by Buck Reed
The word “mycology” refers to the study of fungi, which is another word for mushrooms. You don’t really need to study mushrooms to appreciate them or enjoy what they bring to the culinary world. But in case you need to know, or are ever on Jeopardy and the category comes up, below are a few terms you may want to know.

My advice is to embrace the mushroom in all its varieties and don’t be afraid to use them in your cooking. Fear is the only thing we have to be frightened of, and we can’t have that in our kitchen. Just make sure you get your mushrooms from the grocery store and not your back yard.

Mushroom Terms & Types of

Commonly Eaten Mushrooms

Mycophagy: The eater of mushrooms.

Mycophile: a person who loves mushrooms.

Mycophobia: A person who fears mushrooms.

Mycorrhiza: A mushroom and host that benefit nutritionally from each other.

Parasitism: One organism feeds off another without any benefit to the other.

Spore: Reproductive structure of a mushroom.

Cap: Top part of the mushroom.

Stem: The part that raises the cap.

Bulbous: Describes a fat stem.

Gills: Thin, papery structures that hang vertically under the cap.

Button Mushrooms ~ A common mushroom that has an edible cap and stem; also referred to as domestic mushrooms.

Most other mushrooms are commercially grown but are referred to as “wild mushrooms.”

Portobello ~ Swiss brown mushroom that is harvested when it is quite large and gills are open.

Cremini ~ Browner and firmer mushroom.

Note: Button, portobello, and cremini are all the same species but at different stages of their life.

Shiitake ~ A Japanese mushroom that grows on trees.

Maitake ~ This mushroom has an earthy woody flavor.

Oyster ~ Mushroom variety that has a short stem and a cap that resembles an oyster.

Chanterelle ~ Yellow mushroom that is considered by gourmets to be the most flavorful.

Enoki ~ A small mushroom with a crunchy texture that is used in many Asian cuisines.

Black Trumpet ~ Mushroom found in parts of the United States and shaped like a wavy cone; smokey in flavor and somewhat like black truffle.

Morels ~ Considered by many to be the king of mushrooms, these grow once a year in the United States and are often sold dried; must be reconstituted before using both the mushrooms and the broth they produce.

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