Yellow Mushroom with Potted Jade Plant

2020 March 1

Jade plants (Crassula ovata) make really nice houseplants. At least, they do really well in our house. They are also alarmingly easy to propagate. Just take a leaf or branch and stick it into a pot of soil, water it from time to time, and there you are. We have a bunch of them in the house[1]. Like this one:


And, the reason that this picture is mostly of the base of the plant is that I was really photographing the perfect little mushroom that is sprouting from the soil:

It was a pleasing shade of yellow, with a rough cap


The stalk was fairly long and thin, and the cap and gills were not attached to it.


Normally, mushrooms are kind of hard to identify, but in this case we have a combination of a fairly distinctive mushroom with a pretty specific habitat. This is almost certainly the Flowerpot Parasol, Leucoprinus birnbaumii. This fungus is a tropical species that has gotten into the general potting soil supply, and has established itself in houseplants throughout the world.

They are no particular hazard to the plants, they only digest thoroughly decomposed materials and don’t infect living plant tissues. While they aren’t an edible species, they are not so toxic that they are a major hazard to children and pets (although you should probably make sure that, if you have very young children around, they don’t try to eat them).

So far, this was the only fruiting body we have seen in the flowerpots. They probably only pop up to make spores when the soil has been watered on exactly the right schedule to make the underground part (the mycelia) think that it is a good time to disperse spores. Since we had this one, it probably has sent spores into all of our houseplants, so I expect we will continue to see these mushrooms from time to time. This particular mushroom was photographed on July 4, 2019, but they most likely can occur any time of year.

[1] If you live anywhere around Houghton, would you like a jade plant? We can easily wack off a branch for you.

2 Responses
  1. Carole permalink
    March 1, 2020

    Interesting piece, thank you

  2. March 12, 2020

    I wonder, can anything turn food into growth as fast as mushrooms? Dig this.

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