Thursday

Tom B sent How to Beat the Heat

See what I found in my yard…

In my younger days I did a lot of shrooming. I’ve eaten probably 15 or so species of wild mushrooms that I’ve found. Some are ok, but some are really delicious. People always worry that you might get a poison one, and that’s true. But if you are careful and obey some very basic rules and never take a chance, the chances are slim that you’ll die. Now this particular mushroom looks very suspicious. At first I thought it was an Amanita, most of which are deadly. When I was in high school I did a biology term paper on the Amanita Phalloides, otherwise known as the Death Angel. (I’ve always a little outr√©) I’ve heard that that people who eat the Death Angel say it’s delicious. But this particular mushroom isn’t an Amanita. To identify a mushroom you will need a good field guide. I’ve used the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms for 40 years or so. I have a couple other guides, but the Audubon is the best. There are also a couple apps which can often identify mushrooms by their pictures. My mushroom, here, is a Green-spored Lepiota, aka False Parasol, scientific name Chlorophyllum molybdites. There are characteristics that help you identify a particular specimen – the shape of the cap, the length and width of the stipe (stalk), the nature of the gills or tubes or pores etc. Once you narrowed down the mushroom to a few possibilities, the final determination can be made by taking a spore print.

I’ve put the cap gills down on both a white paper and a black paper. This is because if the spores are white or very light, you will be able to see the print on the black paper, and if the spores are darker, you will see them on the white paper. After leaving it over night this was the result:

I’ve circled the faint grey-green spore print. The print would be fuller if the cap had been more mature. Also notice that the gills have turned grey-green, just as described in the field guide. The mushroom is definitely a Chlorophyllum molybdites. If you decide to eat this guy, you may not die, but you definitely will be very, very sick.

 

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