Forage Friday #76 The Mushroom Dilemma

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Unknown Mushrooms 90520” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Forage Friday is only intended to be a conversation starter and not a replacement for actually receiving an education from a qualified instructor and especially when it comes to mushrooms. My knowledge of mushrooms is extremely limited and therefore I am uncertain about the Identity of mushrooms in tonight’s post.

My forestry instructor once told us a story about an elderly woman who had decided to take up foraging for mushrooms. Now this was in the days before the internet was a common thing and you couldn’t use an app on your phone to get an ID on what you were looking at. So to the library she went and she looked at pictures of mushrooms for days trying to memorize as much detail as she could. And like a lot of people she got it wrong with a few. Her family called for an ambulance and the hospital pumped her stomach, gave her the antidote and after a few days sent her home. Not 2 days later she was back in the ER with the same problem of mushroom poisoning. The doctor was understandably concerned as to why she would endanger herself by eating the same mushrooms that made her sick the first time and asked her why she took the second risk. Her answer was that they looked so pretty. Of course my classmates and I imeadiatly made the connection between mushrooms and pretty colors and we all had a good laugh. But at the end of the day someone almost lost their life twice due to misidentification. There’s also an issue of certain mushrooms being edible but having a bad reaction to other food and drink.

Honey mushrooms are a good example of a mushroom that might make some people sick if consumed with alcohol. And that’s what I currently believe is in tonight’s feature image.

Honey mushrooms are ringless mushrooms that are actually parasites on certain hardwoods. They grow in clusters and are among the more prized by people who forage mushrooms. And they also look a lot like Jack O Lantern mushrooms.

Jack O Lantern mushrooms have a ring and gills and grow on rotting trees.

Unknown Mushrooms found growing on rotting wood in July 2020

The image on the right is a clump of mushrooms that look like honey mushrooms but because the grass is hiding the stem I cannot tell if they have a ring.

One way thats a little better to tell the difference is the spore print. Honey mushrooms have a white spore print where Jack O Lanterns have a green spore print.

The mushrooms in these photographs were growing on land that doesn’t belong to me so I couldn’t ethically harvest them for testing.

So here’s one that the readers can help me out with. Do you think they’re honey mushrooms or Jack O Lanterns? Let me know in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “Forage Friday #76 The Mushroom Dilemma

  1. I am horrible at identifying mushrooms, (I think it’s that whole “hey, if you get this wrong, this could kill you”). It always amazes me how different mushrooms grow in different places. I, like the older woman you talked about, think a lot of mushrooms are beautiful…but (unlike her) I’m too scared to take a bite!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amy 😊 (I think it’s Amy)
      I am the same way when it comes to mushrooms. I have enough book knowledge about them to make me a little nervous. I know there’s some mushroom groups close by that are really good at education but since I haven’t been able to make the leap to full time photographer/blogger I haven’t really got the time to get together with someone.
      One plan that makes a lot of sense is to buy some grow kits from Tractor Supply and then grow a known species. That way I have a positive ID on a sample that I can study closely. 😊


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