In this article, we will answer the question, ‘are Ringless Honey Mushrooms edible?’
This is a good question, because you may have a couple of these mushrooms around where you live.
Armillaria tabescens, sometimes known as the ringless honey mushroom, is edible. They often appear in soups, stews, and other prepared foods and have a somewhat sweet, nutty taste. However, it’s crucial to correctly identify the mushroom before eating it since certain Armillaria species might be deadly. It is usually advised to get advice from a mushroom specialist or guidebook before eating wild mushrooms.
Let’s dig into more detail.
Are Ringless Honey Mushrooms Edible?
A type of edible mushroom called the ringless honey mushroom (Armillaria tabescens) may be found growing on the stumps and foundations of trees, mainly hardwoods. They are a popular option for use in meals like soups, stews, and stir-fries because of their sweet, nutty taste and soft texture.
As there are various other mushroom species that are not edible and might aggravate the stomach if eaten, it is crucial to correctly identify ringless honey mushrooms when foraging.
The lack of a ring on the stem and the ring-free honey mushroom’s unique yellowish-brown cap color are two ways to distinguish it from other Armillaria species. Additionally, it’s crucial to exclusively gather mushrooms from regions that are free of toxicity and pesticide use.
It is crucial to carefully clean ringless honey mushrooms before cooking them since they often include dirt or debris. In addition to being sliced or diced, they may be grilled, sautéed, or added to soups and stews.
Additionally, it’s important to note that they may be dried and subsequently rehydrated to be used in cooking.
Ringless Honey Mushroom Description
The ringless honey mushroom, a part of the Physalacriaceae family, is the most easily identified as Armillaria, an American specimen. This mushroom grows in clusters on hardwoods in eastern North America, from the Great Lakes southward and west to Texas and Oklahoma. It has no ring or ring zone on its stem(hence the name), and it is usually a dull, tawny brown, though yellowish collections are not uncommon.
The cap surface bears small yellowish scales (at least when young), and the stem bases are fused and somewhat pointed.
As a quick description, the Ringless Honey Fungus is Honey-colored, with a dry, scaly cap, lacking a ring on the stalk(hence the name) that grows from September to November. It grows in clusters on wood.
The cap is convex and is yellow-brown to honey brown, with reddish-brown cottony scales; texture dry, scaly. The gills are narrow and broad and are white to brownish. The spores magnified are elliptical, smooth, and colorless.
Now, Ringless Honey Mushrooms are prolific late summer and early fall mushrooms. This wild mushroom grows in large clusters on lawns, usually following heavy rains. It pops up quickly—seemingly overnight—and typically appears terrestrial, though it is actually growing from buried roots.
Now let’s talk a little about its ecology. The Ringless Honey Mushroom is parasitic and saprobic, usually on tree stumps, especially silver maple and oak trees. These can grow directly from roots, attached to them with white fuzz.
The mushrooms typically appear in large clusters at the trees’ bases in late summer and fall, east of the Rocky Mountains. Something you should know it when the clusters appear to be terrestrial, they are actually growing from underground wood.
The cap is 1-4 inches across at maturity; convex at first, becoming broadly convex, flat, or shallowly depressed in age, dry, and maybe covered with darker brown scales, but the scales are often concentrated near maturity the center hard to see. The cap is tanto tawny brown to cinnamon brown—or sometimes yellow to yellowish; the margin is often becoming slightly lined.
The gills run down the stem, close together, with many short-gills and a whitish with pinkish colors.
The stem is 5–8 cm long; 0.5–1 cm thick; tapering to base; bald and pale grayish to brownish near apex, darker brown and nearly hairy below; without a ring.
The flesh is Whitish to a watery tan; not changing when sliced. Finally, the odor is not distinctive, and this can taste bitter or not distinctive.
Ringless Honey Mushroom Benefits
The Ringless Honey Mushroom has many benefits. With my sources cited right below, this section show I’m not making any of this up.
This magic mushroom was not originally used for medical purposes. However, it does contain α-(1→6)-D-glucan, which is known for its anti-cancer properties. Furthermore, this has also been shown to be effective against several types of bacteria known to cause disease in humans.
The ringless honey mushroom is also one of several mushroom species found to have cleansing antioxidant properties.
A close relative of the ringless honey mushroom, the Armillaria mellea, has had more thorough research on it. Its potential medicinal benefits are much more known than the Armillaria tabescens (Ringless Honey Mushroom). But, even closely related mushrooms can be very different from each other biochemically.
Honey mushrooms are traditionally used in China for several illnesses. An in-vitro study examined the mushroom’s chemical constituents and identified several that have antioxidant and anti-edema effects. Another similar study identified both antioxidant substances and substances capable of lowering blood sugar.
A series of tests show that an extract of honey mushroom killed both human lymphoma cells and two different kinds of human liver cancer cells. Of course, for a substance to kill cancer in a dish is no proof that it can fight cancer in a person. However, it does indicate a worthwhile lane of research.
A study involving mice who had been experimentally given a degenerative condition similar to our Alzheimer’s Disease found that an extract of this honey mushroom improved the subjects’ performance on mazes, along with reduced characteristic signs of degeneration in their brains.
Now, there are four antibiotics, and anti-fungal substances were originally isolated from honey mushroom tissue. However, whether the whole mushroom can deliver a therapeutic dose of any of the four when eaten seems unclear.
Where to Find Ringless Honey Mushrooms
Now that you know what health benefits Ringless Honey Mushrooms give you, where do you find them? Ringless Honey Mushrooms are Native to the United States’ east coast, from the Mid-Atlantic states south and west to mid-Texas and Oklahoma. You can find them in New England, like CT and MA. As a precaution, be very careful of your ringless honey mushroom identification in New England.
Ringless Honey Mushrooms will grow in an area, generally for a short time: only about a week or two. In the North, the timeframe is shorter, while in the South, it’s slightly longer. It also seems like this mushroom will send up clusters of mushrooms every day or two if there is enough rain.
They are ready to harvest around mid-fall, but what is considered mid-fall varies from location to location. In New Jersey, I found them most often in mid-September and in Texas, I found them in early November!
Ringless honey mushrooms grow exclusively on root wood. However, they can also grow in other parts of the wood. They are primarily decomposers but may also act as parasites or symbiote with living trees. Ringless Honey Mushrooms usually show up nestled at the base of a living tree, typically on top of or between tree roots or near dead tree stumps.
They should not be found growing on the raised trunk of a fallen tree. Regular honey mushrooms may grow that way, but not the ringless mushrooms. If you find what you think is ringless honey growing like this, it’s most likely another mushroom.
Ringless honey mushrooms are nearly 100% found growing in clusters of many mushrooms, which is found just below the ground.
If you wiggle this cluster, you should be able to pull it up as one and view this at the fungus base. If all your items are not coming together at one point, you probably do not have ringless honey and should not eat it without proper identification.
How to Pick and Store Ringless Honey Mushrooms
It’s crucial to ensure their correct identification and excellent health while foraging for honey mushrooms, as there is a toxic mushroom that is similar to this.
A stem that is normally white or light-colored, a mushroom cap that is yellowish-brown in color, and a stem without rings are some of the primary traits to look for. Avoid any mushrooms with slimy, discolored, or anything that looks like it’s going to dry out or feels leathery.
When you come across a patch of honey mushrooms, it is best to harvest them by cutting them at the base of the stem with a sharp knife or pair of scissors.
Avoid taking the mushroom out of the ground by the stem since doing so might harm the nearby mushrooms and make it more challenging for the patch to produce mushrooms in the future.
Once you’ve harvested the mushrooms, it’s essential to carefully store them to preserve their quality. Fresh honey mushrooms should be kept in the refrigerator in a paper bag or container with a moist towel on top for the best storage results. They will stay moist and avoid drying out as a result of this.
On the other hand, dried mushrooms may be kept in a cool, dry environment in an airtight container for several months.
You may also preserve them by grilling or sautéing them and then freezing them in a freezer bag or sealed container if you won’t be using them right away. In this way, they may be preserved for many months and afterwards used in various dishes.
Thank you. I hope you enjoyed this article about the Armillaria Tabescens! Be sure to get a plant verification app to ensure you are eating the Ringless Honey Mushroom and not getting mushroom poisoning!