Angel Wings Mushroom

May 29, 2011 by     44 Comments    Posted under: Focus Ingredients, Mushrooms
Angel Wings

Angel Wings

Angel Wings (Pleurocybella porrigens) are one of my favorite wild mushrooms, if nothing else just for their beauty. There’s something surreal about walking through a lush green forest, dampened by a recent rain, and suddenly spotting blotches of celestial white against the vibrancy of a moss colored tree. Just simply beautiful.

But Angel Wings have other characteristics of beauty as well. They taste wonderful! But be careful when you clean them, as they are very delicate and fragile.

How To Identify Angel Wings Wild Mushrooms

  • Grow in the Fall on rotting conifers throughout the Pacific Northwest and other Northern regions
  • Grow in a shelflike pattern on trees, stumps, or logs
  • Are bright white in color when fresh
  • The cap is small, only 1″ – 2.5″ wide, and have a fan-shape to them, though occasionally you may find one over 4″ wide
  • They don’t have a stalk, or if they do, it is just a stubby little base
  • They have gills which are white and close together which run down their stubby base (if present)
  • They do not have a veil, ring, or volva
  • Spores are white

They look a lot like a very white, small Oyster Mushroom, but are much more delicate and thin. They are easy to find, easy to identify, and easy to harvest. Just make sure you are able to 100% identify them so as to avoid any form of potential mushroom poisoning.

Edibility of Angel Wings Wild Mushrooms

Please make the effort to learn this mushroom. It is a wonderful gourmet treat any day of the week! They are very mild, have a very clean aroma, almost like the smell of moss, and are slightly sweet. They’re fantastic sauteed in butter with a little salt and pepper.

But as with all wild edibles, be wise and don’t eat large quantities at a time. Wild mushrooms, even those long proven to be edible, can cause physical distress and, in rare situations, physical harm/death.

How to Preserve Angel Wings Wild Mushrooms

Angle Wings are too delicate to dry, but I have found that if you saute them in butter and then freeze them, they are just as good thawed and recooked as fresh. In fact, the mossy sweetness seems to come out more during the freezing for some reason. They are exceptional scrambled up with some eggs this way.

Young Angel Wings

Young Angel Wings

Angel Wings Tree

Angel Wings Tree

Harvested Angel Wings

Harvested Angel Wings

The Bald Gourmet loves mushroom hunting. Gathering delicious gourmet treats in the woods, like Angle Wings Mushrooms, is wonderful.

44 Comments + Add Comment

  • I live in Southeast Alaska. I pick angel wings and other wild mushroons and have enjoyed eating them very much and have never gotten sick. I have noticed that here angel wings are often found growing on rotting hemlock trees. Hemlock is a known deadly poison. Maybe the mushrooms take up a toxin from throttling logs that they grow on?

  • Damn,
    I found a 1.9 ouncer the other day. Figured it was an oyster, then I got to seeing all these angel wing posts. I so wanted to eat it but now im scared. I tossed it to be safe.

  • The toxin found in Pleurocyboria porrigens has been isolated and an unstable amino acid. It has been named as Pleuorcybellaziridine. It is a real toxin with seriously damaging potential.

    • Thank you Bill very informative article. Glad you shared!

  • I found what I believe to be angel wings near Chicago over the past two days (Sept 16-17). I found three different spots in the same general area. Two of them were growing on fallen logs that were pretty far along the decomposition process. The third grouping was strange because it was growing near the base of a dying (oak?) tree. I was looking for maitake and at first I thought that’s what it was. The mushrooms were mostly at the base but growing up the tree a few feet as well. All of the mushrooms were very wet despite no rain in the past week or so. I’m not planning on eating them but I’m very interested in them because they don’t seem to follow the usual tendency of growing on coniferous wood. The area I’m in is almost 100% deciduous, but I feel somewhat confident that they are not oysters. They look and feel more like the descriptions and pictures of angel wings. Anybody know of a variant that grows in deciduous woods but looks decidedly like angel wings as opposed to oysters or creps?

    • Yes, I have found them growing on a fallen Red Alder here in Western Washington, October 2018

  • Interesting! I’d been researching a lot into wild mushrooms in the past few years, intent to become a forager of all manner of medicinal and edible plants and fungi, and I’d been hearing horror stories from a number of other learning foragers… you see Angel’s Wing everywhere in lists of “toxic fungi easily confused for edible ones”. The most lenient appraisal I’d heard of it was that it was highly suspect, likely to cause allergic reactions, etc, etc. Well, before now that is. I don’t think I’ll be so leery of trying a bit of this species from now on.

    I must say, though, the recency of the negative side effects of eating these stirs up the thought in me that maybe the toxicity in Japan might not be the mushroom itself, but possibly be a contamination? It happens sometimes with oyster mushrooms as well that have been grown as bioremediators in heavy metal and toxic chemical spill areas, and oysters certainly aren’t poisonous by themselves. It would explain why plenty of people eating the mushroom in different parts of the world have no trouble, but people in a certain country are being affected (and it may end up being just the Angel Wings harvested from a certain contaminated area).

    • Yes. I will agree with you that anything grown in a contaminated area can be effected. I was buying papua newguinea coffee beans grown in New Guinea. New Guinea is south of Japan and the radiation ruined my coffee. I noticed the difference in my health, so I stopped drinking it immediately. Health issues disappeared.

      On the contrary they used sunflowers growing on styrofoam beds floating in the water, their roots dangling in the water to clean up the radiation after Chernobyl. That’s pretty powerful stuff. But I wouldn’t be crazy enough to eat the sunflower seeds.

  • You do realize that someone might read this, pick these mushrooms, and get VERY sick right? You have a series of people in the comment section warning you about them and because you have never personally had a bad reaction you are just brushing them off, assuming without any research that the Japanese version is different. My understanding is that anyone with weak kidney’s or liver (elderly, children, sick people) could be seriously poisoned by this mushroom, because there are toxins in it that healthy people can filter out. I’m not a mycologist, I only know what I read, and the literature is vague at best most of the time. But I don’t have to read far to see that responsible foragers are extremely cautious, even uncomfortable, about giving online advice. It’s easy to put the responsibility on others- take a bit more for yourself before insisting that other people won’t get sick. How would you feel if someone’s child had to go to the emergency room? The only proper response to such warnings is- “I really don’t know, always consult an expert, be careful!” OR “I will post info proving that it is safe to eat if you have id’d it properly.”

  • Somehow this mushroom has made a top ten most deadly list:
    I know that I have eaten them thinking they were a type of oyster mushroom.

    I will continue my research and this is one of those interesting aspects of both the internet and of mushrooming: misinformation does in fact exist. Just because something is written in a book does not make it truthful either. Honest mistakes can be made. I do not claim this top ten video to be accurate, and I do not claim it to be fraudulent either.

  • They are known to have been responsible for at least 18 deaths in Japan. They contain an amino acid that some people are unable to break down in their kidneys or liver. The unbroken down amino acid can cross the blood brain barrier and causes neurological symptoms not unlike acute motor neurone disease. Is it worth risking your life?

    • Don’t eat them in Japan

      • are these only found on softwood?

  • I found some of these I’m pretty sure is there a way i can send you a picture to have you verify?

  • Hello! I have linked my blog post on Angel Wing mushrooms to your post about same. Could you link to my post? Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.

  • […] attributed. Mycological societies tend to share stats like that. In addition, I found a post from The Bald Gourmet about angel wings from 2011, regaling their delicate flavor when carefully […]

  • I was looking for a good site to send to a friend for ID of Angel Wings. This worked great! I’ve picked these on and off for years. Usually I have a huge bag of Chanterelles so I don’t bother with these. However, over the years, I’ve found that mushroom soups are better the more varieties of mushrooms you add. I collected about 2 pounds of these recently and added them to a Hungarian mushroom soup with 3 pounds of chanterelles. I loosely based it on the recipe from Rainforest Mushroom Company. They have some great recipes on their site! I’m eating the soup now and it’s heavenly!

    Thanks for the write up, it was very helpful.

  • Well hello from Maine,
    First just let me say, I love your website. I was wondering if you might be able to tell me anything about chestnut mushrooms? I found a cluster of what I believe to be them, last week. When I went back this week, there were tons more. I know if they are the chestnut mushroom, this will be a great find. The ones I found have a chestnut colored cap with a white film on it that rubs off. The stem is off white and the spore print is kind of a brownish purple if you will. Any info on these would be greatly appreciated. :)

    • Wish I could help Tina. I’m not familiar with chestnut mushrooms though.

  • I pick many of these every year as they are easy to identify and taste excellent. I wash mine then pat dry on towels then transfer them to dry towels and let them sit overnight to dry a little. Then the next day dice them up and saute them in sesame oil. They take on the sesame taste but combined with the slightly sweet earthy flavor. Then I freeze them in small containers and use them in everything from my morning omelets, adding to soups and stews to using them as a side during dinner. I love them, they are my favorite wild mushroom that I have access to here in the North Coast area of British Columbia.

    • Thanks for the comment Lyle. I’ll have to try angel wings with sesame oil like you suggest. Sounds pretty tasty.

  • i found some of these in Quebec but they had a really fishy smell while I cooked them. Is that normal? I was freaked out and tossed them, it was disappointing because they looked great.

    • Hmm… I’ve never had them be fishy before. Probably good you tossed them.

    • Those may have been regular oyster mushrooms. They look similar only they smell fishy.

    • Pic them up this morning on the stump in central PA. Smells like fish. Saute it with onions,
      smell is gone. Already ate them with mr. Johnny Walker, a good friend of my. Let you know tomorrow,
      how the things are (with any luck)…

  • I enjoy angel wing mushrooms. Great pictures and descriptions on how to find them and where. I enjoy cooking them with or without condiments. They taste good cooked plain. They go good in eggs, or i love to put them into a vegetable medley, i saute, including spinach and cabbage and kale, with some oyster sauce, other veggies also.

    I also sell those and chantrelles in season if interested.

  • I found something I thought might be angel wings on a hemlock stump but the caps are up to six inches across – does that rule out them being angel wings?

    • Nope. They still could be. I’ve seen them that big before. Could also be oyster mushrooms though

  • One more poisoning case has recently been reported in Japan. A 20-year-old man who has no kidney disorder was taken to the hospital with acute encephalopathy on 30th Sep 2014. He is getting better in the hospital and now in stable condition. The authority rewarrned people not to consume the mushroom even if they have no kidney syndrome.

    The regionality of angel wings poisoning is not clear. It has been suggested that the poisoning outbreak on 2004 in Japan is not caused by transformation or mutation of mushroom rather than by a change of the reporting criteria regarding acute encephalopathy. In 2003, the infectious disease control law in Japan was amended that medical institutions were obligated to report acute encephalopathy cases to authorities. (The amendment was conducted to counter with SARS pandemic and anthrax terrorism which were problems around that time.)

    • Well, next time I’m in Japan and stumble across some Angel Wings, I’ll be sure not to pick and eat them. When in Oregon and Washington however, I will enjoy them with butter every time I find them. Thanks for the comment hartack.

      • the angel wings in Japan must be different from the ones in the PNW – I have eaten angel wings for years here and have had no adverse reactions. And, yes, sometimes in large quantities at once because dredged in flour and fried they are like little mushroom chips. You can’t eat just one :)

        • Totally agree Karin!

    • Hartack,
      Do you have a source for that incident? I would like to share it with my regional mushroom group. Thank you.

  • […] all kinds of delicious species of edible mushrooms from the wild; Chanterelles, Morels, Hedgehogs, Angel Wings, and […]

  • I tried to sauté these angel wings and they turned gray some of them.
    ANy thoughts on that. Is it normal? Seem to taste good but not too pretty.

    • Hmm… I wonder if they were just older or more water logged? Not sure exactly, but I’ve seen the same thing happen before occasionally.

  • On another not I too have a hard time telling the difference between oyster mushrooms and angel wing mushrooms

    • They do look similar. Oysters are typically more meaty and thicker though. They tend to grow on different trees too…. oysters more often on deciduous, and angels more on evergreen (fir especially).

  • I harvested about 2 pounds of angel wings today in Wrangell, Alaska and when i got home i washed them lightly and placed them in my dehydrator as i do with a few other mushrooms i pick and they started turning black is that ok or are they not any good anymore I have never had this happen with other mushrooms before

    • Hmmm…I’ve never tried to dry them before. Turning black doesn’t sound very appetizing. Sorry to hear that. Try freezing the rest. They keep very well in the freezer, and smell intoxicating when you open them up!

  • Picked about 3 pounds this week end on my property near Cadillac MI. Brought about a pound home 2 weeks ago and dried them. They are very early this year, going back up next week end and hope to find more. At this rate, I’ll have enough to last the winter just in time for the oyster mushrooms.

  • [...] sign I had that it was going to be a good day was this beautiful flush of oysters, of the white “angel’s wing” variety,  just across the road from our dining hall.  In fact, it was one of several flushes of [...]

  • [...] enough berries and peas to nibble. On the way back we found more mushrooms. This time there were Angel Wings (they looked like oysters to me). Our host was a bit worried about us eating those. She actually [...]

  • It should be noted that a percentage of people are allergic to the Angel Wing mushrooms and while there have been no reported deaths in the U.S. there have been 59 cases of people getting sick and 18 fatalities related to consumption of this species in Japan. All patients were elderly and it has been hypotesized that the deaths were related to consumptions of large amounts and compromised kidney function in the unfortunate victims (

    I found these mushrooms as described by the author (quite delicious with a slightly sweet aroma and sweet mossy taste), however my partner experienced quite significant GI cramps for 12 hours commencing within an hour or so of our consumption. Based upon her reaction, I would highly recommend eating only a small test amount first to see how you react. This is good basic advice when eating any new species you haven’t consumed before.

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