Deer Mushroom

Fawn Mushroom, Shield Pluteus, Deer Shield

Pluteus cervinus

This page may contain affiliate links.
Read our disclosure and privacy policy here.

The Deer Mushroom, scientifically known as Pluteus cervinus, is a commonly found mushroom that grows on decaying wood. It belongs to the Pluteaceae family and is often recognized by its unique appearance which somewhat resembles the coat of a deer.

Deer Mushroom

Common Name
Deer Mushroom

Other Names

Fawn Mushroom, Shield Pluteus, Deer Shield

Latin Name

Pluteus cervinus


Widely distributed across North America, Europe, and other parts of the world.


The cap of the Deer Mushroom is convex, becoming flatter with age. It has a smooth texture, and its color can range from pale brown to dark brown, often with a radial gradient. The gills underneath the cap are free from the stem and are initially white but become pink as the spores mature.


The cap diameter usually ranges from 4 to 12 cm


Found growing on decaying wood, particularly logs, stumps, and other woody debris.


Saprotrophic, meaning it feeds on decaying organic matter.


As a fungus, its lifecycle involves spore germination. When the conditions are right, these germinated spores form a mycelial network which then gives rise to the mushroom (the fruiting body). This mushroom releases pink spores, which then spread and start the lifecycle over again.

Defense Mechanisms

Although the Deer Mushroom is generally considered edible, it doesn’t have any specific known toxins as a defense mechanism. As always, foragers must ensure correct identification, as many mushrooms can be easily confused with toxic varieties.

Ecological Importance

Deer Mushrooms play a vital role in breaking down and decomposing wood, helping in nutrient recycling within the ecosystem.

Conservation Status

Not classified as threatened; it is a common species.
Let's Go Avocado Team

There’s a lot to explore right where we are, in our own neighborhoods and backyards! Join us while we get off the couch and explore the everyday wonders of nature, science, space, engineering, art, and anything else we stumble upon during on our adventures.

More Posts: