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Do Black Trumpets Have Lookalikes?

If you’re new to foraging for mushrooms, then you probably know that learning to identify them properly is the most important skill you can develop. With that in mind, you’ve come here looking to learn how to identify black trumpet mushrooms, which you’ve heard are a choice edible that grow well in hardwood forests and woodland regions. So, do black trumpets have lookalikes, and are any of them poisonous? Read on to find out more!

3 Mushrooms that Look Like Black Trumpets

According to experts, black trumpets have no deadly lookalikes, which makes them an excellent choice for beginning mushroom hunters. For that matter, they don’t have many lookalikes at all–black trumpets are extremely unique in appearance, which makes them very easy to identify.

That said, if you have never hunted mushrooms before and you’re not highly familiar with them, there are a few species that you may confuse with the black trumpet. Let’s take a look at those below.

1. Devil’s Urn

Devil’s Urn
Devil’s Urn

The devil’s urn is the only mushroom considered a true black trumpet lookalike, though the two mushroom varieties are rather easy to tell apart if you know what you’re looking for.

First off, devil’s urn mushrooms grow in the spring, while black trumpets make their appearance later on in the summer. 

Both types of mushrooms are dark gray to black in color, and both commonly grow in small clusters. But devil’s urn mushrooms are more tube-like and almost look like small dark pots, while black trumpets have fluted, rolled-back caps and look more like bugles sticking out of the ground.

The devil’s urn is technically edible, but it doesn’t taste as good as the black trumpet and isn’t commonly hunted for its food value. Black trumpets have a unique, rich, smoky flavor that is unlike other mushrooms, and many mushroom lovers claim you have to taste it to understand it.

Again, you should never have to worry about confusing these two mushrooms as long as you know when to hunt for black trumpets. Save your foraging excursions for July and August and you will be unlikely to come across any devil’s urn mushrooms.

2. Chanterelle

Chanterelle
Chanterelle

Chanterelle mushrooms look almost identical to black trumpets, at least in shape. In fact, their shapes are so similar that black trumpets are frequently referred to as black chanterelles.

Both chanterelles and black trumpets have wavy, rolled-back caps and funnel-shaped bodies. Both may grow in small clusters, though they often grow singly or in small scattered groups of two or three as well.

Not only do they look similar, but chanterelles and black trumpets have similar flavors, and both grow during the mid to late summer. So, how are you supposed to tell them apart?

Chanterelles and black trumpets have one major difference: black trumpets are always black or dark gray, while chanterelles come in a wide variety of bright colors.

Yellow is the most common chanterelle color, but there are also white, orange, red, and blue varieties. Even among these varieties, they may take on different shades of white, orange, red, and blue depending on soil nutrients, moisture levels, and other environmental factors.

Of course, even if you do end up confusing chanterelles and black trumpets, there’s no real harm in this. Like black trumpets, chanterelles are a choice edible and are frequently sought after in their own right.

Since they grow during the same season and in many of the same areas, some foragers will harvest and cook black trumpets and chanterelles together. The unique shapes of both mushrooms and the bright colors of the chanterelles make for some pretty colorful dishes!

3. Entoloma

Entoloma
Entoloma

Most entoloma mushrooms look completely different from black trumpets; they typically have narrow, conical stems and smooth, umbrella-like caps. That said, there are many different varieties and colors of entoloma, and some may be more easily confused with black trumpets than others.

In the forum link above, the entoloma pictured is dark gray to black and has a more funnel-shaped cap. Its spore print is also similar to that of a black trumpet, as the spores of both mushrooms are pinkish to nearly salmon in color.

That said, a closer inspection reveals that the entoloma has distinctive and well-defined gills while black trumpets have smoother, less well-defined ridges. Black trumpets are also less shapely than entolomas, as they typically have a more wrinkled appearance.

The biggest difference is that black trumpets look more like bugles, while entolomas look more like umbrellas.

Again, there are many varieties of entoloma, and not all of them are edible–though they are not considered deadly, many of them can cause unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms.

For that reason, if you are new to foraging and there is any doubt in your mind about the identity of a mushroom you find, have it checked by a more experienced forager before eating it.   

Conclusion

Black trumpets are tasty edible mushrooms with few lookalikes, so if you’re new to foraging, you might want to start by searching for this species.

That said, be aware that they are sometimes confused with the edible devil’s urn and chanterelle mushrooms, as well as the sometimes-poisonous entoloma, so if you’re not completely sure what types of mushrooms you are harvesting, have them identified by an experienced forager before eating them.

The best way to avoid misidentifying mushrooms is to familiarize yourself with how they look. The following video will help you learn to properly identify black trumpets.

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