Toadstools or Mushrooms?

 

Would you eat these?

 

Same mushrooms, side view.

Same mushrooms, side view.

Another view, from the top.

Another view, from the top.

 

“There is no fool-proof test that can be used for all mushrooms. Those species of mushrooms that are edible are known to be edible because someone at one time had tried it and discovered it to be safe to eat.” —University of Hawaii
Another mushroom (toadstool)

Another mushroom (toadstool?)

 

These beautiful specimens are growing here in our campground and I had to photograph them. Maybe Alice in Wonderland might sample a morsel but there is no way I would do anything but admire them through a camera lense.

Same one up close

Same one up close

I researched mushrooms and toadstools trying to identify these beauties but there are so many “lookalikes”  out there that only a trained professional could tell the difference.

Toadstool or Mushroom?

Toadstool or Mushroom?

The terms “mushroom” and “toadstool” are purely unscientific labels for different varieties of fungus. There is no real scientific difference , the two terms have come to mean different things for most people. The name “toadstool” is often given to those fungi that are inedible or poisonous, while “mushrooms” are generally thought to be safe to eat.

 

Up close

Up close

 

Toadstools were once believed to be exactly that—places that toads liked to sit. And since toads were also thought to be poisonous or carriers of disease, that quality transferred to the fungi they were said to favor. The term “toadstool” dates back to the 14th century and has also been recorded as “tadstoles.” Toadstools were also rumored to be a food source for the less-than-savory animals, sometimes called  “toad’s meat,” “toad’s cap,” or “toad’s cheese.”

 

Definitely of the fungus family. Probably non poisonous, but also probably inedible Two different things.

Definitely of the fungus family. Probably non poisonous, but also probably inedible Two different things.

What is important to remember about toadstools and mushrooms:

 They are the same and no scientific distinction exists between them.
  • They cannot be defined by shape, color, or appearance; there is no standard differentiation    between them.
  • Mushrooms aren’t fungi with caps and stems while toadstools lack caps and stems.
  • Fungi are not defined by toxicity level: anything classed as either may be nontoxic, mildly toxic, hallucinogenic (magic mushroom?) or extremely poisonous.
  • Never eat anything classed as toadstool or mushroom without having it examined by a professional mushroom hunter.
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