Enormous Toadstool

2016 January 16

I found several of these gigantic toadstools in the stand of aspen trees northwest of the house on September 3, 2014.

The head was about the size of a dinner plate, with little pale warts all over the surface

This was one of the mushrooms with “gills” underneath, which disperse the spores. There are other mushrooms I’ve seen around in the past that look similar, but their underside is covered with pores instead of gills.

It had a long stem with a bulge at the base, and it snapped off pretty cleanly at ground level.

I think this might possibly be Amanita muscaria, although the pictures I’m finding online show it as being redder than my specimen here. At any rate, I wasn’t inclined to try eating it, seeing as how the Amanita genus contains some of the world’s most toxic mushrooms, and I’d hate to make that kind of mistake. Even if I’m right about it being Amanita muscaria, that isn’t much of a recommendation for eating it, since that species (the “Fly Agaric”[1]) is well known as being a hallucinogen if it isn’t parboiled before eating. And I just learned a new word: Entheogen-a substance used to induce religious experiences.

In general, eating wild mushrooms isn’t worth the risk to me. I mean, mushrooms taste OK, but they certainly aren’t worth dying over, and I have no particular desire to mess with my brain. I only eat wild mushrooms where the chance of misidentification is practically zero, like morels and puffballs.

[1] Supposedly, it used to be used for killing flies. It sounds like the procedure was to dry it, grind it into a powder, and sprinkle it into a bowl of milk. Then as the milk went sour, it would draw flies that would be killed by the mushroom powder.

3 Responses
  1. Katbird permalink
    January 16, 2016

    Did you make a spore print?

  2. January 17, 2016

    Dang, that sucker is huge!

  3. January 18, 2016

    Katbird: No, but I probably should have tried. I’ve never actually made a spore print from a mushroom, but it is worth a shot in the future.

    KT: Yes, but wait until you see the fungus I have coming up in a couple of weeks.

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