Assuming these are the same fungi (the buds look consistent), I should have full-grown mushrooms tomorrow or Friday. They'll likely collapse over the weekend. By this time next week, they'll have nearly decomposed into nothing.

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looks like a member of the Leucocoprinus genus, possibly Leucocoprinus straminellus or Leucocoprinus birnbaumii

@glyph Hmm, yeah. I can't decide. Leucocoprinus definitely seems like the right track. To my untrained eye, it almost looks like Leucocoprinus cepistipes, only maybe a little too yellow. Birnbaumii seems like the best bet, given its appearance in a potted plant.

But I like it! And it's out of reach of anyone who might nibble at it, so I think I'll just let it be. At any rate, most of what I'm reading about birnbaumii says it's tough to exhume, so I may as well enjoy it.


it's tempting to try and id mushrooms by comparing them to photos but the best way is to identify characteristics and work toward finer granularity.

in your case: they are gilled mushrooms, which puts them in the order Agaricales. they have an annulus (ring) on the stipe (stem). the gills are free (not attached directly to the stipe. the pileus (cap) is campanulate (bell-shaped).

you can also slice off one of the caps and leave it on a piece of paper over-night. [ cont. ]


the colour of the sporeprint is a very useful identifying feature.

in the case of the Leucocoprinus genus, identification to the species level is only really possible with a microscope - since the distinguishing characteristics are in spore morphology.

@glyph It's fascinating watching them over the course of the day. The bell shape is much more pronounced now. And two days ago they were just nubs. About how long can I expect these two lads to hand about?


it's awesome that you're paying such close attention to them over time!

good question. i don't know for sure but i don't think they'll be around very much longer - maybe three to five days and then they'll decompose (my best guess).

they're a saprophytic species, so the mycelium is living and feeding on the mulch and other bits of dead organic matter in the soil. you'll likely see more flushes of mushrooms from this pot in the future :)

@glyph I've long been interested in mushrooms, and I've been meaning to read more about them, so if you have any recommendations for books, I'm all ears.


sure thing. i'll recommend three for now:

'mycelium running: how mushrooms can help save the world' by paul stamets. a classic and incredibly inspiring book that gives a broad overview of the capacities of fungi.

'radical mycology: a treatise on seeing & working with fungi' by peter mccoy. the one tome to rule them all; enough information to keep you occupied for years.

'entangled life: how fungi make our worlds, change our minds & shape our futures' by merlin sheldrake. brand new.

@glyph Excellent. Thanks for *gestures* all of this.


my pleasure! there are few things i enjoy more than sharing my passion for fungi :)

feel free to get in touch if you ever have questions or just want to share interesting things you're learning or observing.

@glyph @lrhodes yeah ! 🎉

Thanks, didn't know about 'radical mycology"

@glyph Looks like they may not make it through the night. I watered that pot earlier today. Maybe they got a little too much?


cool! way quicker than i thought.

your watering shouldn't have made any difference. they must have reached their "goal" of spore dispersal, after which they begin to lose integrity and slowly decompose.

next time that pot fruits, try and catch them in the morning or evening light. it's sometimes possible to see the whisps of spores being released - a bit like seeing dust motes when the light is just right.

@glyph Will do. Do they fruit seasonally, or more often than that? (I'm ordering some of the books you recommended, so I shouldn't need to ask these basic questions much longer.)


it depends. i think it's quite likely that you will see another flush or two within the next month. their mushroom production is dependent upon available nutrition (dead organic matter in the soil) and climatic factors (primarily soil moisture, humidity and temperature).

i think you're in the northern hemisphere?

they generally only fruit outdoors in the warmer summer months but can fruit indoors year round - especially if the indoor space is heated.


i'll recommend one more book, since i didn't include a field guide in my previous list:

'all the rain promises and more: a hip pocket guide to western mushrooms' by david arora. it's more geared towards mushroom identification than the other three books i recommended, and it's full of whimsy and delight.

Aww I don't recognize them to the point of being able to identify them with certainty, but I've seen mushrooms like that be referred to as "parasols" because they look like umbrellas. :) Very good photo; they look so elegant!

@lrhodes they look amazing. The ones in the second photo look like puffballs or earthballs now but I suspect they'll open up into what you saw before.

Beautiful ridges when they are fully grown. Possible they came in with the compost, although spores are everywhere, all the time, so you never know.

@glyph might have na idea..

@ephemeral @glyph No compost here, so that's not it. The soil is from a lavender plant I bought last summer. The lavender died over the winter, so I've repurposed the pot for habeñeros (which was the only small-space suitable seed on the rack where I buy seeds). No mushrooms sprouted in that pot last summer, but I did have a problem with pigeons roosting in it a few weeks ago (hence the stakes), so I'm guessing they brought the spores.



Could be the pigeons, but then it could be anything really. Spores are so ubiquitous that it might have just been a wind. Or maybe the dead lavender root. The strange wonder of fungi.

Coincidentally, I had a fungal outbreak with some elephantine yellow chilis last year. I just let them grow. Not similar mushrooms, just a coincidence.

Would love to know what yours are when you figure it out! I hope they don't harm the plant.


@ephemeral @glyph Jist thought of something. All of the mushrooms so far have sprouted at the rim of the pot, on three different sides. Seems like that would argue for connection with the lavender roots, yeah? It was a relatively mature plant, so I have little doubt the root ends stretched to the sides of the pot.

@lrhodes @glyph

Ha, that would be interesting too. When tree saplings are pulled from the ground they bring with them lots of species of fungi in the soil (and sometimes they lose connections to other helpful fungi).

It's very possible the flowers brought some friends.

Or some enemies.

@lrhodes @ephemeral

it's cool to read the questions you're asking and to hear your thought-processes!

species in Leucocoprinus are saprophytes - so there's no association with the lavender roots. saprophytes tend to form shallow networks at the soil surface.

many species tend to fruit at the margins of the substrate - in your case it might have something to do with tiny differences in conditions between the rim of the pot and the center (perhaps more moisture is present at the rim).

@lrhodes and this is the difference between my amateur guesswork and expertise! Thanks @glyph

How did you identify Leucocoprinus? I get so intimidated by the less immediately obvious toadstools that I don't even know where to start!

@ephemeral @lrhodes

in this particular case i had the advantage of previous experience: the "flowerpot parasol" is relatively common around the world, especially in greenhouses, and i had previously encountered it in my hometown many years ago. so it was more a case of immediate recognition than taxonomic detective work.

some features of leucocoprinus:

- finely-scaled cap
- fragile ring on stem
- gills free from the stem (not directly attached at center)
- cap margin lined / grooved

@ephemeral @lrhodes

i should say that my taxonomic and identification knowledge is still super basic. answering questions like this helps me to learn, so thanks for voicing your curiosity!

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