Mushrooms, Toadstools and Other Fun Fungi

I get a lot of questions from people wondering if mushrooms and toadstools are of any great risk to their landscapes.

The answer is almost always “No,” because they are saprophytic funguses, meaning that they gain their sustenance from decaying organic matter, not from living plant tissues. So I just let them stay in my landscape. Usually they’re gone in just a day or two.

A circle or partial circle of mushrooms is called a “fairy ring.”

A circle or partial circle of mushrooms is called a “fairy ring.”


When a mushroom sheds its spores, they spread like ripples on a pond. The following year, they create a “fairy ring” of new mushrooms. Nitrogen is tied up in their systems for a few days, but it’s then released as the mushrooms wither and die. Net result: a week or two of curiosity, but nothing is harmed in the process.

As to whether these are poisonous or not, yes, some definitely are, so for that reason alone you might want to hoe or break them off if you have pets or children who might want to sample them.

Last year I had a ton of questions about mushrooms on my Facebook page. There were lots more this spring due to all the spring rains both years. So I invited my Facebook friends to post their favorite photos, and these are some of the best of the couple of hundred they put up. Almost all of these are from Texas.

Mycologists study these primitive plants. It must be pretty fascinating.





Posted by Neil Sperry
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