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Can I eat these mushrooms that came up in my yard?

  • t

What kind of mushrooms are theses and are they safe to eat? If so, are they any good?

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  1. Until someone more knowledgeable answers, check out this site and see what it comes up with!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lixer

      Awesome site LIxer, but couldn't find info about being edible or not. The best match I found using the site is: genus Rustgill (Gymnopilus)

      1. re: tulio

        Yeah, I wouldn't trust my own observations to help me figure out if they're edible or not. Maybe take them to a local university to get them checked out so you'll know for when they come up again?

    2. Only after you make absolutely sure via a trustworthy mycologist that they will not kill you. From the top the yellow ones look like chanterelles, but they are not. Chanterelles have lines (gills?) that go down the stem, not the distinct separation between the cap and stem that you have.

      1. 1. Nobody is going to make a decision like that based on pictures--at least, nobody who has your best interests at heart.

        2. If you are interested in eating wild mushrooms, you need to find a class, or a knowledgeable person, or, at the very minimum, buy some good mushroom guide books. Don't just glance at the pictures and say, "Oh, that looks like it." A good ID book will have a chapter or two on HOW to identify mushrooms--magnifying glasses, spore prints and even some chemicals may come into the process. And they will mention look-alikes--deadly mushrooms that resemble edible ones.

        3. There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are NO old, bold mushroom hunters.

        1. I would say no just to be on the safe side. i used to go mushroom foraging for chantrelles in santa cruz but with a friend who studied mycology. we then sold them to stores and saved some for ourselves. please do not just eat them. you could really kill yourself.

          1. I'm with the "don't eat 'em unless you get an expert to look at 'em" camp.

            I had great ideas of gently skipping through the forests of France with my straw basket over my arm, harvesting baskets of wild mushrooms.

            I bought a book and began to page through it.

            At about 1/3 of the way through the book I realized that I'm pretty happy just buying them at the market from someone who actually knows what the hell they're doing.

            1. My roommate is an amateur mycologist, we eat mushrooms he brings hom all the time and they are delicious! Based on what I've seen him bring home I would say they're edible, but I will ask him to have a look tomorrow.

              In the meantime, you could also ask the folks at shroomery.org.

              1. Yack. SO not worth it to find out they're not all right the hard way. Find a certified mycologist, and for the love of everything holy, be safe. :)

                1. they may be perfectly harmless and they may be deadly.
                  don't take the chance it's not worth the worry or worse.
                  buy some nice shrooms at the farmers market.

                  1. I would say no, no, no, and then I'd probably say 'No, absolutely not, please do not do this!'.
                    The likelihood that something that came up in your yard is one of the revered mushrooms people forage for is slim. It is more likely a poisonous shroom, even if it looks attractive to you.
                    People FORAGE for mushrooms. They wait for the perfect weather conditions, they will travel some distance and they generally don't want to tell you where their secret spot is. If it was so easy to pick the mushrooms coming up in your yard, the foraging practice would be a little different, I think.
                    I've been obsessively lifting the dirt and pulling out all the mushrooms coming up in my beds this year (funny cooler, damp summer here), especially after I found my new kitten playing with one. I found him with it in his mouth, and then I had to observe him for the next several hours.
                    I-chihuahua, too scary.

                      1. I pick a lot of wild mushrooms but the ones in your pictures are nothing that I am familiar with. They are DEFINITELY not chanterelles. Without a proper examination, spore print, etc., etc. it's impossible to identify them with any certainty. DO NOT EAT THEM. If you're really interested in learning more, like others have suggested, take a mycology course or bring the sample to an expert. This is no time to be bold and fearless.

                        1. A widow was on a date with a new man and told him she had been widowed three times. My goodness he says what happened to your 3 husbands. She told him the first one had died eating poisoned mushrooms, and the second one had also died from eating poisoned mushrooms. Wow he says did the third one die from eating poisoned mushrooms too? No, she said, he died from a fractured skull, he wouldn't eat the poisoned mushrooms.

                          Anyway, I wouldn't eat them either and we have a lot growing around S Florida which look like huge Portobellos but I have no idea if they are poisonous or not.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: smartie

                            THAT was my late mother in law's favourite joke! She used to tell it whenever she had the chance. Funny...she was a widow...

                            1. re: smartie

                              I heard it with the genders reversed, no less hilarious.

                              1. The huge majority of wild mushrooms are neither toxic or pleasing to eat. Have taken two mycology courses and the main thing l have learned is never to assume, always check spores and characteristics.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                  When I was much younger and much more reckless, we used to go foraging in the rainy season for a "certain" kind of mushroom. We were generally rewarded with unusual and memorable experiences, except once we picked the wrong kind. The following 72 hours were some of the worst in my life, so I'm with the majority and say "don't do it".

                                2. If you have to ask, the answer is no!

                                  1. Have you ever seen the movie "Into the Wild"? I rest my case.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: pine time

                                      i haven't. but have you seen the clint eastwood movie "the beguiled" ? makes you want to avoid mushrooms at all cost.

                                    2. When I lived in Germany I went out with my wife to gather wild mushrooms. We came back to our apartment house with a good-sized basket of them. We asked our landlady, Frau Schmidt, if they looked to be edible. She said "they look good, but who can be sure?". We threw them out and went to the local market where there was a forager who knew what he was doing.

                                      1. Hey there,

                                        I've been foraging for wild mushrooms for many years after acing a mycology course in 1993, and so can offer you some experienced and educated advice.

                                        Foraging for wild mushrooms is a great hobby, and you will be rewarded with many delicious and exotic meals; however, as I'm sure you're aware, you can put yourself in the emergency room if you act carelessly. No need to panic; there is a process that we mushroom hunters use to stay safe and avoid an allergic reaction.

                                        Before you even think about eating any mushroom, you must obtain a positive identification. Mushroom identification can be tricky, and we can all make mistakes. To minimize the chance of hurting ourselves, we post pics of our finds on Web forums where there are some very good mycologists and professionals who are available to look at you pics, confirm an ID, and come to a consensus on a conclusive identification. The two that I use are the Shroomery and Mushroom Observer. (Note that, although the former site tends to focus on "Magic Mushrooms," the "Mushroom Hunting and Identification" sub-forum is excellent for submitting ID requests).


                                        So, the next step is to obtain some information necessary for an ID request. An ID request typically requirest the following information; some of this can get a bit technical, so just do your best to answer these questions and I will post this one for you:

                                        - Where does it grow? Eg. woods, pasture, state, province, country, altitude, etc.
                                        - What does it grow on? Eg. soil, dung, wood (dead, living, what kind of wood?), etc.
                                        - What kind of tree did you find it under?
                                        GILLS: Color, attached/not, gills/pores, etc.
                                        STEM: Length, diameter, color, texture, hollow/solid, thin/thick, etc.
                                        CAP: Diameter, color, texture, conical/spherical, convex/concave, etc.
                                        SPORE PRINT COLOR: Very important! To take a spore print, cut off the cap close to the gills, and leave it gill-side down on a sheet of paper for a few hours. It will drop spores on the paper; their color is a great help in identification.
                                        BRUISING: Color that the mushroom bruises, if any.
                                        OTHER INFORMATION: Scent of the mushroom, anything else you think is important, large close-up pictures showing stem, cap and gills.

                                        Two other relevant points:
                                        1. Store these mushrooms in a paper bag in the meantime.
                                        2. It's best to keep them cool, but don't just throw them in the fridge! Clearly mark the bag to make it clear that these are now inedible, and tell everyone not to mess with them.

                                        Finally, to those who guessed at an ID--if you're going to take a guess at an ID, make it clear that you're guessing, and never tell anyone to eat a mushroom:
                                        @tulio: They are not Gyms. One of the most important keys for gyms is the copious amounts of rust-colored spores that they drop. They also have a ring; see below:
                                        @babette feasts: They are not Chaterelles. Chants are defined by ridges on the underside of the cap, instead of gills. See below:

                                        All that being said, I'm leaning towards a Russula sp., which are notoriously difficult to identify to the species level. See the following:


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: tangoking

                                          I know, that's why I said they are not chanterelles.

                                        2. Thanks everyone. I'm definitely not going to eat them. I already through them away...

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: tulio

                                            Whew. Am I glad to read That...!

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Right? This story had only 4-5 outcomes, and only one of them was any kinda good. There's being a willing Chowhound, and there's the kind of adventurous that veers heavily in the direction of foolhardy, and this was it. I'm glad you decided to toss 'em. The odds weren't particularly in your favor, tulio.

                                            2. re: tulio

                                              Thanks for reporting back. Had you disappeared, we'd have been left wondering what happened. Glad you made a smart decision.

                                            3. God, this thread has put the retroactive fear of god into me. Like a poster above, as teens my friends and I used to forage for the 'magic' kind - none of us were experts (like, not even close) and we would pretty much ID the shrooms by going 'yeah, close enough I guess'. Never had any bad outcomes and now I feel evry lucky. Shudder.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: montrealeater

                                                Hey folks,

                                                It's been said that "a life lived in fear is a life half lived." Although it's true that some species of mushrooms can kill, as long as one forages responsibly, it is a safe hobby. Note that there were 34,000 fatal accidents in the U.S. in 2008 [ref 1]--do you shudder when you start your engine in the morning? Because for 93 people per day, it will be the last time that they turn the key. By comparison, in three years, there were two (2) deaths--TWO--from mushroom poisoning [ref 2]

                                                So, just to show you how rewarding this hobby can be, I've taken the time to post some of my favorite finds below. Some are deadly; some are delicious. Some of these are not sold in stores, and have a flavor that you've never experienced, and some will make you trip ballz. Regardless, I think that it's unfair to vilify the whole kingdom before we at least take a moment to show what a wonderful gift from God that these organisms are.


                                                1. Laetiporus sulphureus; aka "Chicken of the woods" (and a cute Canis familiaris :)
                                                2. Amanita amerimuscara nom. prov; the Mario Mushroom--a friend's find, and a huge one at that!
                                                3. Grifola frondosa, aka "Hen of the Woods"
                                                4. Amanita phalloids; aka "Death Cap." deadly toxic, and the #1 killer, probably because it's a look-alike to the paddy straw mushroom.
                                                5. Boletus frostii; aka Frost's bolete; citrusy flavor and vibrant red color
                                                6. Gymnopilus junonius/spectabilis; aka Big Laughing Gyms
                                                7. Yellow chanterelle
                                                8. Cinnabar chanterelle (How much would these cost in a French restaurant?)
                                                9. Boletus bicolor, aka bicolor bolete, showing blue bruising.
                                                10. Boletus edulis; aka King Bolete, Porcini, Cepe; retail for around $300/lb. fresh in Italy.
                                                11. Papa smurf
                                                12. A great day!

                                                1. http://www.census.gov/compendia/stata...
                                                2. http://www.cmsweb.org/articles/poison...

                                                1. re: tangoking

                                                  Just to round out the discussion, I actually got a response from "Wild Man" Steve Brill on this, and it looks like they're almond-scented mushrooms, Russula laurocerasi:
                                                  Not edible.

                                                  1. re: tangoking

                                                    Russula laurocerasi is a European species. Steve's focus is on a North American species that's pretty similar. Both are edible, if you simply parboil, then cook however you wish. I think I had posted about my own experience w/these at foraging.posterous.com.

                                                    1. re: tangoking

                                                      Wow! Thanks for sharing that. But your smurf identification skills seem to be a little rusty…

                                                      1. re: tangoking

                                                        Tangoking: "Note that there were 34,000 fatal accidents in the U.S. in 2008 [ref 1]--do you shudder when you start your engine in the morning? Because for 93 people per day, it will be the last time that they turn the key. By comparison, in three years, there were two (2) deaths--TWO--from mushroom poisoning"

                                                        Without denominators, those numbers are worthless.

                                                        34,000 deaths from vehicular collisions out of how many rides?
                                                        2 deaths from mushrooms out of how many ingestions?

                                                        I'm pretty sure many more people (by orders of magnitude) drive or are driven every day than eat wild mushrooms.

                                                    2. They look like Honey mushrooms to me. Like a few others have said, ask your local mushroom club. I don't know where you are and that makes a difference. I can tell you with a lot of certainty, they are not Death Caps or Destroying Angels, those are the killers. I have never seen anything like those in your pictures as a highly toxic species. The worst that could happen is a bad upset stomach, not paralysis or death. I am in southern Ontario, and have been foraging many times with a club of mycologists.You must ask an expert, but I am pretty sure these are safe.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: flinta

                                                        Gaah! The whole point of the best answers here is being totally diluted by a whole batch of other things! : ) At the end of the day, you made the correct decision. Mushroom-foraging should be done only by the very experienced. A mycologist would be preferable. It's dangerous otherwise....really, really dangerous.

                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                          Foraging of easy mushroom is safe for newbies who simply use the data out there. Moderately challenging ones for intermediate, and challenging ones for experts....

                                                          1. re: tangoking

                                                            Though labeled as inedible by some (for instance, http://www.rogersmushrooms.com/galler...), these are perfectly edible. Do cook thoroughly, as should be done w/certain wild mushrooms, anyway.

                                                          2. re: flinta

                                                            identifying from a picture only??? I don't think so. Yes, the worst mushrooms are incredibly deadly and will kill you slowly and horribly, but there are plenty more that may kill you depending on a number of factors including individual susceptibility - and many that will make you very, very sick. I cannot fathom looking at a picture and saying "I'm pretty sure these are safe." I'd be happy to say "I'm pretty sure that these may NOT be safe."

                                                          3. Funny to read this post today because I friend of mine just mentioned people hospitalized in NJ for eating mushrooms. http://www.trentonian.com/articles/20...
                                                            Seems like all the damp weather is causing lots of wild mushrooms to pop up. Her front lawn is covered in large mushrooms and we were jokingly discussing eating them.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Disneyfreak

                                                              Yep, while walking my dogs this morning I noticed some large mushrooms growing near a fire hydrant. Looked like portobellos.

                                                              When I was in college, some amateur foragers collected and ate some mushrooms in the Berkeley hills. Two died of liver failure, the other survived but needed a liver transplant. I am sure it is a great hobby and I love to eat mushrooms but I'd never trust something I'd picked w/o expert guidance.

                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                I saw some mushrooms growing down the street... but it would NEVER occur to me to try to try to identify them myself! I don't even entirely trust the mushrooms from the store and they're grown in sterilised bins with zero chance of something nasty getting mixed in. There are just too many ways to get yourself killed or seriously ill when you start guessing at things like that.

                                                            2. The only mushrooms that you should concentrate on are the fool-proof four/five depending on your perspective. People who post about ANY type of Amanita’s, Blue Stainer/Red Pored Boletes are being reckless. You have to understand, people who have absolutely no knowledge about wild edibles should only be presented with ones that are 99.999% safe, even still I doubt.

                                                              Foolproof Four/Five:

                                                              1- Chanterelles/Black Trumpets (oddly, I prefer these over chanties)
                                                              2- Oyster Mushrooms
                                                              3- Morels ( their are morel look-alike’s. Remember, Morels Honeycombed and Hollow)
                                                              4- Hen of the woods/Maitake etc. (their is only one that even closely resembles the hen, and its like wood)
                                                              5- Boletes (none are truely lethal, but you make be sleeping on the bowl for a couple days. Avoid all Blue Staining/Red Pored/Bitter Tasting Boletes. Some are better than others)

                                                              When in doubt, throw it out.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Fungiphile


                                                                people in some cultures safely eat Amanitas, though they may stick to just certain sections. There are easily decipherable blue staining Boletes, too. As for your list:
                                                                1. Jack 'o Lanterns are poisonous lookalikes to people who aren't as skilled as you.
                                                                2. In Asia there are smaller white mushrooms people, if not skilled, can mistake for oysters. These are deadly....
                                                                3. I agree.
                                                                4. Do you mean Berkeley's Polypore or Blackening Polypore that closely resembles a hen? Both can be tender at younger ages....
                                                                5. No, there have been death(s) attributed to certain red pored Boletes, last I heard, anyway.


                                                              2. I live in the DC region and we've had a LOT of rain, from a hurricane, to tropical storm to "train rain". We've got mushrooms everywhere and I'm stymied by the idiots who have eaten them and gotten sick. Very, very sick with major liver damage potential.
                                                                With mushrooms being rather ubiquitous and pretty cheap in the whole scheme of things, why?

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                  I am in the Lower Hudson Valley, so we share the same misery about that streetwalker, Irene. After the rain falls, when the mushrooms pop-up its called a flush. I am definitely not going to bore you with mycological theory and mycorrhizae. Mushrooms are just the fruiting body while the roots are sub-surface. Anyhow, I have been foraging for shrooms my entire life and I wouldn't even touch a wild shroom for eating purposes if I wasn't 250% positive that I can ID, which are 6 or so. I tell people to read, read, read and if you're foraging for the first time, Go with a Mycologist or a Mycophile and question everything. You could only have one chance on a mistaken ID, Lethal Mushrooms dwarf humans in barbarism. Sorry for going off on a tangent. Lastly, I have linked some websites, that may help curious questions, if not cool as hell to look at...
                                                                  Ok, I am done..

                                                                  This one below is by far the best avail.

                                                                2. Been eating wild mushrooms I've foraged since learning about it from biology class at UCONN in '96. I do agree both that highly cautious is important, while I also agree driving can be more risky. If interested in the topic of eating wild mushrooms and plants, see my site: http://foraging.posterous.com/

                                                                  1. There's only a few edible mushrooms that grow on peoples lawns and from what I see in the photos I wouldn't risk eating them. Shaggy manes/puff balls and button mushrooms are the only ones I eat and only from a lawn that I'm positive hasn't been sprayed. Even then I don't eat 'lawn mushrooms' bc I don't like eating dog and cat feces/pee.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Puffin3

                                                                      Puffin: You really out to join MushroomTalk. You already have a good start, so that can serve to really mushroom your knowledge (pun intended!). :)

                                                                      Lawn mushrooms: Most, not few, are edible. Clearly one must never eat any not 100% certain of, but some are so easy to ID and so worth considering.
                                                                      Sprayed lawns, if recent and w/o rains, are chemically scary. Though, if washed, hum.... But, if you think chemicals and pee and feces are problems, you may be afraid to eat anything from a grocery store (especially if not organic, which contain herbicides, pesticides, fungicides...). Ironically, feces can be a powerful component of organic farming.

                                                                      Some research suggests many mushrooms have extremely healthful properties. If true, I think you'd be much better off eating safe lawn mushrooms than mostly focusing on grocery store veggies, meats, etc. Nevertheless, I realize I'm just expressing my opinion. I guess it just bothers me when a single side is presented on a topic. (You may have seen my recent reply about the 106 year old mushroom eater).

                                                                      Where do you forage?


                                                                      1. re: yarmo

                                                                        Most things in a grocery store are relatively easy to keep animals out of... they don't go completely crazy for 'em.
                                                                        Peanut oil, otoh.... squirrels chew through heavy plastic to get at it.

                                                                        1. re: yarmo

                                                                          Behind Lake Cowichan, BC.on the old logging roads around Nitnat Lake. Back that way are some 'climax forests'.

                                                                      2. I don't eat Takifugu (Japanese Puffer Fish) either: call me a coward.

                                                                          1. My late* great uncle used to collect mushrooms that looked like the picture on the right (actually, he had me crawl under pine trees to collect them as he was in his 70s at the time): he told me there were subtle differences between the edible amanitas and the poisonous kind, but to me they looked too much alike to trust myself. A problem we have on the West Coast is that some toxic mushrooms closely resemble non-toxic ones found in other parts of the world.

                                                                            *he did not die of mushroom poisoning.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: tardigrade

                                                                              Yeah I never go anywhere near anything that looks like an amanita either.

                                                                              1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                FYI, the issue you presented isn't unique to the West Coast.