Honey Mushroom Vs Deadly Galerina

As a mushroom growing enthusiast, I’ve encountered various types of mushrooms with differing characteristics. Today, I want to delve into the comparison between two similar-looking but very different mushrooms: the honey mushroom and the deadly galerina. Both belong to the Hymenogastraceae family, and their similar appearances can often lead to confusion, making it crucial to understand their disparities in detail.

Honey Mushroom

The Armillaria mellea, commonly known as the honey mushroom, is a popular edible fungus that grows in clusters on wood, particularly on tree stumps, logs, or at the base of trees. Its cap ranges in color from yellow-brown to reddish-brown, and it has a ring on the stipe. Honey mushrooms are renowned for their rich and nutty flavor, making them a sought-after ingredient in various culinary dishes.

From a cultivation perspective, honey mushrooms are fascinating to grow, but they require a good understanding of the growing conditions. They can be cultivated indoors using wooden logs or outdoor woodchip beds. It’s important to note that proper identification is essential to avoid confusion with the deadly galerina.

Deadly Galerina

The Galerina marginata, also known as deadly galerina, is a small but extremely poisonous mushroom. It shares a striking resemblance to the honey mushroom, with a brownish-orange cap and a ring on the stipe. However, it contains deadly toxins, including amatoxins, making it incredibly dangerous if ingested. The deadly galerina is commonly found on decaying wood, such as logs and stumps, which adds to the potential confusion with the honey mushroom.

One of the key distinguishing factors of the deadly galerina is its gills, which are rusty brown in color and become darker as the mushroom matures. Additionally, its spore print is also rust-colored, aiding in its identification. As a mushroom grower, the presence of deadly galerina in the vicinity can pose a serious risk, especially if one is cultivating other edible mushrooms.

My Experience

Having cultivated honey mushrooms in my own garden, I’ve come to appreciate their distinct appearance and delightful taste. However, my experience with identifying mushrooms has taught me to be extremely cautious, especially when foraging in the wild. The similarities between honey mushrooms and deadly galerina can be deceiving, and I’ve always emphasized the importance of thorough research and learning from experienced foragers to avoid any mishaps.


It’s crucial for mushroom enthusiasts and foragers to be well-versed in the identification of honey mushrooms and deadly galerina. While the honey mushroom offers a delectable culinary experience, mistaking it for the deadly galerina can have severe consequences. Always remember: when in doubt, never consume any wild mushroom without proper confirmation of its edibility from a knowledgeable source.