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How to tell if the mushrooms growing in your yard or lawn are safe.

We have all tried mushrooms in our salads or as a side dish. You can buy various kinds at your local supermarket or grocery store for about $3 or so for a small container. So , now what about the mushrooms that are growing in our yards or lawns? You know, the white ones with brown speckles on top. I have probably 30 of them in my backyard right now. Do you think they are safe to eat?

Well, they are definitely not safe to eat. These are green spored (yes, take a top from one of these mushrooms and bang it lightly against a piece of paper and you will see the spores are greenish in color) mushrooms with the white stalks that grow at the very top of the soil. What is very characteristic of these mushrooms is little smell (unless they are decaying) and a white ring under the top. This mushroom is called a green spored Lepiota or Chlorophyllum molybdites (the latter is the scientific name for this type of mushroom).

Green spored lepiota mushrooms
Picture of a bucket full of these green spored Lepiota mushrooms I just pulled from my backyard.

They tend to grow in clusters and start out as little bulbous brown mushrooms with white stalks. Then they quickly expand to become a large white mushroom with little bits of brown on the top. These mushrooms can be deadly and are one of the three deadliest mushrooms to exist in America. Ingesting one of these mushrooms causes extreme stomach and gastrointestinal distress. You definitely do not want to eat any of these mushrooms. Also it is a good idea to remove them as soon as they start popping up if you have young children as Little kids have attempted to put things in their mouth and these could cause a trip to the emergency room or worse.

Lepiota or yard mushrooms
Here is another picture showing both large and small “bulbous” Lepiota mushrooms.Notice the brown heads of the smaller ones and the characteristic white top and brown center of the larger ones.

These green spored Lepiota mushrooms grow fairly large for mushrooms and can easily grow to become 6-8 inches across or more and 6 inches in height or higher. They are very predominant in the early fall and late summer in backyards and moist areas. They are parasol shaped and they grow straight out of the soil, not on wood or logs. Dogs can get sick from them too.

Also, it is a good idea to wash her hands very well after touching these mushrooms. One can get sick from the spores alone. And if you have touched them you have spores on your hands. They do make good compost, however and actually help to quicken the degradation rate in a compost tumbler or bin. Just be sure and break them apart and cover them well. Turn the compost often also else they will likely return to growing or new ones will form from the spores.

large green spored lepiota mushroom
This picture shows a side view of a large green spored Lepiota mushroom. See the characteristic ring under the top? Any mushroom with rings on it or gills as some experts refer to this part is dangerous. Never eat any mushroom with rings on it.

This article wasn’t meant to inform of all the deadly or dangerous mushrooms out there, but to just warn people about the most prevalent type of mushroom that is now blooming and spreading across lawns, pastures, greenways and more. Don’t eat these mushrooms. Don’t let your kids play with them and gather them up and throw them away or place them in your composter before your kids or dogs get sick from them.

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