We don't purposely cultivate mushrooms and other fungi in our garden - but I'm
always intrigued to see them, and on this page will share them with you (I'm
so generous, don't you think?)
Photos in this section are for fungal life forms I encountered in our first
garden, in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. The ones we managed to grow in Texas
are further down this page.
Behold the comely stinkhorn! The arborvitae in the background are my neighbor's.
He keeps his hedge well mulched, and the stinkhorn fungi love that stuff. In late
summer and early fall, they pop up, look radiant for a few days, and then deflate
to a sad mess. Perfect to keep my two little boys fascinated.
On the other end of the spectrum, not very bold but decidedly dainty, are little
silvery grey lady mushrooms. I don't even bother trying to identify them - I
have enough of a hard time with plants and bugs, for the time being. I've been
told I'd need to make a spore print and have someone in the know look at it.
Who knows, maybe when I got those other lifeforms sorted out...
These demure things were also growing in a heavily mulched garden area (albeit one
that gets a good bit of sun). For what it's worth, the experts tell me this is
a Coprinus species. I'm just glad they chose to play in our garden.
This happy gathering appeared in mid-autumn in our side garden. It's fascinating
how different areas of the garden sprout different mushrooms - I haven't found
the same type in two different places yet.
Little brown things similar to, but not the same as the ones above, growing
in our lane area. According to one helpful GardenWebber, they are probably the
ubiquitous Panaeolus foenisecii, commonly found in lawns (or perhaps not:
see comment of 17 August 2012 below).
These marvellous donut-like contraptions were growing right in our front
yard. Can't you just tell that mowing the lawn is my top priority?
Two different ones popping out of the mulch in early June. Cute as buttons.
This white fungal mass popped up fairly suddenly in our seedling nursery area
in early August of the wet summer of 2009. Very firm (did not easily yield to
pinching finger pressure). I've not seen it before, and have no idea what it
These shelf fungi established themselves on the stump of a silver maple I
cut down a few years ago. New suckers continue to pop up from around the base of the stump,
but the top part is clearly dead and serving as fungal food.
Here's a sampling of the mushrooms we've found growing in our garden in
Texas. I'd be surprised if there was much difference between the fungal flora
in Pennsylvania and Texas, but I'm hardly an expert, so I'm taking care to
show my findings separately. More likely, it's the mulch materials brought into
the garden that determine which mushrooms grow – and on that front we
certainly have worked with different materials in the two states.
These grey jobbies with frilly-lined hoods popped up left and right in late
May, in areas where I had amended the soil with a "garden soil mix", a bagged
material containing mulchy and composty bits along with some sand.
Alien space ships! Or maybe just cool-looking big mushrooms. These suddenly
appeared in the heat of late summer (September), at the edge of a tree ring
mulched with a matting dark brown wood mulch as part of our new home's
landscaping package. I haven't seen any like it since then.
According to Jay's comment below, these mushrooms were Psilocybe cubensis,
a hallucinogenic variety that usually colonizes cow patties. Little did I know...
Around the same time as the space ships landed, I also noticed these
miniature cupcake liners. Or at least, that's what they looked like,
nestled in a different area mulched with the same material. They were
eagerly collecting seeds that were falling down from plants above. They
never turned into cupcakes, though...
If the ones above were alien space ships, then these blobs might be the alien
lifeforms. Looks like a loofah sponge up close, but more like the infamous
dog vomit fungus from a bit more of a distance.
This one looks like a little wooden bench. I wonder if the fairies come out
at night? Or perhaps it's just the toads – there certainly are plenty
of baby toads roaming our garden who could use such a stool.
And how about this cute one? A bouquet for your favorite goth girl!
These fellas take the decay chic a step too far, as far as I'm concerned.
Nifty fringes, for toads with a sense of style and sophistication.
A bunch of these clusters popped up in April in a newly cultivated,
unmulched garden border. Could have been designed by a Japanese animation
artist – mega-cute!
Visitors to this page have left the following comments
|Barbara||Jun 19, 2005||I have this strange substance in my garden. It happened overnight. It looks like a yellow foam, but more dense than foam. Can you tell me what this is?|
Sounds like dog vomit fungus. Take a look at this page and compare.
|Aaron||Jul 20, 2005||Very nice pics! Try planting them in the garden next year! www.fungiperfecti.com (one of many sites that sell kits)|
|Nancy||Aug 07, 2005||Thanks greatly for your slime mold pics and info.... ours just appeared on our mulch ofr the first time last week and I wondered if we had been invaded by aliens! Your info releives my mind...a bit....sounds like the thing to do is lift it off before it matures to spores ... if that might help. Hate to see this all summer - YUK!! |
|Pam||Nov 19, 2005||Please bear in mind that many fungi are quite toxic--a friend almost lost her dog to one in OR, and we are still thanking Whatever that the kid was not home, since he'll eat anything the dog does.
Just a reminder...your pictures are awesome! :)|
Thanks for the reminder, Pam
|Ken||Jun 15, 2007||I googled "yellow foam in the garden" and your website showed up. The dog vomit fungus was exactly what I was trying to figure out.
|Chloe||Jul 10, 2007||found the exact same in my garden near miscanthus and magnolia - both mulched. good information. i was fearing i was going to need another trip to home depot for more new chemicals. thanks for the info.|
|Donna||Oct 06, 2007||I have been looking for about a week to find out what is in my garden. Thanks to your site, I found out it is "Stinkhorn" fungus. Thanks for putting my mind at ease! Initially, I thought it was snakes!|
|Sally||Jan 02, 2008||Not a doctor, but raised by a doctor. Beautiful pictures of so many fungi, but so many fungi are poison to the human liver. Please continue to tell your fans to use gloves and wash very well if you touch fungi or mushrooms. The poison can be very toxic to children and acts quickly. Children should be warned and taught to "look but do not touch". |
|Carol||Mar 24, 2008||I live in the country near Lodi, Ca. This yellow foam is in my yard were there is only black plastic covered with rock. I used a rock to move it, it then turns red where touched. I had it in the same area last year. Question is, could it be toxic????
I don't believe so, but don't take my word for it. This page says it's relatively harmless, though.
|Affie Duggan||Apr 05, 2008||I have a strange looking fungus growing under my box wood scrub that looks like a freshly peel orange gather with white mushrooms and the mushrooms has orange subatance in the middle, can you tell me what this is.|
|Cynthia||Apr 17, 2008||Thanks for the wonderful pics. I was so afraid that it was some snake or reptile nesting in the mulch. |
|Heather||Aug 24, 2008||I have been trying to figure out what's groing at the base of my tree for about three months and since then, It's multiplied. It's yellow, slimy, and hard. When we first found it, I thought it was a mushroom because it was small. Then we tried stepping on it and all that did was make my foot slide off. IT'S AS HARD AS A ROCK. I have a two year old that plays around that tree and don't want her to because I don't know if it's poisonous or how to get rid of it. There's no mulch, but the tree roots do kind of come out of the ground. Thanks.|
|Gloria Perri||Sep 11, 2008||Are Stinkhorn Fungi poisonous? Ants and flies seem to love them. |
I'm not about to go eat one - but as far as I know contact with them is not harmful.
|David Hittinger||Nov 24, 2008||It should be noted that many species of mushroom are not deadly poison; many can make you sick if you ingest them but generally it is not fatal and is in fact food poisoning because of eating a rotten one. this goes for people and animals, generally, it is the members of the Amanita family which should be avoided, there are also a few LBM's or little brown mushrooms which are poison, but only two are deadly, one of which is the Lawn gallerenia there are only about five species of deadly ones in North America. None of the mushrooms pictured here as of November 24 2008 are deadly, although the bottom right one looks too close to a gallerenia for comfort. a main concern about the deadly ones is that they will not exhibit physical symptoms for a few days, and when they do it is because they have already destroyed the liver, but generally if you get sick right after ingestion, it is a placebo effect from belief that it is poison, or the fact is only mildly poison. Total, there are about 700 species here in PA, 5 are deadly, about 120 will just make you sick, and the rest are edible and actually quite tasty.|
|rob aptaker||Jan 21, 2009||The last mushroom on the left at the bottom of the page (growing out of the mulch) is Stropharia Rugosa Annulata -- commonly known as wine cap strophria or the garden giant (because they can reach 5lbs!). The specimen here is a little bit aged and faded. This is a wonderful mushroom for table, but I don't recommend that anyone try to ID this or any mushroom by comparing what you find with just one picture. There are multiple criteria for safe definitive confirmation of a mushroom.|
|Aly & Bill B||Jun 02, 2009||Holy cow the world wide web is amazing! My husband and I just got this dog vomit fungus in our garden and had no idea what it was or what to do. We typed in "vomit like fungus" and found your site! The explanation was fanyastic! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us! What a blessing!|
Try searching for "comely stinkhorn" sometime - that's a real sure shot to find this site!
|Rob & Andrea||Jun 02, 2009||Our landlord over-mulched a few weeks ago and we have a nice 2 ft patch of this slime mold. (Aly and Bill- what a coincidence this happened in your garden the same day- by any chance did you use the free much Arlington County provides?)|
|Chris Anderson||Jun 18, 2009||I Googled "Yellow Foam Fungus". I got your site the first time. Woohoo. I saw this yellow foam in my side yard where I had just Mulched 2 weeks ago. I used the "recycled plastic" bark like looking Mulch. I was a little frighten from this stuff. It looked alien like. I live in Lodi, CA.
Thank you for you pics and info.
I can sleep soundly tonight.|
|renee keihn||Jun 22, 2009||out of the blue got some o the ever lovin stinkhorn in the two front flower beds....smells like puppy poo!!!!!thanks for the great pic!!!|
|Karen G||Jul 14, 2009||So wonderful to know that I am not the only one to have this "Yellow Dog Vomit" (as I was calling it, who knew?) appear in their yard. But why this year, 2009? I had the pine mulch put down last spring 2008, nothing grew, and there was red colored whatever mulch down before that, nothing then either, when I first moved to NC in 2006 (and I have never seen this in NY or FL where I spent most of my 57 years). This is the first time this stuff has surfaced since I am here. Is it ALWAYS going to show up from now on or does it die out as the mulch gets older? It is so disgusting, I wanted to have all the mulch removed!!! Does anyone have any more info about this?|
|alan||Jul 27, 2009||i have a mushroom that fits the description i.e yellow and with a foam like texture but it is a mushroom shaped almost like a field mushroom growing in my back garden, any ideas what this could be?|
|lorra||Nov 04, 2009||I noticed some slime mould areas on our newly landscaped border this past summer, but they were pure white, as if maybe some white, angelic dogs had barfed. Is this another species, or did I just get lucky?|
Most likely a different species. I haven't seen the white kind - you must be special :-)
|Brenda||Jul 24, 2010||I guess I am just a nature lover, of all of God's Creation. But I have always found Mushrooms Fasanating. I enjoyed your web-site tremendously, and your since of humor. I look forward to more pics and Info.|
|Keith||Jul 27, 2010||I am trying to start a mushroom garden. I got 10 yards of free fresh wood chips because I agreed to take the whole load. After making a 12 by 12 bed of chips I put fungus from a kit down. They called them Composter Mushrooms but I think they are "Stropharia rugosoannulata". After a month under a tarp I am getting what I think is "Coprinus" popping up like mad, but none of the "Wine Cap" mushrooms.|
|KC in California||Aug 05, 2010||Thank you! We just got a new puppy and the very next day the dog vomit fungus showed up, and I knew he wasn't the guilty party. Your website really helped, although my fungus is not growing on mulch but in several patches on my front lawn. Could the gardener's lawn mower have brought in the spores? |
I would guess so, although I think that the best way to control it is not preventing spores but eliminating conditions that are favorable to its growth. I've not heard of it occurring in lawns - do you have decaying organic matter on or in the top layer of the soil?
|Nancy||Sep 24, 2010||I found a round (like a small golf ball) things on the edges of my garden and now in my lawn. They have no stem and have like a small white almost powdery substance that falls off of them when touched (With a stick of course). What the heck are they????|
|Don Farrar||Oct 07, 2010||I found something that looks like a brown rock in my flower border, which is mostly shaded but gets about 1 hour of sun on a sunny day. When I touched it a brown cloud or spores exploded into the air, and drifted away on the wind. I used a plastic bag to remove it, but there is a brown "footprint" whare it was. Very sinister-looking. What is it?|
|jamie||Nov 09, 2010||in my wood chippings in the garden there are perfect round purple/grey looking mushrooms. i keep pulling them out but they keep growing back|
|Bonnie||Mar 16, 2011||Steve's description and photos of Dog Vomit Fungus just made me laugh but also "hit the nail on the head" to identify the new (to me, anyway) stuff in my flowerbed. I googled "yellow foamy stuff growing on tree," and this site came up. Thanks so much for this great informational site and thanks to its contributors!|
|Frank||May 02, 2011||Had trouble with yellow slime mold last year (both on mulch and in the yard.)
This year I got the idea to spray it with a 1:3 (approx) Clorox dilution. Somewhat like the wicked witch of the west, it melted. All that's left after a day or so is a dark brown bit that sort of matches the mulch.
I intend to keep an eye on my experiment. I think I'm on to something, though. Remains to be seen whether this kills grass; haven't had it crop up on the lawn this year yet.|
|Kim||Jul 07, 2011||I just discovered the pale orange frothy substance at the base of a sunflower. I thought it was a mass of some type of eggs. I put the hose to it and it looked black underneath. I was afraid a snake would come out so I ran. I told my daughter we either had fish eggs or dog vomit in the garden. Then I did my search for orange frothy stuff in the garden. Thank you for the information. It was very helpful.|
|Dawn in northern New Mexico||Jul 10, 2011||Great information, thanks! I found the perplexing dog vomit fungus on my potato hugel pile today and googled "potato foam in my garden". It smelled like potatoes too, fresh ones. Dingdingding, tell her what she's won, Johnny! |
|Angy||Jul 10, 2011||I have a mushroom like plants in my garden. I noticed it this afternoon as I was watering my garden. In the process of watering, I noticed brown powder flying in the air and landing on my vegetables. the fungi or the mushroom was brown in color. Does anyone know what it really is and if it it dangerous? |
Yep, sounds like a fungus (which would include mushrooms). While I wouldn't eat it without properly identifying, I don't think I'd be concerned over the dust/spores landing on the veggies. Just hose them off for now, and clean them as you would any other produce after you harvest them, and they should be fine.
|rosie||Aug 12, 2011|| ubiquitous Panaeolus foenisecii are they dangerous if eaten?|
|GH||Sep 25, 2011||lorra, from Nov.4,2009 - the Fungus that looks like "Dog Slime Vomit" except it's white is a" Saprophytic mold" it looks similar to melted marshmallows. It's active around woody ornamertals It is harmless but hard to get rid of.|
|Cathy Woodyard||Oct 02, 2011||My dad discovered ball-shaped growths in his yard. They grow in clusters no larger than the freshly mown lawn is high. They have a "husk" that slips off easily, but inside is a white slimy looking ballbigger than a large olive, but smaller than a ping pong ball. They grow in clusters. Been looking, but can't find anything. Any ideas? |
Not me. Sounds intriguing, though.
|Jabin||Oct 20, 2011||i found some mushrooms outside my door and they have a brown top with like slime on it and on the bottom it is like a sponge please tell me what kind they are|
|Linda||Feb 20, 2012||I have a variety of fungii growing in my yard, though I confess I have not taken great care when pulling them out of the soil. I CAN, though through a little enlightenment on some of the dog-vomit fungus. One source was cypress mulch that came out of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. It was tainted with some nasty fungus, and I remember reading warnings to avoid it. As I noted that it seemed to show up in a variety of mulches referenced here on your page, it seems to be quite resourceful . . . I haven't tried it yet, but I've read that cinnamon is an antimicrobial that can be effective on molds. Might be worth a try. I enjoyed the pics. :-)|
|User_7||Aug 17, 2012||I'm pretty sure your Panaeolus foenisecii aren't. Panaeolina foenisecii (the newest name for them) lack the striate margin of your mushrooms and grow from grass, not wood chips. Psathyrella seems more likely, though I'm not sure.
@ Rosie P. foenisecii are often listed as hallucinogenic, however this is no longer believed to be true. Some people report diarrhea after eating a lot, but generally they are harmless. There is however an extremely similar looking mushroom called Panaeolus cinctulus which is hallucinogenic. Mistaken identity is very likely the reason P. foenisecii was thought to be.|
Thanks for the info!
|Shirleen Ferguson||Sep 05, 2012||I have noticed the tall upright light orange and beige fungus popping up all around my garden. I have started to spray some insecticide. Is this okay and what can I do to get rid of this ugly mess. Flies are starting to accumulate around my yard from these parasites.|
Insecticide may kill the flies, but probably won't get rid of the fungus. A fungicide may work – but most likely the fruiting bodies of the fungi are just about ready to collapse anyway. Note that they are not "parasites": they derive their nutrition from dead plant matter. They won't harm anything, even if you don't like the looks of them.
|katie||Oct 30, 2013||first time ever to see stinkhorn fungi. also first time to use cedar mulch |
|jay||Oct 20, 2017||the "space ship" which never returned i'm very certain was psilocybe cubensis. had to do with the mulch somehow. it really shoud only grow from dung, explains why it's never returned. that's a sought after halluninogenic one. would have taken you right to space.|
Thanks! It's always cool to identify life forms in the garden, and this one was rather unexpected!
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April 14, 2018