A couple of weeks ago, I was pulling into the driveway and noticed some new additions to the yard.
They’re big – the fully open ones were about 6-10 inches across.
The mushrooms were so large, striking, and graceful that even one of our neighbors commented on them. We all wondered if they were good to eat, but no one was going to try anything. I’m no mushroom expert*, but my father does know mushrooms somewhat and he taught me all throughout childhood the cardinal rule of mushroom hunting: do not eat anything without being 100% certain of the identification. I grew up in rural Virginia where wild mushrooms were fairly plentiful and remember clearly his warnings and stories about a single mushroom in a stew being able to poison an entire family. Even if we weren’t planning to eat them, however, getting an ID was worthwhile. The mushrooms were growing right next to the sidewalk, easy for picking or curious dogs to take a bite.
I called my dad and sent him photos. We quickly eliminated the entire branch amanitas, responsible for some of the more deadly poisonous mushrooms as these lacked a volva at the bottom.
With some research and Dad’s guidance, I found an article on the false parasol, also known as the green-spored lepiota or chlorophyllum molybdites. We both concurred that this was the most likely identification and there was a final test that could confirm it pretty strongly: a spore print that produced green/gray spores on paper.
The green-spored lepiota is poisonous, but not generally deadly. It produces severe vomiting/diarrhea (that can cause dangerous dehydration) in humans and apparently can be fatal to dogs. Living in a neighborhood full of small people and dogs, it was an easy call to carefully pull them up and dispose of them. They’ve come back once already after a heavy rain and we’ll have to keep watching.
This post is a part of Microblog Mondays. If you want to read more or participate, please head over to Stirrup Queens! Thanks to Mel for originating and hosting.
*Disclaimer: I am not an expert whatsoever in mushroom identification and can’t be responsible for identification of whether or not something is poisonous. This 100% is not a way of determining whether something you choose to eat is safe – make sure you know your stuff well and consult an expert in real life because correct ID can literally mean the difference between life and death.