Red mushrooms in Arkansas are very common and The Natural State is home to several varieties that will catch your eye.
Recently, I was walking through the Arkansas woods when I saw the prettiest red mushroom. It caught me off-guard because I had never seen anything like it before.
It turned out that is was a Red-Capped Russula.
Today I want to talk about the various red mushrooms in Arkansas so you will know how to identify them if you spot one while you’re out on a walk.
Red-Capped Russula are extremely common in Arkansas. What I learned from my research is that there are many types of Russulas and just talking about the characteristics of the group are difficult because differences can vary widely.
The genus Russula includes some very beautiful and interesting species, and a lot of hard-to-distinguish species. Because russulas are typically fairly large, and because they are often brightly colored, amateur mushroomers are frequently interested in identifying them. About 20 or 30 species can be identified fairly easily–but there are perhaps 750 species worldwide. source
The Red-Capped Russula I found had a red cap (naturally) with white spots. It was very pretty and stood out in the green leaves.
Boletus harrisonii are another red mushroom in Arkansas. They can often be found near oak trees but they are very easy to confuse with other boletus.
Often mistaken for H. campestris but grows w/trees and has no red-orange dots by the base. Small; red-pink cap; yellow flesh and pores stain greenish blue; pores age to greenish or olive-yellow. source
Hygrocybe are very interesting looking mushrooms. They are bright red and look like a small cherry tomato. You can often find them growing on the floor of the Ouachita National Forest.
Fruit bodies of Hygrocybe species are all agaricoid, most (but not all) having smooth to slightly scaly caps that are convex to conical and waxy to slimy when damp. Many (but not all) are brightly coloured in shades of red, orange, or yellow – less commonly pink or green. source
While you’re hiking in the woods of Arkansas, keep your eyes open for this very special mushroom!
Note: Amanita muscaria types are also red-capped but they don’t grow in Arkansas. Don’t be fooled.
Are Arkansas Red Mushrooms Edible?
However, that’s not a question I’m going to answer. It’s just too risky. If you’re new to foraging, you should always take an expert with you. There are many poisonous mushrooms in Arkansas and you don’t want to mess with those.
Foraging can be fun if you know what you’re doing so always do your research and take an expert!