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Plantidote of the Day 2012-05-15

twig's picture


Magic mushroom

The magic part is that it popped up out of nowhere a day or two ago. I guess that's what fungus does, but this one isn't like the other little brown mushroomy things that turn up occasionally. This one doesn't have a stem. It's just a little round thing growing up out of the soil.

Actually, it might have a stem way underneath, but I don't want to disturb it. That intricate pattern of little "windows" on the surface is just too interesting. If anyone knows about fungi and recognizes this one, I'd love to know what it is and what's going on with it.


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NWLuna's picture
Submitted by NWLuna on

or Shaggy Lepiota, also called Shaggy Parasol. A young one, and it'll grow up and out, showing a stalk and a veil on the cap's underside which then breaks off to form a double-edged rink on stalk. They are tasty! Excellent lightly sauted or grilled. Great pizza topping.

But to make sure --
What region are you in?
How big is the cap? When mature the cap should be at least 3" across.
Stains orange-rust-reddish when cut or bruised.
White gills
Stalk w/out scales
White spores. Place cap gills down on pieces of overlapping white and black paper, so you can see the print regardless of color. Place bowl or glass over to protect from breezes. Wait anywhere from a few hours to overnight for spores to fall, then check. Obviously the mushroom cap can't be picked before the veil breaks off.
If green spores, is Chlorophyllum molybdites, which is poisonous. C. molybdites is not supposed to grow north of central CA.

Some few unlucky folks get GI upset from it, so eat a small portion first.

They are usually gregarious and fruit repeatedly in the same spot. There's a patch of L rachodes that fruits every fall on the U of W campus, where I've had the pleasure of harvesting repeatedly.

Some links:

Excellent books: Arora, David. All That the Rain Promises and More...
McKenny & Stuntz, Ammirati rev.: The New Savory Wild Mushroom
or contact the local mycological society.

I know, TMI!

Submitted by lambert on

Thanks so much!

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

at all. I just never expected anyone to recognize it, and you not only know what it is but have all sorts of details, too. I am so impressed, seriously!

I need to go build a fence around that little thing -- it's right in the path where we go out to the backyard. Yikes! But back to the mushroom -- I'm in Zone 10 (LA), and it is about 1 1/2" across right now.

This is so exciting!! Thanks again!!

NWLuna's picture
Submitted by NWLuna on

If you're a fungophile like me, you'll leave the spot alone as that one grows and in the hopes that more sprout! If you cut the mushroom off right below the base -- try to get all the bulb part, a bit under the soil/mulch, and don't dig in the area, they should reoccur around the same time next year. Sometimes they'll fruit in flushes for 2-4 times. If the weather is just right, of course.


Submitted by lambert on

... do you have pictures and tips to share?

I haven't posted as much on gardening this year as in last years, but anything that enriches life and the soil I'd like to hear about....

Adding, cue the Shaggy Lepiota jokes?

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

I did discover earlier today that it does have a stem. I'd like to just dig it up and put in a pot, where it'll be safer. But since I know nothing about fungi, would that dumb or dumberer?

btw, are you a fan of morels? There were a lot of them growing in the woods when I was a kid -- ZOMG, the best mushrooms ever!!

NWLuna's picture
Submitted by NWLuna on

Yeah, more than a few puns came to mind when looking at the common names for this mushroom and thinking about UK slang.

"Transplanting" probably wouldn't work. Mushrooms sprout from mycelium, a fungal webby substance interwoven with the soil, sometimes associated with tree roots and often going quite a ways out horizontally below ground. These mycelia patches may live for a week or for centuries, sending up the reproductive parts -- mushrooms -- when conditions are right. So you can see it's hard to tell how much to move. I don't know what L rachodes needs. A university mycologist may know. Quite inconvenient of it to sprout right there!

Morels -- yes, they grow up here in the Pacific NW, but are not as common as in other parts of the country. Oddly enough, a few times I have found morels growing in the backyards of the last two houses I've lived in here in Seattle. Next to decomposing wood/bark. This spring, nothing, but I did some planting close by and may have disturbed the mycelia :-( Taste-wise, I'm not as fond of them as I am of chanterelles, or of the L. rachodes.

Pictures -- Well, thank you, yes, I do have some wild mushroom pics. Also city-gardening pics. Let me see what might work, with short tips or comments. I have very irregular posting ability over the next few more weeks -- I am finishing up my doctoral program, and working 1/2 time, and feeling grad-school last-quarter panic!

Much fun chatting re: growing things, to counter political affective disorder.

Submitted by lambert on

But after that, I got nuthin'

I understand about being busy. OTOH, you could shot twig a few pics.

And on the third hand, well, "mycelial mat" makes my heart go pit-a-pat.