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Honey Fungus

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn

This tasty and very common mushroom can give a small amount of people gastric upsets so should be tried in small amounts the first time it is eaten. It should always be cooked before consumption.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Honey Fungus, Bootlace Fungus
Scientific Name Armillaria mellea
Season Start Sep
Season End Nov
Average Mushroom height (CM) 14
Average Cap width (CM) 15
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


Conical when young, then convex, then flattening and even having upturned edges. Honey coloured, ochre or brown with a darker slight umbo and sometimes concentric circles of darker scales..


Gills start white turning yellow to brown and often darker. Crowded. Joined to the stem.


The chunky Honey fungus has a fairly thick, scaly, white to yellow brown stem which is usually bulbous at the base. The slender fungus is thinner, generally smoother and tapers towards the base and can be white to yellow to red/brown.


The ring is usually very high on the stem and can appear as a double ring with chrome yellow edges.




Growing in large clusters on trunks, stumps or dead wood of many different trees but can also be found in grass as the rhizomorphs spread looking for more trees to infect.

Possible Confusion

Galerina marginata, pictured, can look similar but is darker and has a distinct smell which is not mushroomy. Care should be taken with the identification of this fungi as Galerina marginata is also called The Funeral Bell.

Spore Print

White to pale cream. Ellipsoid.

Taste / Smell

Good and found in large numbers. Must be cooked before consumption but can still cause slight gastric upsets in a small number of people.


Very common.

Other Facts

This mushroom is responsible for killing many trees and the rhizomorphs or ‘bootlaces’ can usually be found under the clusters of fungi and surrounding bark. Unlike most mushrooms this fungi can live on its host tree alive or dead and can spread under ground easily and ends up killing its host.
Armillaria do not grow from spores very easily.
An  Armillaria has formed what is thought to be the largest living single organism on the planet and has been reported at 3.4 square miles in size and thousands of years old.


7 comments for Honey Fungus

  1. Andy Wilson says:

    In Norway, they call a certain mushroom a ‘Melksopp’ . Is this the same as our word ‘ Milksop ‘ ?
    I believe it was a type of Boletus, the type which which occasionally sprang up on the back lawn of our former
    house, near Watch hill, Aspatria, Cumbria.
    Can you shed any light on which mushroom is in fact called in English, ‘Milksop’ ?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      I can’t find a reference to milksop and mushrooms in the UK, only that it means ‘a person who is indecisive and lacks courage’ but in Lithuania they call the Leccinum branch of the Boletes the milksops so there might be something there.

      1. Katri Paakkari says:

        Milksop might refer to milk cap.

  2. Alex says:

    I found some really early honey fungus on a dead tree, 2nd Aug 2020, which is a month earlier than the season start described.

    1. Sam says:

      Likewise! At least, I think that’s what I’ve found. Perhaps this year’s climate has been conducive to it.

  3. Dinah says:

    My wooded garden is a honey coloured fantasy grotto at the moment, with clumps on each and every bit of wood sticking up, or horizontal on the ground. It must have been a very good year for it. Doesn’t seem to have killed anything off this year though, maybe that will happen toward winter. Has anyone else had a really bumper crop this year?

  4. John Way (Isle of Wight) says:

    Had Honey Fungus on toast for lunch today,yummy.! Boiled the caps for 5 minutes,then saute in a little olive oil,butter,garlic and dried herbs.
    All growing around the trunk of an old oak in my garden.
    Many Boletes in my lawn too,but not positively identified,so not eaten.!!

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