Field of Science

June showers bring mushrooms

What with all the rain it was only a matter of time before some flash flooding occurred.  Wait, OK, maybe, but it was really only a matter of time before some summer fungi appeared especially after these heavy, warm rainfalls. Fall is really the best time for fungus, although the locals who only think in terms of morels think spring is mushroom season. Although TPP is greatly out of practice, this particular summer mushroom was not hard to identify. First, it's big. Before the cap expands it's round and the diameter of a baseball.  Fully expanded the cap is a hand span wide. These mushrooms tend to pop up conspicuously in lawns in fairy rings, which shows you the diameter of the mycelium, the fungal body beneath. These were growing in a small ring some 12-15 feet in diameter.  This mushroom is called Chlorophyllum molybdites, the green-gilled parasol, although really it doesn't look green at all although the gills get a greenish-gray cast as they mature. Especially when young, these look a great deal like Lepiota procera, the parasol mushroom, which is supposedly excellent eating. Not so the green-gilled mushroom, and TPP recommends you leave this one for people who know their mushrooms, but people don't heed such warnings so this species is responsible for more mushroom poisonings than any other. Perhaps that's because not everyone gets sick, although some people get seriously ill, and everyone else just has vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. TPP knows of no way to tell where you fall on the reaction spectrum other than the time-honored method of determining edibility: trial and error. No thank you; there are plenty of less iffy things to eat. 

No comments: