LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, January 28, 2013

Toadstools and Mushrooms

Some say toadstools have both a stem and a cap so that a toad could sit underneath.  Some say mushrooms are edible and toadstools are poisonous.

So what IS the difference between toadstools and mushrooms?  Well, toadstools are the stuff of fairy tales and legends.  The word is not, in fact, a scientific term.  Mushroom, on the other hand, is the scientific name of a family of fungi.  So basically, there is no difference between a toadstool and a mushroom, although toadstool is a more colloquial term.

I know very little about mushrooms, except that I love to eat them.  Many people here in the mountains gather and eat wild mushrooms.  The only wild ones I would try would be Morels. (And they are delicious!)  Another option is to purchase spores and plant them yourself on a dead log.  (BTW:  It's not a good idea to plant them on Hemlock.)

I cannot identify any of the mushrooms that grow in our backyard.  But I do love to see them and I'll share them with you.  Following are only a few of the various types of mushrooms around here:

























Mycetism is the term for mushroom poisoning.  Roman Emperor Claudius (remember the series?) supposedly died from mushroom poisoning.  Nicolas Evans, author of The Horse Whisperer ate mushrooms he gathered on holiday.  They turned out to be poisonous.  He suffered kidney failure requiring dialysis until he received a kidney transplant.  Last November four patients at a California nursing home died after eating mushroom soup.  The soup was made from mushrooms picked in a field near the nursing home by a member of the staff.

As for me?  I'll eat only the ones from the grocery store.  Unless, of course, you cooked them for me.

13 comments:

Ms. A said...

That first one is so cool! I've never seen one like that! (I don't eat any of them, but would love to find more to shoot)

robin andrea said...

I recognize some of these mushrooms. If that red one is large it could be a rosy russula. They're beautiful. I feel the same way about mushrooms; I won't eat them unless I bought them at the store. Too risky.

robin andrea said...

Oh, I meant to say that the sad story about the woman who cooked local mushrooms for the nursing home was something that happened right down the road from us, about 25 miles.

Hughes ap Williams said...

My father-in-law would pick mushrooms and no one in the family would eat them. But he ate them and never became ill.

Gina Gao said...

I really liked the first one! I really enjoy picking mushrooms.

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Rudee said...

That last one looks like a saucer. Or dinner plate. They are fascinating, aren't they?

Jayne said...

I don't think I'd ever eat any just gathered from the forest, even if I was the one (assuming I was a mushroom expert) who gathered them. Too risky for me!

The Bug said...

I love mushrooms! What does it say about me that I'd be tempted to try one from the wild? Well, I'd probably consult the google first :)

Busy Bee Suz said...

That first one is the coolest thing I've ever seen! I too love mushrooms, but won't just eat them where I find them. Isn't it funny how some of them pop up overnight? Magical!

Janet QueenofSeaford said...

Nice posting. I have two different kinds of mushrooms growing in my logs out in the backyard. It will be many more months before they fruit and I can harvest some goodies to eat.
Sad story of the nursing home. Shameful.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Robin - I'm sure the loss affected people in your state even more.

Hughes - Thanks for dropping by. My husband said his grandmother used to send him and his cousins out to pick mushrooms. She would look through them and discard the poisonous ones. She was either very clever or very lucky.

Gina - Thanks for dropping by.

Bug - Why does that not surprise me? :)

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

I love to photograph mushrooms and have seen several varieties that are supposed to be edible, but I'm with you. I'll eat only ones from the grocery store, either fresh or canned. With one common one named "Death Angel," I'm not willing to risk a mistake in identifying them.

dAwN said...

Poisonings happen most every year..it's a shame. Most often it is the Amanita Death Destroying Angel mushroom. Many Asians, when coming to this country think it is the same mushroom they pick in their home country..it looks the same...but isn't.
I have been picking and eating them for about ten years, I am very careful and pick ones with no poisonous look a likes.