Too Much Rain Makes For Fun Guys

How about a PG-rated fungal joke, hm?

Q:  What do you call a mushroom with a 9″ stem?
A:  A Fungi to be with.

The joke only works if you pronounce it correctly. Not fun’-ghee or fun’-ghye but fun’-GUY.

Buddum bum.

I am only just skimming the surface on learning about the fabulous fungus.  I know that they’re super-important to the soil ecosystem. I know they’re crucial for breaking down organic matter and making certain macro nutrients (which may otherwise be “locked up” in the soil) readily available for a plant’s use.  I also know that you can eat some varieties; they are delicious raw or cooked if edible, make you sick or kill you if they’re not.

I know that when it rains a lot (which it has), they pop up virtually everywhere to reproduce.  Like all over my yard.

If anyone recognizes any of these as edibles, I would love for you to share your knowledge with my readers. Just so you know, my gut tells me that none of them are. Truth is, though, I have no idea. The one in my hand at the end might be a candidate; I really only recognize Hen of the Woods (and I don’t have any at the moment), and that’s about as far as my foraging knowledge goes.

You should all be happy that I didn’t find a single fungus-laden zombie ant on my walk, but I recited my poem in a sing-song fashion as I took these pictures.

* * *

Growing in rose beds, pine bark mulch
These guys are all over the St. Augustine mono-culture lawn.
All burr oak trees have this, even the 85-yr-old canopy oak out back.
A systemic fungus is suspect.
Not a fungus.
Just happy salvia enjoying the morning sun.
I wanted to see if you were paying attention.
Stand tall, little fungus! I will take another photo later.
The size increased by 20% or more in just a few hours. Cool!
Dewey fungus.
Should I eat this? Or should I not?
Always good to err on the side of caution with fungi.

38 thoughts on “Too Much Rain Makes For Fun Guys

    1. Thanks Jet, and I always appreciate your candid comments. My followers back then were more ‘chatty’ than those of today, who seem more apt to just click the Like button and move on to other things. I rather love the comment convo!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You can always grab them with a joke or two – I love it!! But then you’ve got to follow it up with some substance, which you did so well with those fabulous, fabulous photos!! Celeste 🙂


  2. Hey, Gina, you HAVE been flipping backward! Alas, winter now is not the best for photography down here (no snow, no leaves, just sticks and lots of BROWN), but I’ve been making the best of it. Mushrooms, however, are a real favorite of mine. We’re hoping to try growing some of our own (to eat no less) this summer. Stay tuned!

    Glad you’ve decided to stick around. Love your comments!


  3. Oh my gosh, I love visiting here! From the fungi joke to the salvia shot Shannon, I can always know I’ll be enjoying some great laughter along with learning something new. Love it! Great photography too. Thanks for sharing 🙂 Cheers, Gina


  4. He he. I once wrote a short story about a man who became obsessed with growing fungi. His wife killed him when he dug up her prize lupins to make room for more fungi. How? Slipped him some poisonous mushroom of course! 😉
    I like your low PoV shots. And the sneaky salvia. 😉


  5. Hi Shannon, About the guy from Oregon who OD’d on mushrooms? Guess that’s a good argument for “all things in moderation, hey?”; )


  6. My kids and I love to go on mushroom hunts after a few days of rain. Funny, you beat me to the post, though a rather different take on it. We just snap pictures. Do you have a macro lens? Love the photos. It took me a long time to learn to eat mushrooms too but in the last few years I have started, nothing fancy though. Fun post. Sorry, no puns!


    1. Thank you, Karen! No macro lens…yet. I’m hoping to add one to my bag by the end of the year. It’s on my Christmas wish list (that and a decent zoom).

      I continue to be amazed at how many different variety of ‘shrooms pop up after a good drencher. They’re amazing organisms.


  7. I love mushrooms. It’s taken me thirty-some years to get here but now I can honestly say I love them. My favorite way to eat them is sauteed in my homemade parmesan risotto. Yum.

    So please tell me this — we buy most produce organic. But I like to save money and buy non-organic on those things that don’t have the high pesticide risks (broccoli, bananas, etc.). What about mushrooms? I was told once that the things that are icky smelling would not be as attractive to bugs (and thus not sprayed so much) but I have no idea on that rule of thumb.

    And speaking of “is this true?”, my uncle in Oregon (which is known for its wild mushrooms), told me that he knew of a man there who died from consuming a huge quantity of “safe” Oregon mushrooms — and my uncle went on to say that nearly any mushroom is potentially toxic if consumed in mass quantities


    1. Ooo, FUN!! Ghee. Tee Hee. I love research. And puns.

      I am familiar only with the edible mushrooms as are purchased in the stores (see below):

      Additionally, I myself do not buy organic mushrooms for the same reasons as you mentioned — but I wash them well before consumption. In one article, aflatoxin (a nasty microorganism that is found in the processing of peanuts, for example) is mentioned indicating certain “safe” practices must be maintained in the commercial growing of edible fungi:

      Click to access cis1077.pdf

      Check out the link in my comment above about growing your own ‘shroom species. One of your followers, 222 Million Tons, has also grown a variety using coffee grounds as the substrate, even if it was a failed experiment.

      As for toxicity, ‘shrooms are high in potassium and other minerals. If someone died from ingestion, it may have been due to mistaken identity of an otherwise toxic variety of mushroom. I found at least one article in Oregon suggesting so. Without knowing more details, I just can’t say.


      1. Wow, so much information my head is going to explode now! You might say my brain just turned to mush….rooms (collective groan).

        I am now following Jean-Francois’ blog — it’s been a long time coming. And, wow, what an amazing cause.


      2. Having not read the link, I’m guessing these “safe” growing practices have everything to do with the old workplace complaint with vague reference to E-coli: “Yeah, they must think we’re like mushrooms; ’cause we’re fed sh_t and kept in the dark”; )
        So, now while you’re getting too much rain down there, we up here (and a lot of other places) have been suffering through drought and surely these wild swings aren’t what anyone would call “normal”? As Grandma used to say, “Nature abhors an imbalance”…
        Sometimes, things do go completely off the rails and there is nothing to be done but either laugh (excellent job, BTW; ) or cry; but, most of the time, that’s just life…


      3. E.coli will make you sick, true, maybe even kill you, but that aflatoxin is a serious contender in nasty fungi. It’s carcinogenic enough to be the choice cancer-causer in many animal lab experiments; it just works that well. Whenever I see an article that references it specifically, my antennae go up!

        I use that “being in the dark” reference to mushrooms probably more than I should. It’s a good one. LOL


      4. Obviously need to follow up on aflatoxin in the next couple of months – before ‘shrooming season starts again. Thanks for the heads up: )


      5. Here. This will whet your appetite. It’s a decent enough article to introduce you to this lovely fungus:

        I love how people see “natural” on a label and go, “Hey! This must be good for you. Natural always means healthy.” Some of the most toxic substances known to earth are in the natural (not synthetic) world.


      6. I’ll check out your link in a minute, but for now, just shootin’ from the lip…
        Hah! Birth and death are natural. Disease and bacteria are natural. Preditor and prey. The drive to survive and reproduce. The need for food, water and shelter. Animals are a lot smarter than most give them credit for and nature will outfox man’s intervention/interference/conceit every time… What makes man so bloody sure that we’re the centre of the universe? Bollocks! We need to learn how to get along with the rest of the world. Thank you.


      7. I love the way you think. Don’t even get me started on the subject of this being the insect’s world with us living in it. Glad to have you here, Deb.


      8. LOL, hey thanks Shannon! My grandfather used to ask “If we know how big is “big”, then how small is “small”? (Love the scene at the end of “Men in Black” when they’re looking out from inside of a locker; )


      9. Glad they mentioned the yeast Pichia anomala, a natural; ) counterbalance against Aspergillus flavus. Life is complex – interwoven from top to bottom and has existed (quite nicely without any contribution from us, thank you very much) for millenia. Makes me think of the line from Indiana Jones “Only the humble man shall pass…”


  8. It’s a shame there’s such risk involved in eating strange mushrooms, because when they’re edible, they’re such great food. Love these pics, despite the glaring lack of exploding zombie ants – especially that first one, with the nice combination of detail and bokeh.


    1. Too bad! Some varieties are scrumptious. Can’t get my 10-yr-old to touch any of them, though. I put a link in (look up) about growing your own. Timing was good.


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