It’s time for another installment of everyone’s favorite (quarterly, mushroom-related) series!
I saw a couple ‘shrooms sprouting in our lawn a little while back and thought, “Wonder if I could eat that?”
Not having any idea what the ‘shroom was or if I could add it to one of my patented “fancy Ramens” (Pizza Ramen, Hot Pocket Ramen, McNugz Ramen, etc.) without dying was the impetus for today’s post… in which we’ll identify a few common fungi seen around the world and whether or not they should be consumed.
According to my new handy mushroom field guide, our culprit here from my lawn appears to be a semi-tasty common puffball, or Lycoperdon perlatum, OR for mushroom enthusiasts who like to party: THE DEVIL’S SNUFF BOX.
Common Puffballs (all imgs on this page via Wikipedia, send yer donations you freeloaders!)
(Please if you are a mushroom expert and believe I’ve made a grave error and this is really a deadly toxic ‘shroom, thanks for the heads up).
It’s head-scratching the names they come up with these fungi. I do like that every fungus seems to have multiple aliases, like gangsters, but most of them seem pretty negative. I’m not sure who the marketing gurus responsible for naming these things are, but to be saddled with descriptors like canker, blight, rot, rust, stinkhorn, decay, smut etc., is a real social barrier. Hopefully the Friday Fungus! series will help restore the good name of some of these unfortunately named beauties.
In the meantime, here are a few other common fungi to be aware of.
Grifola frondosa – A.K.A. Hen of the Woods, Ram’s Head. The Japanese call this edible gem maitake. It has been praised by many cultures around the world for its taste and also touted for its supposed medicinal purposes.
A lovely Hen of the Woods.
Clathrus ruber – A.K.A. Red cage, Witch’s Heart. This stinkhorn can be seen around the world. Fully grown it emits a foul odor and would only be eaten by a foolhardy drunkard, but apparently it can be consumed when still in ‘egg’ form.
A very lovely but smelly Red Cage.
Pseudocolus fusiformis – A.K.A. Stinky Squid. Another bizarre but common stinkhorn, this is another one to steer clear of when fully grown. So help me if I hear about any of you trying to eat something called Stinky Squid I will send our intern out to smack you.
Another smelly beauty, the Stinky Squid.
Fuligo septic – A.K.A. Dog Vomit Slime Mold, Scrambled Egg Slime. This unfortunately named common fungus gets a further dent to its reputation by being accused of causing asthma. I say we band together to change the nickname to something more appealing, like Hero Fungus.
Dog Vomit Slime Mold, or Hero Fungus?
Be sure to join us next time as we learn more about the wild, wonderful world of fungi together!