Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest
The fawn mushroom is widely distributed and common in the Pacific Northwest. It is fairly easily recognized by its growth on wood, its free gills that begin whitish but soon become pink, its brownish cap, and its medium size. It is not picky about what kind of wood it grows on, nor is it very picky about when it will fruit, appearing from spring to fall and even in winters here on outer coast.
The fawn mushroom’s common name is not a reference to its brown colors or woodland habitat, nor a suggestion that it is a favored food for deer, instead, it is a recognition that this mushroom has antlers. You will need a microscope to see them, but there are special cells on the gills that are horned with two or more projections at the tip. Although observing this feature is probably not required to identify the mushroom successfully.
The cap can be up to 14 cm wide, and the color can be from pale to dark brown and sometimes it can be black. It is smooth and glossy but streaked with fibers and can be slightly sticky when wet.
The gills are not attached to the stem and they are white but become pink as they mature and finally turn a deep flesh color. The stalk is up to 15 cm tall and can be up to 2.5 cm thick, more or less the same size from top to bottom but sometimes can be slightly larger at the base. It is white but becomes streaked with brownish fibers. The flesh is soft and white throughout. They taste mildly radish like and they tend to smell like wet dirt. The spore print is pink to pinkish brown. They are quite tasty.