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.