Entoloma Abortivum: The Shrimp of the Woods Mushroom

Entoloma abortivum is quite an unusual but common mushroom, and unlike all members of the Entoloma genus, it is also edible mushroom. First identified and named Clitopilus abortivus it was later given its current name Entoloma abortivum in 1949 by Marinus Anton Donk. It is most commonly referred to as Shrimp of the woods – due to its shrimp-like texture and lastly it’s sometimes called Aborted Entoloma, arising from its shape. These names will be used interchangeably throughout this article.

Entoloma abortivum is a fascinating species of fungus as it produces two types of fruiting bodies: a canopy/umbrella form of a mushroom with gills, in addition to an ‘aborted’ form that is oddly shaped. It was first thought that the lumps had been aborted from the mushroom; however, this has since been debated and argued amongst mushroom experts. There are several schools of thought: one being that the Armillaria species (honey mushrooms) was associated with the ‘aborted’ mass and it was thought this mycoparasite was causing the abnormal formation the so-called ‘carpophoroid’. This was based on the fact Armillaria already parasitized several types of tree roots (Reviewed by [1.]). An alternative argument was that the carpophoroid is Armillaria basidiomes, parasitized by the Entoloma abortivum [2.]. This idea gained traction in the early 2000s and is generally accepted now. The Entoloma abortivum in effect, is a parasite of a parasite, creating ecological diversity. However, in contrast to this definition, it is also a decomposer of leafy forestry litter on the floor.

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Entoloma Abortivum Identification and Description

Cap: Gray and may have brown tones. The cap starts as convex with margins that roll in, as it develops, it becomes flatter. Spongy white flesh, with pink or brown marbling; up to 10cm tall and 10cm in diameter.
Gills: Non aborted fruit bodies: white but turning pinker with maturity. Gills may be decurrent and may only be attached to the stem.
Stem: Central but may be off center. Gray with brownish tones like the cap and has a bulb-like base. Smooth stem but sometimes delicate hairy-like structures.
Smell: Pleasant, described as mild-strongly mealy.
Taste: Mealy.
Spores: Angular.
Spore color: Pink
Edibility: Edible. These mushrooms are difficult to clean, so be prepared to eat grit also.
Habitat: Found fruiting on the ground; near dead or decaying wood. Will grow in clusters usuall late summer through to autumn. Frequently found where honey mushrooms (Armillaria) are growing or have grown previously. Found to the Eastern North American mountains.
Class: Agaricomycetes; Order: Agaricales; Family: Entolomataceae; Genus: Entoloma and Species: Entoloma abortivum.

Entoloma Abortivum Look-Alikes

There are poisonous species of Entoloma such as Entoloma sinuatum so one must be very cautious when eating these mushrooms.  Be absolutely certain before consumption as individual Entoloma species may be challenging to identify. Both aborted and non-aborted forms of Entoloma abortivum can be consumed, or for beginners, it would be best to pick only the aborted fruiting bodies. To be sure it is preferable to identify the presence of the honey mushroom in the vicinity (due to their parasitic relationship).

Entoloma Abortivum Dosage

A literature review of Entoloma abortivum has not revealed any dosage limitations.

Entoloma Abortivum Toxicity, Safety & Side Effects

A literature review of Entoloma abortivum has not revealed any indications of of toxicity or side-effects.


  1. Fukuda, M., et al., Identification of the biological species of Armillaria associated with Wynnea and Entoloma abortivum using PCR-rFLP analysis of the intergenic region (IGR) of ribosomal DNA. Mycol Res, 2003. 107(Pt 12): p. 1435-41.
  2. Czederpiltz, D.L.L., T.J. Volk, and H.H. Burdsall, Field observations and inoculation experiments to determine the nature of the carpophoroids associated with Entoloma abortivum and Armillaria. Mycologia, 2001. 93(5): p. 841-851.



3 thoughts on “Entoloma Abortivum: The Shrimp of the Woods Mushroom”

  1. I found what I believe to be shrimp of the woods. Found non aborted type grey with rounded cap and gills.. the aborted specimens I found had what appeared to be water droplets collected even with no rain for a couple days.
    Checked on them during different times of the day and they were still present. I found them in the ground against a cedar and on a decaying popular log.
    Is that normal? I just haven’t found any other mention of droplets.

    • Maybe they were already getting old. Did they appear very squishy or look buggy or real brown? They could also collect dew if its just in a very moist location

  2. The shrimp of the woods mushrooms in the aborted stage ate delicious. In the first few days after they emerge is the best time to pick them but not the first day. They need time to grow. If a good rain comes they will be bountiful. I picked easily 10+ pounds. This is the third year of eating them. They are a delicacy. I saw the water forming in small droplets in the crevices of the mushrooms. It had a clear greenish color.


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