August 24, 2012

More L.A. Mushrooms

As I proclaimed in last week's blog, it's been hot! Not the sort of weather you would expect to be finding mushrooms in the arid Southwest. However, Carol Bornstein, Director of North Campus and  gardens found mushrooms on her way into work on Monday morning. As she parked her car, she noticed some yellow patches under a citrus tree. Upon closer investigation, Carol discovered they were clumps of emerging yellow mushrooms!

Needless to say, I was out there quick as a flash to snap some photos. This is what I found:
 

 
When I parked the next morning the mushrooms had completely changed!

 

 Picture taken by Patrick Tanaka, Museum outreach instructor
 
According to Florence Nishida, Museum research associate and L.A. Mycological Society member, this mushroom is likely Leucocoprinus birnbaumii. Although it doesn't have a common name, it is often encountered in potted houseplants and sometimes in mulch outside! Through my research, I have discovered that people can get quite frantic upon finding these mushrooms in their homes. In particular, MushroomExpert.com has an entire article about frantic questions received from homeowners worried about the dangers of this mushroom.
 
The good news is, they are practically harmless. The plant is in no way affected by this cohabitant and as long as no person or pet eats it, everyone will be safe and sound. So next time you find yourself wondering if you should pick and eat that little yellow mushroom, stop yourself and remember safety first!
 
 


Posted by:Lila Higgins

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