Thursday, July 22, 2010

Green-spored Lepiota/Fairy Ring*

Young Green-spored Lepiota, veil remnants on cap

The enormous fairy ring, 10-12' across (later I read that that's not really all that big for them)
Chlorophyllum molybdites

Got another alert on the Mushroom Hotline (thank you, JS!) that this fairy ring was back--I had seen it while driving a few weeks earlier, but by the time I got there 2 days later it was mowed down. This time I went the day of the call (and I wore my cape).

Then I marched over to my next-door neighbor's house to show him a huge specimen I'd collected for a spore-print (much bigger even than the one in this photo), and he said he saw me standing in the doorway with it, and thought, "What is that, a LAMP?"  

I was pretty sure what it was, after rooting around in field guides and online, but the spore print confirmed it--green! From an all-white mushroom! To be fair, these were very freshly opened. By the time I got it home, the gills were already starting to darken with maturing spores.

Not lethal, but still poisonous, and WILL make you good and SICK. And if you're in bad shape to begin with (or just little), you could die. So, no Chlorophyllum molybdites for you!

*Many different species will grow in rings. All rings are not Green-spored Lepiotas! And all Green-spored Lepiota don't grow in rings!


  1. Awesome pictures you got there. I haven't often seen fairy rings, but the closest I have seen lately (besides your pic) was the two skull-shaped puffballs I found, one of which was bad.

    Keep up the good work on this blog! :)

  2. I meant to say they were growing on the edge of a dark circle of grass.

  3. Ah, I have heard of this "dark circle"...something to do with the fungus metabolizing the nitrogen in the soil...
    If this one pops up again, I'll let you know. This is its 2nd time in a month.

  4. Your last warning should be taken pretty seriously though I would say that they are toxic or poisonous, they just are not deadly.

    I had a neighbor who poisoned herself with some mushrooms she picked from her yard just two weeks ago.

    From her symptoms and the description of the mushrooms (which were in the button stage) I think they were green-spored lepiotas. She experienced violent gastrointestinal distress. So much so, that she had to call the paramedics and even though she recovered fine, now she will not eat another mushroom again, even those from the store. It is not an experience that anyone would want, trust me.

  5. You are right, I was confusing the word "toxic" and "lethal". I'll amend the blog. I'll probably also make a stand-alone page called something like "Mushroom Edibility"--or, better yet, "Why Do You Think That Mushroom is Edible?".
    Thanks for your input.

  6. While I am very glad she's doing better, it's sad that she's giving up on mushrooms in general.

    Hindsight's always 20/20 as we all know, but if only she'd have done even a cursory search on that mushroom she might have saved her body from poisoning and her palate from not being able to taste quality mushrooms again.

  7. And you, a long-term, avid mushroom hunter, as her neighbor!

  8. I'm fascinated by the fairy ring. What causes them to grow in that pattern? Also, found this blog post and thought of you:

  9. Fairy rings are caused by faeries dancing in a circle in the night. Or, faery rings are caused by the growth pattern of the mycelium. It starts somewhere, digesting nutrients in the soil, and as it depletes them, it grows outward. When conditions are right, the mycelium does its thing and sends up the fruiting body, the mushroom. The more uniform the substrate is (lawns vs. forest floors), the more concise the circle will be. And, I have no proof of either of these theories.

  10. Oh, and thanks for sharing the pics of that amazing crowd of mushrooms!