  • Color varieties: This eye-catching fungus is bright red with paler red tendrils reaching outward. Its darker red center is typically covered in brown-tinted slime that diminishes its brightness a little.

The starfish fungus, also called the anemone stinkhorn or sea anemone fungus, is a member of the stinkhorn family of fungi. As you can likely guess by the name, it has an unpleasant smell reminiscent of that of rotting meat. The smell evolved to attract flies to the fungus so they can spread its spores.

7. Flame Fungus

Close-up of Flame Fungus.
  • Latin name: Clavulinopsis sulcata
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year round, but it’s most common in summer and fall
  • Soil needs: Any soil type where there is plenty of plant litter
  • Sun exposure: Prefers low-light places like forests
  • Color varieties: This stunning fungus can certainly add a burst of color to any forest! It grows in tall, slender cylinders that sometimes curl upward. Usually, these cylinders are bright pink or orange.

Though it might not look like it, the flame fungus is actually edible! Most people say it doesn’t have much of a taste but that it does taste somewhat like carrots. In some cases, it has a somewhat bitter aftertaste. It can be found on many different continents, including Australia, Africa, Europe, North America, and South America.

8. Fluted Bird’s Nest

Fluted Bird's Nest surrounded by forest vegetation.
  • Latin name: Cyathus striatus
  • When it blooms: Usually from summer to early winter
  • Soil needs: Typically grows on rotting wood or mulch instead of soil
  • Sun exposure: Does best with low sunlight
  • Color varieties: As the name suggests, this fungus looks a lot like a tiny bird’s nest. It has a scalloped, brownish cup that is filled with small, bluish “eggs.” These are actually structures that contain several spores.

The closer you look at these remarkable fungi, the more they look like actual bird nests. The fungi in the picture show the “eggs” and the inside of each cup. But the outer surface of each cup looks shaggy like the outside of a bird’s nest. And though these mushrooms are beautiful, make sure you don’t eat them; they aren’t edible.

9. Hairy Trumpet Fungus

Hairy Trumpet Fungus growing on log.
  • Latin name: Panus fasciatus
  • When it blooms: Mostly late winter and early spring
  • Soil needs: Prefers to grow on dead wood
  • Sun exposure: Prefers limited sunlight
  • Color varieties: The hairy trumpet fungus may not be the absolute brightest on the list, but its distinctive texture makes the color really pop. Though the stalk is mostly smooth, the ring of the “trumpet” is covered in fuzz. Often, the hairy trumpet fungus is white, purplish, or brown.

Like many fungi, the hairy trumpet fungus seems to prefer to grow on dead wood in forests. It tends to be especially successful when it can grow deep into cracks in the wood before fruiting. It can be found in many parts of Australia.

10. Green Pepe

Close-up of Green Pepe fungus.
  • Latin name: Mycena chlorophos
  • When it blooms: During rainy seasons (June-July and September-October)
  • Soil needs: Grows best on dead wood and woody debris in forested areas
  • Sun exposure: Does best in low light
  • Color varieties: During the day, the green pepe appears very plain. However, at night, it emits beautiful pale green light.

The green pepe has been the subject of bioluminescence research in many different labs. Scientists have found a way to make it grow and successfully fruit in the lab. They also have investigated temperatures and other conditions that lead to maximum bioluminescence.

11. Bamboo Mushroom

Close-up of Bamboo Mushroom.
  • Latin name: Phallus indusiatus
  • When it blooms: Typically right after heavy rains
  • Soil needs: Prefers disturbed forest soil
  • Sun exposure: Prefers limited sunlight
  • Color varieties: This is a stunning mushroom, largely for its magnificent white “net.” Though it isn’t a neon shade like some colorful mushrooms, its white stalk and net certainly create a contrast in its woodland habitat.

This interesting mushroom is one of the most nutritious on the list. Unlike many types of edible mushrooms, it is actually rich in carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. It is often found in haute cuisine in China, and it’s not unusual to find it offered for sale in Asian markets.

12. Pink Bonnet

Pink Bonnet growing on log.
  • Latin name: Marasmius haematocephalus
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year-round depending on conditions
  • Soil needs: Does best in woodland soils
  • Sun exposure: Does best with little sunlight
  • Color varieties: As the name suggests, the pink bonnet’s cap looks like a bright pink hat! It looks especially striking against the slender stalk.

As you can see in the photo, the pink bonnet can be a very small mushroom. The photo, taken in Madagascar, shows one of these mushrooms growing on a dead leaf. Of all members of the Marasmius genus, the pink bonnet is one of the most colorful. Most Marasmius mushrooms are a plain and nondescript brown.

13. Common Split Gill

Close-up of common split gil.
  • Latin name: Schizophyllum commune
  • When it blooms: Usually immediately following a rainy season
  • Soil needs: Prefers to grow on decaying trees
  • Sun exposure: Does best in areas with relatively low light
  • Color varieties: This interesting fungus is usually brownish, yellowish, or white. Its distinctive texture almost makes the coloration look patterned.

The common split gill is one of the fungi that look a lot like coral. It also is especially useful in many types of cuisine and in traditional medicine. It also has medical potential in the way of antiviral and antifungal properties.

14. Shaggy Scalycap

Shaggy Scalycap growing in wet leaves.
  • Latin name: Pholiota squarrosoides
  • When it blooms: Can bloom at various points of the year
  • Soil needs: Grows on the bark of hardwood trees
  • Sun exposure: Does best with little sunlight
  • Color varieties: Relatively new mushrooms formed by this fungus tend to look bright yellow like the ones in the picture. The yellow looks especially striking thanks to the rough bumps on the surface.

If you’re someone who likes to hunt for edible mushrooms, you might want to be cautious with this one. Some accounts state that it is edible and others state that it isn’t. It is very easy to confuse with another member of its genus that is poisonous.

15. Icicle Fungus

Close-up of Icicle Fungus.
  • Latin name: Mucronella bresadolae
  • When it blooms: Can bloom throughout the year if the weather is warm enough
  • Soil needs: Typically grows on dead or dying wood
  • Sun exposure: Prefers low light
  • Color varieties: As the name suggests, the icicle fungus is almost always a bright, icy white. They usually grow on dark, dying wood, so they aren’t hard to spot.

Some of the most interesting mushrooms and fungi are those that start to look like other things. The icicle fungus is certainly one of these! Its mushrooms have long, delicate protrusions that taper to a point. And like an actual icicle, the mushroom is a cold, icy white.

16. Scarlet Hood

Scarlet Hood growing in tall grass.
  • Latin name: Hygrocybe coccinea
  • When it blooms: Usually late summer and autumn in Europe and winter in North America
  • Soil needs: Usually prefers various soil types in woodlands and grasslands
  • Sun exposure: Typically grows best in limited sunlight, though it can tolerate more sun if necessary
  • Color varieties: The scarlet hood is a mushroom with a brilliant, deep red cap. Unlike many bright mushrooms, this one has bright red stalks as well.

In nature, a plant that has the red brilliance of the scarlet hood mushroom might be regarded as a hazard. However, this mushroom is completely edible. It doesn’t have a remarkable taste and is not generally sought after. If you do want to eat one, use a field guide or ask an expert to make sure you haven’t mixed it up with Hygrocybe punicia, a related yet poisonous species. 

17. Latticed Stinkhorn

Red stinkhorn fungus growing on leaves.
  • Latin name: Clathrus ruber
  • When it blooms: Can bloom at various times throughout the year
  • Soil needs: Grows best on decaying wood or wood-like plants
  • Sun exposure: Seems to be able to tolerate the presence of sunlight
  • Color varieties: This fungus is always bright, though its exact shade varies. Many are very bright red, although some specimens are closer to orange and yellow.

This striking fungus, much like other stinkhorn series, has an incredibly awful smell like that of rotting meat. It has some significance in European folklore, where it is not thought of highly. In many folk tales, those who handle it contract various diseases.

18. Yellow Pholiota

Close-up of Yellow Pholiota.
  • Latin name: Pholiota flammans
  • When it blooms: Usually from summer to autumn
  • Soil needs: Grows on stumps and logs of dead or dying conifers
  • Sun exposure: Does best in forests that are relatively shady
  • Color varieties: This especially stunning mushroom is certainly a delight to come across! Its cap and stem are both bright yellow. The exact shade leans more toward golden than neon.

This striking fungus can sometimes be confused with other members of the Pholiota genus. Although its color makes it look inviting, much of the cap and stem are covered in very sharp scales.

19. Badhamia utricularis

Badhamia utricularis.
  • Latin name: Badhamia utricularis
  • When it blooms: From September to April unless frost is present
  • Soil needs: Grows on dead wood
  • Sun exposure: Prefers areas with low light
  • Color varieties: This mold usually has bluish, gray, or purple fruiting bodies. However, the ones in the photo are an unusual orangish-yellow.

At first glance, you might think the photo just shows a bunch of grapes. However, it’s a species of slime mold whose fruits happen to be round and grape-like. This mold can be found around the world, although it is especially common in central Europe.

20. Orange Jelly

Orange Jelly fungus growing on log.
  • Latin name: Dacrymyces chrysospermus
  • When it blooms: Can bloom at any point, especially after wet weather
  • Soil needs: Grows on rotting conifer wood
  • Sun exposure: Prefers areas with relatively little sunlight
  • Color varieties: This unusual fungus usually is orange, yellow, or somewhere in between. However, some specimens are very pale or clear while others are a dark brownish color.

The orange jelly fungus is especially beautiful and quite rare. For mushroom hunters, it can be a bit frustrating to identify. It has no defined blooming season, and it bears a close resemblance to other fungi species also called “jelly fungi.”

21. Toothed Jelly Fungus

Close-up of toothed-jelly fungus.
  • Latin name: Pseudohydnum gelatinosum
  • When it blooms: Can bloom at various points throughout the year
  • Soil needs: Grows on various types of dead wood
  • Sun exposure: Does best in forests with low light
  • Color varieties: The toothed jelly fungus is a clear and brilliant white. Though not deep red or fiery orange, we think it’s distinctive enough to earn a spot on the list!

You might sometimes hear this mushroom called the false hedgehog fungus. And while it might be hard to see in the picture, this mushroom is covered with fine, tooth-like projections that look like teeth or the spines of a hedgehog. You can find this interesting fungus in many parts of Europe and some parts of North America.

22. Cobalt Crust

Close-up of Cobalt Crust.
  • Latin name: Terana caerulea
  • When it blooms: Typically blooms in warm, wet weather
  • Soil needs: Usually grows on the undersides of tree branches or on damp fallen logs
  • Sun exposure: Does best with minimal sun exposure
  • Color varieties: This unique fungus has been aptly described as “blue velvet on a stick.” It’s an accurate description; it stays very close to the wood it grows on and has a textured surface that is a stunning deep blue.

The cobalt crust is easily one of the most beautiful fungi on the list! Its blue pigmented surface is usually framed by a distinctive white edge. It has also received some recognition in the scientific community. The German Mycological Society named it the fungus of the year in 2009.

23. Violet Coral Fungus

Clavaria zollingeri growing in a forest.
  • Latin name: Clavaria zollingeri
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year-round if weather is warm enough
  • Soil needs: Prefers either grassland soil or forest soil
  • Sun exposure: Does well in low light, but it also successfully grows in sunny grasslands
  • Color varieties: This magical-looking fungus is usually pinkish-violet in color. The tips of the branches are often darker than the rest of the fungus, and they sometimes are so dark that they appear brown.

Though there are types of fungi called “coral fungi,” this is one that looks most like coral. It is one of the relatively few fungal species that are classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as being vulnerable to extinction.

24. Ramaria sp.

Ramaria sp. growing in forest.
  • Latin name: Ramaria sp.
  • When it blooms: Varies based on exact species and location
  • Soil needs: Grows well in a wide variety of soil types
  • Sun exposure: Prefers low light but can tolerate some sun
  • Color varieties: This genus covers hundreds of fungi that vary dramatically in color. Many of the brightest species are a deep, fire-like orange like the one in the picture. Other members of the genus may be purple, white, red, yellow, or tan.

This remarkable genus of fungi is most commonly found in Europe. Many Ramaria species are edible, but it’s a good idea to know what you’re doing before you go pick some. Some of these species can be easily confused with toxic fungi. The toxic lookalikes won’t kill you, but eating them can result in vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and many similar symptoms.

25. Violet Chanterelle

Violet chanterelle growing in forest.
  • Latin name: Gomphus clavatus
  • When it blooms: Can bloom at various points in the year
  • Soil needs: Prefers moist soil with large amounts of leaf litter
  • Sun exposure: Prefers relatively dark woodlands
  • Color varieties: This lovely fungus is usually pale violet in color. But when it’s on a forest floor, its purplish color tends to blend in very well with leaf litter.

You might sometimes hear the violet chanterelle called the “pig’s ear,” as the triangular parts of the fruit body do look a lot like pig’s ears. This fungus is edible, although most people say it has a bland flavor.

26. Sulphur Shelf

Sulphur Shelf on tree.
  • Latin name: Laetiporus sulphureus
  • When it blooms: Can bloom at various points throughout the year
  • Soil needs: Grows on the sides of trees
  • Sun exposure: Does best in shady forests
  • Color varieties: This bracket fungus is among the brightest on the list. It grows in golden-yellow, shelf-like formations that sometimes look like stacks of pancakes.

This colorful fungus is sometimes called chicken-of-the-woods, as some people say it has a chicken-like flavor when cooked. Other people say it has a taste closer to that of lobster. It’s important to cook before consuming, though, as eating this mushroom raw can cause stomach issues. 

27. Poison Fire Coral

Poison Fire Coral growing next to mossy tree.
  • Latin name: Podostroma cornu-damae
  • When it blooms: Can bloom any time weather is warm enough
  • Soil needs: Prefers soil with plenty of leaf litter
  • Sun exposure: Does best with relatively low light
  • Color varieties: This dramatic-looking fungus is almost always an orangish-pink color. Though it’s shaped like a coral, it’s also coral pink in color!

This pretty mushroom is one of the most dangerous ones on the list; it has been responsible for a number of deaths in Japan. Even a small amount of it can prove fatal. In one instance, a person died after eating 1-2 grams of the mushroom that had been soaked in sake.

28. Pink Oyster Mushroom

Close-Up of Pink Oyster Mushroom.
  • Latin name: Pleurotus djamor
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year-round
  • Soil needs: Does well in a wide range of soil types
  • Sun exposure: Can grow in many types of light
  • Color varieties: This mushroom has a beautiful rosy pink color. Many individual mushrooms appear to have delicate pink petals that make them look like roses. The fungus “petals” also resemble oysters, which is where the common name comes from.

The pink oyster mushroom is one of the tastier fungi on the list; its taste has been described as umami, and most people who have tried it describe it as being “meaty” or “fishy” in a good way. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find for sale, as its shelf life is only about a day.

29. Turkey Tail

Close-Up of Turkey Tail fungus.
  • Latin name: Trametes versicolor
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year-round as long as frost is not present
  • Soil needs: Usually grows on logs and stumps
  • Sun exposure: Does best in low light
  • Color varieties: This pretty mushroom looks a lot like the multicolored tail of a turkey. But its color varies considerably; some individual mushrooms are brown, some are gray, and some are yellowish. Some have a pretty blue tint to them. Others appear green thanks to algae growth.

The turkey tail mushroom is one of the more interesting mushrooms that looks like something else in nature. It’s easy to see the resemblance! But even though it has been used in Chinese traditional medicine, the turkey tail mushroom is generally considered to be inedible.

30. Cookeina tricholoma

Close-up of Cookeina tricholoma.
  • Latin name: Cookeina tricholoma
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year-round in damp enough conditions
  • Soil needs: Usually grows on fallen branches, though it also blooms on fruit
  • Sun exposure: Prefers shady areas
  • Color varieties: This striking cup fungus is usually orange to pinkish. Some, like the one in the picture, are a cheerful pastel orange.

These cup fungi are among the most beautiful and unique on the list. Some native peoples in Malaysia use it for food. Interestingly enough, it also seems to work well as bait for fishing. It doesn’t necessarily need to be placed on the hook itself; it can simply be rubbed against it.

31. Octopus Stinkhorn

Octopus Stinkhorn on soil next to its egg.
  • Latin name: Pseudocolus schellenbergiae
  • When it blooms: Can bloom at any time as long as conditions are moist and relatively warm
  • Soil needs: Prefers to grow on disturbed soil, wood chips, or mulch
  • Sun exposure: Usually prefers low-light areas but can also grow in sunny gardens
  • Color varieties: This interesting fungus is usually reddish in color. The insides of the “tentacles” are covered in green, slimy masses of spores.

This mushroom has another somewhat comical common name: you might sometimes hear it called “stinky squid.” Its mushroom form looks like the tentacles of a squid or octopus reaching upward. It smells especially strong; one author asserted that it smelled like fresh pig manure.

32. Hitokuchitake Mushroom

A group of Hitokuchitake Mushrooms growing on tree with green moss.
  • Latin name: Cryptoporus volvatus
  • When it blooms: After a tree has been attacked by the pine bark beetle
  • Soil needs: Mostly grows on rotting conifer sapwood
  • Sun exposure: Prefers shady forest conditions
  • Color varieties: As you can see in the photo, these mushrooms usually have a two-toned appearance. In many cases, the rich brown tops and tan-colored bottoms make them look a lot like acorns. Some have a striking, glossy appearance as well!

These interesting mushrooms serve a useful purpose, as they assist in decomposing rotting wood. Unlike most fungi, they tend to appear only as a result of a tree being attacked by bark beetles. These beetles feed on the inner wood of trees. A severe enough infestation will sometimes kill the trees.

33. Spotted Cort

Close-up of Spotted Cort.
  • Latin name: Cortinarius iodes
  • When it blooms: Usually from July to November
  • Soil needs: Prefers boggy, swampy soil or very moist forest soil
  • Sun exposure: Prefers relatively low light
  • Color varieties: This mushroom goes through a couple of colorful life stages. When it first emerges, it is a pale lilac purple in color. As it matures, it becomes dotted with yellow spots. Since purple and yellow are complementary colors, this pattern creates an especially striking contrast!

These delicate mushrooms are one of the many fungal species that form a symbiotic relationship with trees. The fungus body connects with the roots of deciduous trees underground, enabling the fungus and the tree to share nutrients as needed.

34. Cookeina sulcipes

Close-up of Cookeina sulcipes.
  • Latin name: Cookeina sulcipes
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year-round, especially following rainy seasons
  • Soil needs: Prefers to grow on wood that has just started to decay
  • Sun exposure: Does best in low light but can generally tolerate sun
  • Color varieties: Like many other members of its genus, this cup mushroom is usually orange to pink. As you can see in the photo, it has a remarkably smooth surface that sets it apart from many mushroom species.

These colorful mushrooms, like many colorful fungus types, can typically be found in tropical and subtropical areas. They are small and tend to grow in clusters. Cookeina sulcipes also plays an important role, as it helps to speed up the decay of dead trees and stumps.

35. Greville’s Bolete

Greville's Bolete growing next to grass.
  • Latin name: Suillus grevillei
  • When it blooms: Usually from June to November
  • Soil needs: Prefers moist soil under larch trees
  • Sun exposure: Prefers lower light
  • Color varieties: This remarkable mushroom can vary somewhat in color. It usually is yellow or a shade of orange, though it can sometimes be so dark that it looks like burnt orange. The cap is covered in slime that makes it look glossy, and that gloss seems to enhance the color even more.

This nice-looking mushroom is one of the edible species on the list, although it doesn’t necessarily have the best taste. Unfortunately, its texture seems to disappear somewhat quickly. Its flavor is fairly mild. However, if you pick one, do your best to wash off the slimy layer, as it is known to cause gastrointestinal issues.

36. The Blob

Close-up of Blob mold.
  • Latin name: Physarum polycephalum
  • When it blooms: Can grow at just about any time of year
  • Soil needs: Prefers various damp, shady surfaces and habitats
  • Sun exposure: Prefers very shady areas
  • Color varieties: This interesting slime mold is usually a bright yellow color that looks a bit like the color of an egg yolk.

This species is one of the relative few on the list that isn’t actually a mushroom! Rather, it is a type of slime mold. If you’ve ever seen a slime mold in a science class, chances are good that it was this one. It’s especially remarkable for something called “cytoplasmic streaming.” It forms a vein-like network, and it’s possible to observe fluid moving through the “veins.” This mold is also able to produce a few different antiviral substances. One extract of the mold has been able to successfully prevent some crop diseases.

37. Sky-Blue Mushroom

Sky-Blue Mushroom growing on ground.
  • Latin name: Entoloma hochstetteri
  • When it blooms: Will usually bloom from January to July
  • Soil needs: Prefers moist soil with ample leaf litter
  • Sun exposure: Does best in shady habitats
  • Color varieties: You don’t often see the color blue in nature, but this unique New Zealand mushroom offers plenty of it! Its stem, gills, and cap are a bright sky blue.

This remarkable mushroom is native to New Zealand. It has the unique honor of being the only fungus to be featured on a banknote; it is pictured on New Zealand’s fifty-dollar bill. It also has been the subject of local mythology. Some native peoples have a legend that the Kōkako bird got its bright blue wattles from rubbing its head against the mushroom. Though the sky blue mushroom has featured somewhat prominently in popular culture, nobody knows for sure whether it is toxic or not.

38. Green Earthtongue

Close-up of Green Earthtongue.
  • Latin name: Microglossum viride
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year-round except in very cold temperatures
  • Soil needs: Prefers woodland soil
  • Sun exposure: Grows best in shady forests
  • Color varieties: Many individual green earthtongue fungi have a very deep green, shiny color. But as you can see in the photo, some of them are closer to being a pale blue-green.

This fungus has a wide range compared to many on the list. It prefers forest habitats and can be found on three continents: Europe, North America, and Australia. As you may have guessed, the name “green earthtongue” comes from the fact that these fungi look a lot like very small, green tongues reaching up from the ground.

39. Jelly Drops

Jelly Drop fungus growing on ground.
  • Latin name: Ascocoryne sarcoides
  • When it blooms: Can bloom at any point if the conditions are right
  • Soil needs: Typically grows on dead logs and tree branches
  • Sun exposure: Does best in habitats with somewhat low light
  • Color varieties: This unique fungus is often called the purple jellydisc. Its shiny, jelly-like formations are usually more pinkish in color, though some individual fungi may look more purple.

Like some types of fungi, the distinctive “jelly drops” are useful in that they make an antibiotic compound. They make ascocorynin, an antibiotic that seems to successfully fight gram-positive bacteria. Jelly drops are also one of the prettier fungi on the list, as their pinkish lobes are somewhat translucent and grow in relatively large masses.

40. Pixie’s Parasol

Pixie's Parasol growing in tree trunk.
  • Latin name: Mycena interrupta
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year-round unless conditions are unusually cold
  • Soil needs: Typically grows on rotting wood in rainforests, beech forests, or eucalypt forests
  • Sun exposure: Does best in shady forests
  • Color varieties: This mushroom is one of the especially stunning blue mushrooms on the list. Its cap is bluish white with a spot of darker blue at the center. Its bright blue coloration rivals that of some flowers!

As you likely gathered from the name, the pixie’s parasol looks a lot like a tiny umbrella. If you know something about the naming of mushrooms, you may recognize that many members of this mushroom’s genus, Mycena, are bioluminescent. This one is not, but its magnificent coloration makes up for that fact.

41. Rhubarb Bolete

Close-up of Rhubarb Bolete.
  • Latin name: Boletellus obscurecoccineus
  • When it blooms: Usually from July to November
  • Soil needs: Prefers forest floors with ample leaf litter
  • Sun exposure: Prefers forests with relatively low light
  • Color varieties: This distinctive mushroom certainly adds a burst of color to any forest floor! It has a large red cap that is roughly the color of rhubarb. The flesh beneath the cap is yellow, so if the cap cracks, you can see some bright yellow mixed in with the red. Even the stem of this mushroom is colorful; it is red closer to the ground and gradually fades to yellow up at the cap.

The name of this bright mushroom might make you think it’s safe to eat. However, experts haven’t yet determined if it’s edible. Other bolete mushrooms are not deadly, but some of them do seem to cause gastrointestinal distress. This is especially true of mushrooms with red pigmentation.

42. Orange Peel Fungus

Orange Peel Fungus growing on mossy forest floor.
  • Latin name: Aleuria aurantia
  • When it blooms: Mostly between late summer and autumn
  • Soil needs: Prefers either disturbed soil or clay
  • Sun exposure: Does well in various light conditions
  • Color varieties: The color of this fungus will often range from a pale, sherbet-like orange to a deep tangerine orange.

The orange peel fungus is one of the interesting fungi that looks like something else in nature. Though it may vary by individual fungus, some orange peel fungi look so much like their namesakes that you could easily mistake one for an actual orange peel.

43. Tongue Mushroom

Close-up of Tongue Mushroom.
  • Latin name: Fistulina hepatica
  • When it blooms: From August to late autumn
  • Soil needs: It will usually grow on living or dead wood of a variety of trees
  • Sun exposure: Does best in shady forest conditions
  • Color varieties: This mushroom is usually dark red to purplish in color. If you cut into it, you’ll also see that the insides look a good bit like raw meat.

The tongue mushroom is yet another species that resembles something in nature. Some individual mushrooms look more like tongues than others. You might hear this bracket fungus called the beefsteak polypore or ox tongue. In the past, it was often used as a meat substitute.

44. Parrot Waxcap

Parrot Waxcap on forest floor.
  • Latin name: Gliophorus psittacinus
  • When it blooms: Usually from late summer to autumn
  • Soil needs: Does best in various types of grassland soil
  • Sun exposure: Can tolerate relatively sunny grassland conditions
  • Color varieties: This little toadstool has a grass-green waxy cap. As you can see in the picture, its paler green gills make it look like a cut lime when viewed from underneath. Some individual mushrooms will eventually develop a smallish patch of red on the top, making them even more colorful!

These bright mushrooms often look especially shiny thanks to their slimy, waxy caps. They are one of the species on the list considered to be edible, although they are so slimy and so small that most people don’t collect them for food. Though they are edible, eating them in excess has the potential to cause gastrointestinal irritation.

45. Crown-Tipped Coral Fungus

Crown-tipped coral fungus growing on a fallen log.
  • Latin name: Artomyces pyxidatus
  • When it blooms: Generally blooms during the growing season for various types of plants
  • Soil needs: Prefers to grow on various types of growing wood
  • Sun exposure: Can tolerate most levels of sunlight
  • Color varieties: The coral fungus varieties are some of the most colorful on the list. This particular variety isn’t quite as bright as some other coral fungi, but it ranges from a pale pinkish-tan to creamy yellow.

This type of coral fungus is sometimes called “crown coral.” And looking at the photo, it’s easy to see why. When fully grown, the coral-like branches seem to form a crown shape. This fungus is also edible; tribes in northeastern India frequently prepare it as a meal. Generally speaking, this fungus tastes better cooked than it does raw!

46. Green Elfcup

Close-up of Green Elfcup.
  • Latin name: Chlorociboria aeruginascens
  • When it blooms: Usually during warmer months
  • Soil needs: Typically grows on trees, especially oak
  • Sun exposure: Prefers shady forest conditions
  • Color varieties: Many of the cup-like fungi on the list are pink or orange. But this one is unique in its blue-green color. Despite the name, it usually appears more blue than green and is close to a turquoise color.

Though the green elfcup is especially striking, it’s fairly rare to find it in the wild. However, it tends to stain wood green wherever it grows. This staining has an interesting purpose in art, particularly in woodworking. Some artists like to carve pieces out of “green oak” (the wood of trees where the green elfcup grows). The discoloration of the wood adds visual interest and can provide a striking visual contrast against non-infected wood.

47. Rosy Bonnet

Two Rosy Bonnets growing in forest.
  • Latin name: Mycena rosea
  • When it blooms: Can typically bloom at any point during warmer weather
  • Soil needs: Generally prefers damp forest soil
  • Sun exposure: Does best in relatively shady habitats
  • Color varieties: The rosy bonnet is an especially delicate-looking mushroom species. It tends to be pale pink with slightly rumpled gills on the edges.

The pretty rosy bonnet has somewhat unique coloring, as it’s a much softer pink than many mushrooms on the list. In the early stages of its growth, it has a convex shape that is much more bonnet-like. As it matures, it flattens out into an almost cup-like shape. Oddly enough, the pigments found naturally in the rosy bonnet are closely related to some of the pigments found in marine sponges.

48. Bonnet Mold

Bonnet Mold growing among forest vegetation.
  • Latin name: Spinellus fusiger
  • When it blooms: Will grow at any point that mushrooms grow
  • Soil needs: Grows best on many species of capped mushrooms
  • Sun exposure: Can grow in just about any type of sunlight
  • Color varieties: The slender filaments of this fungus are usually whitish to clear in coloration. They look especially remarkable when morning dewdrops settle on them.

You might not know it, but it’s possible for some fungi to grow on other fungi! That’s the case with bonnet mold, a parasitic mold that grows on the caps (or “bonnets”) of several mushroom species. Though harmful to mushrooms, bonnet mold has an interesting aesthetic, as it adds gossamer-like threads to the mushroom tops.

49. Devil’s Fingers

Close-up of Devil's fingers.
  • Latin name: Clathrus archeri
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year-round unless frost is present
  • Soil needs: Usually prefers moist forest soil
  • Sun exposure: Does best in shady areas
  • Color varieties: At first, this fungus forms a whitish “egg.” But then the bright red, black-speckled “fingers” emerge from it. The contrast is certainly a memorable one!

This odd, sinister-looking fungus is one you’ll probably want to avoid. Its slender red fingers are coated in a slimy mass of spores. The spore mass is responsible for making the mushroom smell like rotting flesh. But like most smelly mushrooms, this one is able to use the scent to attract flies that can then scatter its spores.

50. Eyelash Cup

Eyelash Cup growing on a log.
  • Latin name: Scutellinia scutellata
  • When it blooms: Can bloom year-round
  • Soil needs: Prefers to grow on damp soil or rotting wood
  • Sun exposure: Prefers shady or forested areas
  • Color varieties: These smallish cup mushrooms are usually red, although some of them may be closer to dark orange. Of course, the dark “eyelashes” are relatively easy to see against the bright coloration.

So far, we’ve had a wide range of cup fungi on the list. But this one is especially memorable. Like other cup fungi, it has a delicate, cup-like shape when mature. But the rim of the cup is lined with dark, hair-like filaments that closely resemble eyelashes. Remarkably, this versatile fungus has been documented on every continent in the world! And even though it’s pretty, this fungus is usually considered inedible. Regardless, it is so small that most people wouldn’t find it worthwhile to collect for food.

51. Porcelain Fungus

White glowing mushroom in the woods.
  • Latin name: Oudemansiella mucida
  • When it blooms: Primarily in autumn
  • Soil needs: Grows almost exclusively on the bark of beech trees
  • Sun exposure: Prefers relatively dark forest environments
  • Color varieties: As the name suggests, the porcelain fungus is a stunning white color similar to that of porcelain. On thin enough mushroom caps, you can see the sun shining through as it is in the picture!

The porcelain fungus may look dainty and delicate, but it is fiercely competitive when it comes to other mushroom species. It is able to release an antifungal substance that damages or destroys competitors that grow too close to it. Similar antifungal agents are sometimes used in agriculture to protect crops from being destroyed by parasitic fungi.

52. Crepidotus

Crepidotus growing on a trunk.
  • Latin name: Crepidotus sp.
  • When it blooms: Typically in summer and early fall
  • Soil needs: Prefers to grow on wood and some types of plant debris
  • Sun exposure: Does best in forest habitats with relatively low light
  • Color varieties: These beautiful, fan-like fungi vary somewhat in color. They generally range from pale pink to warm, soft yellow like the one in the picture.

This beautiful fan-like fungus is somewhat unique in that it has no stalk. Its distinctive shape is marked by a number of ripple-like gills. The gills combined with the distinctive outline along the edge can make some individuals (like the one in the picture) look like lemon slices. The name Crepidotus refers to an entire genus of fungi, many of which can be hard to distinguish because they look so similar.

53. Amethyst Deceiver

Amethyst Deceiver growing in the forest.
  • Latin name: Laccaria amethystina
  • When it blooms: From late summer to early winter
  • Soil needs: Does best in moist forest soil
  • Sun exposure: Prefers shady forest environments
  • Color varieties: True to the name, the amethyst deceiver is roughly the color of amethyst. However, its rich purple color tends to fade with age. Because it’s harder to identify older specimens, this mushroom came to have “deceiver” as part of its name.

This striking mushroom is one of the few purple varieties. It is one of the many mushrooms that form a symbiotic relationship with trees through connection with the roots. Though this mushroom is edible, it’s important to exercise caution if you do decide to eat it. The amethyst deceiver is not toxic on its own, but it accumulates arsenic from the soil it grows in.

Nature’s Brightly Colored Mushrooms and Other Fungi

So there you have them: some of the brightest and most stunning fungi the world has to offer. Whether you’re just checking them out online or trying to see if you can spot them in the wild, we hope this list has opened your eyes to the stunning world of mushrooms and fungi.

Disclaimer: There is risk to ingesting wild mushrooms. Illness and even death can occur from ingesting wild mushrooms. Color-meanings.com makes no warranties as to the safety of consuming wild mushrooms and accepts no liability or responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of or reliance upon the information contained herein, nor for any health problems, consequences or symptoms which may arise from contact with or the ingestion of mushrooms, and other fungi herein described. Any person who ingests mushrooms or any other potentially dangerous fungi does so at their own risk!