What’s the difference between mushrooms and fungi?

These Jelly Spots are definitely not mushrooms, but they are fungi.

These Jelly Spots are definitely not mushrooms, but they are fungi.


I’m fairly new to all this, but super pumped to learn more! Thank you for your site, and for the chance to ask you a question.

Here’s my question. Maybe the first of many!

Is there a difference between mushroom and fungi? Are all mushrooms fungi? Are all fungi mushrooms?



You almost got there yourself! : )

All mushrooms are fungi, but not all fungi are mushrooms.

For example, the common Button mushrooms you buy at the supermarket are a species of fungus.

But while the yeast you might use to make bread at home is part of the fungus kingdom… it clearly isn’t a mushroom.

The formal taxonomy of fungi is complicated, and contentious at times. For most of us, we make judgements based on what we’re looking at.

Does it look like a mushroom? Does it have a stem and a cap?

On a walk in the woods, an Oyster mushroom or Chanterelle look like mushrooms, with a cap and a stem… even if they don’t have the classic mushroom shape you see in children’s books.

As you continue your walk in the woods and see some Turkey Tail growing out the trunk of a fallen tree… well, that really doesn’t look like a mushroom at all. But plenty of people talk about Turkey Tail mushrooms.

Walk a little further and you might see a Tinder Polypore growing from the side of a healthy tree. Definitely doesn’t look like a mushroom. But yes, it’s a fungus.

It’s this variety that makes exploring the world of fungi so interesting.

If you want to learn more, check out our Introduction to Mushrooms and what they’re good for.

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