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Poisonous mushrooms(?) and freezing temps?

 
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Hi,

We have had a lot of mushrooms pop up in our large yard lately. I have a toddler and am nervous about him potentially accidentally ingesting what could be a poisonous mushroom. I have sent some samples to a diagnostic lab at an academic institution but it could be up to two weeks to get results. In the meantime, I'm wondering about how to manage my nervousness (other than keeping him out of our yard until we know the results, which family members are not as thrilled about). Does mowing (which we haven't done in a few weeks) kill the mushrooms? It's supposed to be close to or below freezing temps this weekend. Would that kill them and make them not concerning if my toddler got to them somehow?
(Just a note: We do supervise our child closely but there is always the possibility a child could quickly grab one up that we didn't see until it was too late...)

Thank you for any thoughts.
 
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Hi Kay,

Death by poisonous mushroom ingestion is almost non-existent.  Mostly because even the poisonous ones really only make you nauseous.  That being said, mowing will knock down existing mushrooms, but a good rain will bring them back depending on the type.  Freezing will stop most fungi from growing so you should be safe soon.  Also, I suspect that you have only one, maybe two varieties popping up in your yard, so I would do a few quick internet searches and find out what you have.  They are probably edible.  Being familiar with the species will give you a better jumping off point for future action.  
 
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I am not a mushroom expert by ANY means, but I do know that the part of  the mushroom you see is just the reproductive part. Under the ground is a bunch of mycelium (like roots), which is the actual body of the mushroom. The mushrooms I see that pop up in my yard usually just last a few days: they sprout up, send their spoors out, and then start to decompose pretty rapidly. Most lawn mushrooms only really pop up for like a week or two and then their reproductive season is over. If you mow, you'll cut them down and they'll start to decompose even faster. They'll probably pop back up next year, but by then (hopefully) you're little one will be past the I'm-gonna-stick-everything-I-see-in-my-mouth phase and you can train them to not eat them, but rather enjoy looking at them...or merrily stomping them.

I don't know where you live, or if your lawn mushrooms are like those around here, but mowing should probably get rid of them, especially if you have a bag attached to your mower and can dump all the clippings away from the lawn. A few more might pop up from other mushroom "plants,"--just mow again. In a week or two the mushrooms will hopefully be done with their reproductive season and you won't have to worry about them until next year.
 
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There are a few kinds of mushrooms that usually cause liver failure.

I'm in a Mushroom ID group on Facebook. There are some mycologists on the site and many very experienced amateurs. I can't think of the name. I will look it up.
 
Ken W Wilson
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The Facebook group is called the Mushroom Identification Forum. They have 110,000 members.
 
Ken W Wilson
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Oh I should add that the odds are good that they are harmless. I would really want to know for sure though. If you could even learn that you have good edibles in your yard.  Can you post pictures? Top, side, and a vertical cross section.
 
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I'm sorry but really you have to teach the toddler to not eat everything in sight. While lawn mushrooms are unlikely to be deadly there are some that can have interesting results, the classic magic mushroom grows in grassland. I can say with 99% certainty that you will have at least ONE (probably many) deadly plants in your garden unless you just have paving. Everytime you take him out of the house he has access to things that are dangerous (and quite often in the house as well) Teach him not to eat everything rather than trying to micromanage the environment. As to the mushrooms you can mow them off but they will come back. there is no way to remove them from the lawn permanetly, frost may stop them, it depends on the type, some will also appear in the spring.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Skandi Rogers wrote:I'm sorry but really you have to teach the toddler to not eat everything in sight.  



I think this is easier with some toddlers than with others. My son did not put anything in his mouth, and learned really early on that, daffodils (for examples) were
'Blegh!' and dandelions were "Om-y-Nom-y." My daughter puts EVERYTHING in her mouth, no matter how many times I tell her "No," and that it's "Blegh," she hasn't figured it out.  I pretty much have to watch her like a hawk any time we're outside.

With little ones, there's often a span of time when you're teaching a child not to do something that they will still try to do it...because them trying and you telling them "No," is part of the teaching process. During that span of time, one can either remove the object that's a "No" (whether that be mowing the mushrooms or blocking off a woodstove or putting covers on an outlet) or one can watch a child every second of the day to ensure they don't do it, or to teach them it's a "no" when they try. Sometimes, it's just not possible to do the latter, especially with that precarious age when they start walking and when their cognitive abilities mature more (like 6 months to two years), or when things are really chaotic and the parent just has a lot to do and needs to know the child is safe playing on the lawn while the parent cleans/gardens/cooks/pays bills/changing another kid's diaper/whatever other thing the parent is juggling.
 
 
Kay Jean
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I received the report from the mushroom identification lab and this is what they said:
"The specimen received is most likely the mushroom on the genus Lepiota spp or  
the lepiotoid group, see http://www.mushroomexpert.com/lepiotoid.html
Lepiotoid mushrooms are hard to identify to species as their group taxonomy  
remains convoluted and in flux."

I haven't found this to be all that helpful and was hoping some of you experts may have more information (I'm also posting a separate new post about this in the fungi forum on this website). Do you know anything about this type of mushroom and its toxicity and level of concern about it.  Any good, reputable websites to learn more?  When I start the google search on my own, I feel a bit unsure about what is the best trustworthy sites to answer my basic question which is: If my child somehow accidentally ingested this, is it lethal or what are the symptoms/concerns?

Nicole, I appreciate your kind reply to one of the other posts. I am definitely teaching my son not to eat things in his environment, but obviously toddlers test boundaries and some take more support in the learning process. I would hate for his learning process to involve something that could be toxic/deadly and so I'd rather know how to shape his environment from those things (e.g., like you said, the covers on outlets as he learns not to touch them).

Thank you for any help now that I have new/more information!
 
Ken W Wilson
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I'm surprised they couldn't be more specific.
 
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Do you have any photos? Would need a good image of the cap, the underside, and the stem if possible. Also for ID purposes, if you try to "bruise" the stem and cap after initial photos can be helpful.  Some mushrooms will "bruise" bright colors when pressed on which can help with ID. Also, if you can take a sample, and cut it in half, lengthwise, and include a photo of that, the stalk can be informative too.
 
Kay Jean
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Here are some photos! We no longer have these samples because we sent them in so I can't try the bruising or cutting it open part, unfortunately. I'm going to check our property for any others later today, but it seems like the ones are no longer in the main place they had been before. How quickly do mushrooms decompose??  It'd still be helpful for me to know the species in case they come back though.
Thanks again!

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Kay Jean
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I did find about 40 of the mushrooms in various parts of our yard. A lot of them had started to get brown, a bit slimy-like, and looking like they were dying(?). We pulled the ones we found and threw them away but did not have a chance to check the whole yard. A few were still “younger” looking but the majority looked like they were dying...
 
Denise Kersting
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There are some in the genus Lepiota that are listed as poisonous I didn't check all of them, and I can't make an ID for certain for you on that one, there are quite a few that have similar specs and as a newbie to mushrooms I wouldn't feel confident in any ID. I'd pull up all the ones you see and toss them in the trash or compost them. At least with most mushrooms after a short while their flush for the season is over and you won't see them till next year (if they ever do come back). I can understand your concern, I don't have a toddler, but I do have young cat that keeps me on my toes (she likes to chew up and attack mushrooms, and pulls habaneros out of basket if I set it down after picking & carry them all over the house hiding them, and of course she carries them in her mouth!) so I'd play it safe and keep the little one inside till you can do a scan of the yard, and get rid of them if you think your baby might try to sample them.
 
Ken W Wilson
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Denise Kersting
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I don't think it's a fawn if a lab already said most likely in the genus Lepiota, again there are several in the Lepiota that are not safe for consumption. The most important rule with mushrooms is when in doubt, throw it out! We tossed a perfectly good old man of the woods earlier this season due to lack of knowledge, but I have no regrets as my husband and I didn't ingest something unknown or harmful.  If you aren't 100% on a mushroom id, then it is not worth the risk (in my opinion for what its worth).
 
Ken W Wilson
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I definitely don't think you should eat them, but I don't have a lot of faith in that lab either.

I don't mean that they are Fawns just that I think they could be. They could be Lepiotas. The lab really wasn't helpful at all.
 
Ken W Wilson
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It looks like the ring rules out fawn mushrooms.

I can't find a Lepiota with that coloration, but it could be a less common species that's not in my books.
 
Ken W Wilson
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Kay Jean, do you mind if I put your pictures on Facebook to see if anyone can ID them?
 
Kay Jean
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Thank you for your thoughts and efforts. Ken, sure—if you know of others that might be able to identify them then I’d be interested to hear their thoughts. I was pretty disappointed with the vagueness of the lab results. But I also have heard IDing by photo is hard so that’s why I thought sending them in might help.

Thanks again!
 
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A coworker once told me that her first husband died from eating a poisonous mushroom.
"First husband" I asked her,"so you remarried?"
"He died from a gunshot wound" she said.
"Gunshot??" I asked.
"Yes" she said."he wouldn't eat the mushroom"
 
Ken W Wilson
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I'm putting them on Facebook now. They are going to want to know what part of the world you are in?
 
Kay Jean
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Thanks, Ken. Sorry for the delay. We are in the US, in the Midwest.
 
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