A Conversation for Mushrooms that Kill Humans
ITIWBS Started conversation Mar 7, 2008
I'm personally terrified of nearly all of them. There are only five kinds of wild mushrooms I'll eat, and I won't tell which ones for fear someone might make a mistake and lay the blame to me.
I suppose I could go to slime molds I've known.
The first one I made the acquaintance of, a big orange one, while fording a snow melt mountain stream, putting my foot in it up to the ankle. Though I was assiduously careful to clean and sanitize my shoe afterward, it quickly crumbled to dust, probably an enzymatic effect. (At least it didn't do that to my foot.)
Then there were the small orange ones that kept coming up the terrarium where I was keeping my red salamanders. I thought those rather amusing and made an effort to train them and teach them tricks. Unfortunately, whenever stressed they'd transform over to their sporophyte phase (looking like tiny black stalked mushrooms with hairy little white heads).
The most interesting ones I've ever seen were a tetrasexual chitin slime mold I first mistook for scale insects on spider plants that had escaped from a flower bed and established themselves as leading contributers to the lawn. (Just so long as they were mowed regularly the spider plants were distinguishable from the Saint Augustine and Bermuda grass and papyrus reeds in the lawn on close examination and contributed about an equal volume of ground cover to each of the other three leading contributers.) At any rate the slime molds in this population were quite uniform in size and shape, roughly ovoid, about 1/4 inch long by 1/8 inch wide and had gray chitinous pellicles stippled with 1/32 inch black dots on their backs.
The premier slime mold in my experience though, the slimiest of them all, is a cocoa brown variety found growing from cracks in rotting logs in pea sized globules. It looks as though it ought to have some substance, ought to be palpable, but if touched or handled proves to be the loosest form of slime imaginable.
I'll be out photographing the spring mushrooms but I won't be sampling them. I don't have to eat them to admire them for their good looks.
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