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Are the Mushrooms in Your Yard Dangerous?

Source: Slate

Mushrooms may be a delectable pizza popping, but some fungi can actually be dangerous. Certain mushrooms growing in your own backyard can pose a hazard if ingested. Toadstools, a fruiting form of mushroom, can be found sprouting above ground or in soil. The underground roots of the fungi thrive in environments that consist of decaying wood, old tree roots, or old lumber that becomes inadvertently buried in your lawn over time.

The fungi typically decompose the wood just by existing – and once that happens their food source is depleted and the mushrooms will no longer grow in that area. Toadstools may be annoying, but they don’t pose a permanent threat. Since they eventually deplete their own food source, these mushrooms are only brief intruders on your property. As mushrooms feed off of organic matter, it seems like they can pop up virtually anywhere. Most of them only pose a threat if they are consumed, as many mushrooms are poisonous. A select few are capable of being harmful to other plants, depending on the variety of mushroom that grows.

If a mushroom sprouts out from a potted plant, it could mean that tree bark is part of the soil mix. Trees are what mushrooms thrive on. Some mushrooms grow in clusters, while others have been spotted all on their own. When it comes to mushrooms being dangerous, the general rule is to never eat any fungi found in the wild. If kids or pets ingest mushrooms that are out in the yard, it’s important to remove the fungi immediately to avoid further incidents. Some mushrooms are deadly if ingested, so seeking proper health care is essential when a person or pet eats a nefarious mushroom.

It’s helpful to understand the different kinds of mushrooms that may grow in your yard. Mushrooms in the Agaric family can be edible, but some can also be toxic. They have a signature white cap and a short stem. Unless you’re a mushroom expert, it’s not worth trying to distinguish whether or not an Agaric mushroom is worthy of eating given the potential risks. But a solid tip to determine whether the mushroom is safe or dangerous is to smell it. Edible Agarics have a pleasant aroma, while toxic Agarics have a foul odor.

Boletes mushrooms are grown with short, thick stems. To understand whether or not it’s dangerous, check if the mushroom has any red markings anywhere on its stem or cap. If not, another method is to cut it in half and see if the inside turns blue. If red or blue are present anywhere on or inside the mushroom, it is toxic. Otherwise, Boletes are typically unproblematic. Milkcap mushrooms have a longer stem and are usually toxic.

Mushrooms are such fascinating fungi. Aside from being potentially dangerous if eaten, mushrooms won’t do much damage to your garden overall. They may be a bit unsightly, but mushrooms can even be beneficial to gardens in some cases. The presence of mushrooms can accelerate the growth rate of plants and can improve the quality of the soil.


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