Toadstool vs Mushroom: What Are the Differences?


Fungi are one of the most diverse forms of life on Earth, with an estimated 2.2-3.8 million species recorded. Commonly known fungus types are molds, mushrooms, and toadstools.
Even scientists often disagree on what characterizes toadstool vs mushroom. Many people use the terms interchangeably.

Toadstool vs Mushroom - What Are the Differences

If you aren’t sure how to tell what is a toadstool and what is a mushroom, this article is for you. Read on for our complete mushroom guide!

Toadstool vs Mushroom: Is There a Difference?

In truth, telling the difference between toadstool and mushroom can be a bit difficult since the difference isn’t clear.

However, there are types of mushrooms that people commonly refer to as toadstools. Characteristics like appearance and toxicity are typical ways to differentiate the two.

Because of the lack of clarity, the scientific community rarely uses the word “toadstool” categorically. However, there are some cultural cues we can use to tell them apart.

Which One Can You Eat?

Of course, certain kinds of mushrooms make excellent pizza toppings and even vegetarian meat substitutes. Others can cause powerful hallucinations, illness, or even death.

Edible mushrooms, especially those with adaptogenic properties, can have many health benefits. Read about adaptogenic mushrooms to learn more about the ways they can improve your health.

People started calling certain mushrooms toadstools because they thought the species was toxic. The association with toads came from the fact that the animals can carry disease.

Mushrooms and Toadstools: Appearance

Mushrooms and toadstools are types of fungi that produce a fruiting body. Common places to find.

Most edible mushrooms, which wouldn’t be considered toadstools, are white or brown. Toadstools, on the other hand, come in a variety of colors. Their caps can be red and even have spots.

Apart from color, another way to distinguish mushrooms and toadstools is their shape. While both have a narrow base and wide cap, The bottom surface of the cap varies widely.

The underside of a mushroom’s cap produces spores and can have pores, gills, teeth-like protrusions, or ridges. Some edible mushrooms have gills, but they are a common feature of the inedible toadstool.

Telling Toadstools and Mushrooms Apart in the Wild

Toadstools can sometimes have distinctive visual features that help identify them. However, other factors like size, stem color, pores, and smell are just as important.

Only an expert can know for sure if a mushroom is safe to eat. A lab assessment is the safest way to clear a mushroom for consumption.

Anywhere you find mushrooms growing is as likely to have toxic mushrooms as edible ones.

Mushrooms and Toadstools: Similar But Different

Whether you’re just curious or getting into foraging, this toadstool guide should help you settle the toadstool vs mushroom debate. Toadstools are a type of mushroom, and usually a catch-all term for toxic mushrooms.

Though toadstools usually have a distinctive appearance, they can also resemble edible mushrooms. Be sure to check out our blog page to learn more about other fascinating topics!


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