Saturday, October 25, 2008

Superb lawnshrooms

We visited someone in Vancouver today. She has a wonderful lawn, full of mushrooms. Oh, how excellent.

I don't know a lot about mushrooms. (In the whole world, perhaps six or seven people do, and most of those are professors long-emeriti.) I don't like eating them, either. So I consider irrelevant the inevitable, unimaginative question, "Is it poisonous?"

Maybe. Maybe your shoe is poisonous if you eat it. Just love mushrooms for being mushrooms.

My best guess for this first batch is Fairy Ring Mushrooms, Marasmius oreades. Considered by many a lawn pest. Edible? Maybe.

More of the same, I think, but older and rangier. They leap upon each other like victorious baseball players (World Series footage is on TV as I type).

No clue, although they look rather ordinary. I flipped through three mushroom field guides three times and saw nothing like them. Edible? Maybe!

More of the same, I suspect. Edible? Maybe not!

Here, I'm guessing, a Lepiota of some sort. Edible? Perhaps. Or not. Here's what McKenny and Stuntz (1996: 79) say of our regional Lepiotas: "The Pacific Northwest has a variety of small- to medium-sized species of Lepiota. Identification of species is difficult, and certain ones, such as Lepiota clypeolaria and L. rubrotincta, are reported as poisonous, the latter causing gastrointestinal upset. In addition, some species, such as Lepiota helveola, are known to be deadly. Avoid all of them." So there.

Tiny buttons, perhaps deadly, perhaps gastrointestinally irritating (if you eat them--why you would, well, I have no idea) of same Lepiota sp. (unless I am wrong, which is entirely possible, see paragraph 2). The shiny silver thing in the middle is a Canadian four-cent piece. A week ago it was called a nickel and was worth five cents. At least the mushrooms are getting bigger.

Infant mushroom up close. Potential death-bomb? Maybe.

And then this. Like a herd of bison, massive, majestic boletes take over the area beneath a Douglas Fir. The tree association leads me to believe them to be either Suillus caerulescens (first guess) or S. lakei.

Large ones encourage and comfort younger ones. "Don't worry. Probably no one will eat you, because although you may be edible, you may also cause gastrointestinal upset."


McKenny, M. and D.E. Stuntz. 1996. The New Savory Wild Mushroom. Greystone Books. 249 pp.


kompoStella said...

you don't like eating mushrooms?!? i don't think i've come across that before... not even the regular mushroom you buy in any grocery?
nice pictures. i love pics of shrooms, as you know :-) and i especially like the ones taken from directly above as they tend to grow in pretty patterns.

and what's happened to canadian coins?? as usual, the us is all over the media here but there's never a word of canada :-(

swamp4me said...

You started my day with a smile - I appreciate that. You had me going there for a minute with the "four-cent piece." Found myself thinking "...those crazy Canadians." Now I think I will go prepare a nice, and perhaps edible, mushroom omelet.

cedrorum said...

LOL, I loved this post. I've got a step-brother who is an incurable wild mushroom freak. He is the type that's sole purpose will sometimes be to go get some wild "edible mushrooms" to cook up. Like you, I've never partaken myself.

BerryBird said...

I do enjoy mushrooms, but only have the skill level and confidence to harvest five wild species: shaggy manes, puffballs, chicken-of-the-woods, morels, and oyster mushrooms. You've got a wonderful variety there, a couple LBMs for sure. I learned the term LBM from a mycologist -- I think birders have a similar term for little brown birds.

Vasha said...

Actually, the poison content of lawn mushrooms does matter if you've got a puppy or a toddler that puts everything in their mouth. See this post. But I don't know what good it does to worry about fungi -- you can't get rid of them, after all. Just teach your kids not to eat them as soon as you can, I guess.

Hugh said...


Well, I eat mushrooms now and then, but they're not a favourite. The coin refers to the differential between the Canadian and US dollars. They were at near-par until recently. Then the US dollar strapped itself to a lawn chair rigged up with Helium-filled weather balloons and cut the string. The Canadian dollar is left on the ground, watching it go up, up, up.

Swampy, enjoy your omelet, maybe.

Cedrorum, I know people like that too. Perhaps its the same thrill as eating fugu.

Yes, BB. LBBs. Some call them LBJs.

Good points, Vasha.