Wild-harvested Mushrooms Certification



Every year in the spring, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers classes for anyone interested in being certified to sell wild-harvested mushrooms within the state of Iowa. 

Training for 2023:

Wild Mushroom certification (includes all mushrooms listed above, $60)

March 25, 2-5 pm, in person, at Iowa State campus (room 1302, building ATRB). Registration closed (March 18, 2023)

April 15, 2-5 pm, REGISTRATION FULL (waitlist available but does not guarantee that you'll be able to attend) in person at Iowa State campus (room 1302, building ATRB). Registration closed (April 8, 2023).

The next certification workshops will not be held until spring 2024. Keep an eye on this website for information. Registration should be available and open by January 1, 2024. 

Questions about the training, email pidc@iastate.edu

To legally sell eight different wild-harvested mushrooms in Iowa, sellers must complete a certification workshop that covers identifying and distinguishing them from look-alikes. 

Common name

Scientific name


Photo example


Morchella spp., M. americana, M. angusticeps, M. punctipes

Kuo, M Mushroom expert. The Morchellaceae: True morels and verpas.

Midwest American Mycological Information (MAMI) Morchella species

Photo by Lacey Siomos


Pleurotus citrinopileatus, Pleurotus ostreatus, Pleurotus populinu, Pleurotus pulmonarious

Kuo, M Mushroom expert Pleurotus ostreatus: The Oyster Mushroom
Volk, Tom Fungus of the Month for October 1998

MAMI Pleurotus species

Photo by Volodymyr Tokar on Unsplash

Chicken of the woods

Laetiporus spp: L. cincinnatus, L. sulphureus

Kuo, M Mushroom expert L. cincinnatus

Kuo, M Mushroom expert L. sulphureus

MAMI Laetiporus spp

Photo by Lacey Siomos

Hen of the woods

Grifola frondosa

Kuo, M Mushroom expert. Grifola frondosa

MAMI Grifola frondosa

Photo by Lacey Siomos


Cantharellus cibarius group

Kuo, M Mushroom expert “Cantharellus cibarius”: The Chanterelle.

Cantharellus cibarius at Roger’s Mushrooms

MAMI Cantharellus species

Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash

Bear's head tooth, Lion's mane

Hericium spp:

H. erinaceus

H. americanum

Kuo, M. Mushroom expert Hericium, Hericium erinaceus, Hericium americanum

MAMI Hericium species

Photo by Artur Kornakov on Unsplash

Pheasant back

Polyporus squamosus

Kuo, M. Mushroom expert Polyporus squamosus.

Tom Volk’s Mushroom of the Month

MAMI Polyporus squamosus


Black trumpet

Craterellus cornucopoides

Kuo, M. Mushroom expert Craterellus cornucopioides.

MAMI Craterellus species

Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

People can be poisoned by eating misidentified mushrooms. By the end of the workshops, participants will recognize the mushroom listed above and differentiate them from their most common look-alikes.

Iowans who have not been certified to sell morel mushrooms for three or more years much recertify this year. Registration is open to out-of-state individuals that hunt and sell in Iowa, but keep in mind local certification may be required to sell in your home state.


IA Department of inspections and appeals rulings

Pertaining mushrooms 6/16/2021:   https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/aco/arc/5701C.pdf


See page 1-definitions at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/iac/chapter/481.30.pdf

Consumer advisory as in the ruling:

“A consumer advisory shall inform consumers by brochures, deli case, menu advisories, label statements, table tents, placards, or other effective written means that ‘wild-harvested mushrooms should be thoroughly cooked and may cause allergic reactions or other effects.”

Golden Oyster mushroom
Golden oyster. 

ISU Food Safety Lessons


Foraging Ethics – Honorable Harvest

The Honorable Harvest - Robin Kimmerer video


COVID-19 and food safety Articles

No Evidence COVID-19 Is Transmitted through Food and Food Packaging

Follow Grocery Shopping Best Practices during COVID-19


Safe mushroom foraging resources 

Mushroom calendar specific to Iowa and Midwestern states

The calendar shows the months when mushroom species have been recorded in Iowa and other parts of the upper Midwest. The dates of the actual appearance of any one species can vary widely from year to year and are primarily based on environmental conditions, including ground temperature, the timing of rainfall, amount of precipitation, and season.