Large, orangish yellow, with a ring on the stalk. Grows in clusters on stumps and trunks, on ground, or over buried wood. August–October. Cap convex; orangish yellow to fawn; texture smooth with minute scales. Gills broad; light yellow to rust; spacing crowded; gills attached. Stalk with equal sides or club-shaped; light yellow to ocher; covered with tiny fibers; has a ring. Partial veil thin and fibrous, pale yellow, leaving a line or zone on the stalk. Spore print orange to rust. Spores magnified are oval to elliptical, wrinkled. Odor like anise; taste (chew on a tiny piece of cap, then spit it out) bitter.
Lookalikes: Honey mushroom (Armillaria mellea) is honey-colored with a white spore print. Ringless honey mushroom (A. tabescens) is honey-colored with a white spore print, but has no ring. Jack-o’-lantern (Omphalotus illudens) lacks a veil and has a whitish-cream spore print. Deadly galerina (Galerina autumnalis) is smaller and browner.