Today I passed by a bed I have laying fallow. It is terribly weedy and consists of wood chips inoculated with Wine Caps and a layer of rabbit litter on top. The Wine Caps did not produce last year like I had hoped. Recently we have had some very warm (90+) muggy, humid weather with occasional sudden rainstorms.
It would seem logical that the mushrooms would be Wine Caps but they certainly don’t appear to be Wine Caps to me. I got two small flushes. The mushrooms are slightly conical and have white gills (the lighting in the picture makes it look dark, but it is actually very light).
I bought a little mushroom ID app and it only added to my confusion. The app narrowed the list to 3 mushrooms: Scaly Shield, Deer, or Stealth Mushrooms. All grow on wood which is logical as they are growing on wood chips. The first two are listed as edible, while the Stealth Mushroom is a different genus entirely and contains the same toxin as the death cap!
Just for reference, I have no plans on actually eating these mushrooms, but some references I have read stated that even handling them can be dangerous. Is this actually true? Or maybe if I handled the dangerous mushroom and then ate something (thus ingesting the toxin orally) might be the route of poisoning?
At any rate if someone could lend a hand I certainly would appreciate the assistance.
My preliminary conclusion is that I have Big Sheath Mushrooms. My reasoning (based on a Wikipedia article—feel free to comment/critique) is that according to the article, the mushrooms can appear in thick clusters, may appear suddenly after years of sitting and may sit years more before another fruiting. And they like to grow on piles of wood chips.
I have one cluster of 3-4 mushrooms packed closely together and this is the first I have seen of these mushrooms since I built this bed 3 years ago (though it was inoculated with Wine Caps so I wonder what happened there). And of course, these are growing on about 12”-15” of wood chips.
I looked this one up in Mushrooms Demystified, too. Does it have a sac-like cup at the base? Is the spore print pinkish? Does the stem lack a ring? If the answer is yes to these three questions, I think you have some Big Sheath Mushrooms. Although listed as edible, certainly not worth it. My rule is never eat any wild mushrooms from internet ID alone. There have been several fatalities where immigrants mistook white Amanita mushrooms for relatives of the Big Sheath Mushroom.
And in case the spores are white and you might have an Amanita of some kind, I would not worry about getting poisoned by handling them or inhaling spores. Just don't eat them!!
"In action, watch the timing."-Tao Te Ching
"Jus' Press"-Ledward Kaapana
The answer to your questions is “yes” except for the spore print which I have not done yet—things need to dry out first. But the gills are all pink and not white, suggesting it is not an Amanita variety.
One factor that is driving me towards the Big Sheath is that it is growing in clumps on partially decomposed wood chips whereas the Destroying Angels usually need a live root.
And I now know that handling alone is not toxic. But I don’t plan on eating them anyways.