Furthering your mushroom journey
A hand holding a pinecone adorned with a miniature world of mushrooms. Against the backdrop of a clear blue sky, these tiny fungi create a whimsical and magical display, reminding us of the hidden wonders of nature.

Wild mushrooms for beginners

Here are a few mushrooms you can find in (and around) Berlin, throughout the year, which are relatively safe for a beginner to forage for. "Relatively safe" means that there are no toxic look-alikes, but as always, never consume a mushroom unless it has been correctly identified as safe for consumption. The mushrooms listed here are not a source of information for exact identification.


Look for these large beautiful mushrooms in mid-May or June and then again around September. They tend to grow like fans or shelves on a number of different dead or dying deciduous trees. It's easy to get excited when you find one, as they can get pretty big in size! But only harvest younger, small to medium-sized mushrooms, as larger mushrooms can be tough and woody (and may already be home to beetles and other critters).


Already abundant in July and still to be found until late Autumn, chanterelles are difficult to miss with their bright yellow-orange fruit bodies. Look for chanterelles around pines or birch as they have a mycorrhizal (symbiotic) relationship with trees. You can tell them apart from other mushrooms (the false chanterelle for example!), because they smell sweet, faintly like apricots and do not have a hollow stem.


All throughout Autumn, you can find bay boletes practically everywhere. They like to grow in either coniferous or mixed forests- my experience is that they prefer being near pines and beeches. Characteristic are their brown caps and yellow pores, which turn blue when bruised. Dry cook them first if it has been raining the past few days and remove the pores beforehand, otherwise you'll end up with a slimy mess!


When it is winter and there are hardly any edible wild mushrooms to be found, wood ears are always a welcome sight! You can actually find them all year round, but they are most prominent in the winter months. Look for them on sticks and logs or old elder trees. They somehow really like elder. Wood ears are best cooked in soups, as these mushrooms are more of a texture than a flavour addition.

Where to go get your mushrooms checked

If you are unsure about a mushroom, please go have it identified as being safe before consuming! In Berlin, you can have your mushrooms checked (for free) at two different locations:

Berlin Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum
Unter den Eichen 5, 12203 Berlin
(at the Botanic school in room E05)
Every Monday between 2pm - 4pm

Nature Conservation Foundation Berlin
Potsdamer Str. 68, 10785 Berlin
(on the fourth floor)
Every Monday between 5:30pm - 6pm

Further reading

-Fungarium by Ester Gaya
-Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
-Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets
-The Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
-a mushroom field guide specific to your part of the world (for Germany, I like the Kosmos Pilzführer series)

Learn more

So you've been captivated by the world of mushrooms and you're eager to learn more. Here are a few (low cost or free) ways to continue your journey

-watch youtube videos
-join mycology related subreddits such as: r/mycology or r/mushrooms
-follow other mushroomers on instagram (like me for example ;)
-join your local mycological society
-go out into the forest as often as you can

I've discovered that the best way to learn is to observe. Mushroom hunting goes beyond the mere outcome; it's a practice that encourages us to slow down, practice mindfulness, and truly appreciate the act of noticing and delving deeper. Even when we return from the forest with an empty basket, there's always an opportunity to discover and learn something new.

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