Crazy Plant Things I See

There is a Fungus Among Us: Fungi in My Mississippi Garden


One of my favorite pizzas to order just for myself is Fungus Amongus at Tiny Tim’s Pizza on the beautiful square in Fayetteville, Arkansas. GO HOGS! It was a staple during my undergraduate and graduate school years (especially after I met my husband to be), whenever I could afford to eat out. Now, when I make a visit to town and pop up to the square, I head into the West Mountain Brewing Company (connected to Tim’s), belly up to the bar, and order a fresh pint and my favorite pizza. On occasion old friends and UA Alumni stop in to visit and break bread together.  But I digress…

I love mushrooms. My husband does not. A few years ago I purchased some identification books on edible mushrooms to help me out. All That The Rain Promises and More by David Arora and Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America by David W. Fischer and Alan E. Bessette.  Beautiful books.  The problem is that I believe I mostly have NON-EDIBLE fungi in my yard. So those two books are not really the help I need.  Or are they? And well, to be honest, when it comes to harvesting wild and not 100% identified items from the yard to ingest, you don’t want to mess around. The other mushroom book that I have was given to me by someone (let’s be honest, it was my Mom, always thinking of me) who rescued it from the trash dumpster of the grade school in my home town. A nice hardback copy of The Mushroom Handbook by Louis C.D. Krieger, copyright 1967. It has a few color plates, but isn’t exactly laid out in a taxonomic key fashion.


What I really need is a mushroom class with an expert where I can take notes and photos and become more confident. Then I can reap the rewards of eating what I find, but also being able to correctly identify even the non-edible fungi.

I have a relatively shady yard and garden. Throughout the year I am greeted with a wide array of fungi, or mushrooms of all sorts. I imagine that after dark my garden is filled with pixies and sprites dancing and having a delightful time.

With a few years having passed since my book purchases, I had supposed I would have identified nearly every fungi/mushroom growing on my one acre. I have failed. Therefore I am going to go ahead and start posting photos of what I find! Because either I will eventually get them identified, or someone who sees this will help me out. I still don’t think I would eat anything identified over the internet unless it was by an expert, someone with considerable experience. You know, I just don’t want to spend my mushroom-eating years DEAD. 😉

Photos taken Saturday August 18, 2018. (We had been receiving some rain, finally.) I attempted to take two images of each mushroom for identification, one with side view of caps and one with top view. In some photos I used a garden trowel or my hand for scale.

IMG_20180819_141323 IMG_20180819_141436


IMG_20180819_141515 IMG_20180819_141605


IMG_20180819_141717 IMG_20180819_141819

Next: We have watched squirrels, harvest these and just go to town on them while sitting on our porch. I’m pretty sure it was this one anyway…. I took photos last August, but I’d have to go and dig into my hard drive to be certain. So to quote from one of my favorite movies, “Hey, Dr. Jones, No time for love”.

IMG_20180819_131042 IMG_20180819_141912





IMG_20180819_131430 IMG_20180819_142125






IMG_20180819_132157 IMG_20180819_132243




IMG_20180819_132421 IMG_20180819_132501


IMG_20180819_132610 IMG_20180819_132724


IMG_20180819_132805 IMG_20180819_132839


IMG_20180819_132937 IMG_20180819_133041

Next: (I think this is the same species as one of the first sets of images I included)


Next: (huge! my hand and then my husband’s hand for scale)

IMG_20180819_133214 IMG_20180819_133431



Well, that’s it. All of the images here were just in my front yard. I didn’t even make it to the backyard before the next round of rain started.  My location is Mississippi Gulf Coast, about a half hour north of the beach zone, but closer to Louisiana. If that helps with identification.

I found a pretty cool site Saturday:  The Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club. They had a nice page on species found in Mississippi. I think at least one set of the larger mushrooms are Bolete genus?

So while my husband does not like mushrooms, he does enjoy making pizza, even when I hand him sliced mushrooms for my half. Hopefully someday I will be able to harvest edible wild mushrooms for my own tasty pizza at home.

Your Shroomy Friend!

The Garden Maiden


All images and text copyright 2018 The Garden Maiden

Categories: Crazy Plant Things I See, Fungi/Mushrooms/Mycology, Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils | Tags: , , , , ,

The Garden Carnage of Monday Morning Shark Week


Pulling these from my Twitter feed for Monday morning July 23, 2018:

So here it is Monday morning when a melancholy stroll through the garden is interrupted by #SharkWeek Sharks eating chive flowers, bat face cuphea, sharks swimming thru the lawn.



I tried to run from #SharkWeek sharks in my garden, but they were everywhere. Sharks eating organically grown cucumbers (Sumter), green Paul Robeson tomatoes, and attacking my scarecrow.




Unbelievably, #SharkWeek sharks even attacked my garden fish sculpture and my defenseless garden gnome. Pure garden carnage. What a Monday morning!



With all the #SharkWeek garden carnage this Monday morning, even the Rudbeckia in my pollinator garden was not safe. Though, in the shark’s defense, it did look tasty.


After witnessing all that, I went back inside for some online education in photography, water gardens and pollinators as part of some courses I am enrolled in.

Later I needed to take the dogs out to go potty. Just when I think it is safe to go back out into the garden, #SharkWeek sneak attack at the mailbox on my Passiflora vine as I reach for my mail.  The flower just opened today. Died so young.


Beware of lawn sharks and teach your garden gnomes self-defense.

Yours in #SharkWeek gardening,

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2018 The Garden Maiden


Categories: Crazy Plant Things I See, Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils, Vegetable Crops, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Ooooh, that smell, the smell of death surrounds you” Clathrus!

Stinkhorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014__RStafne-005a_WEB

Stinkhorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014__RStafne-005a_WEB

“Ooooh that smell
Can’t you smell that smell
Ooooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you”
Lynyrd Skynyrd – That Smell Lyrics

Last week, in my Blooming in My Yard post, I included a nasty little thing called a stinkhorn. A few days after taking the photo, the mushroom was gone, thank goodness. So it came as a surprise this morning, whilst sweeping my patio and throwing bits of dead plant debris into a nearby raised bed, that my nostrils were suddenly accosted by some offensive odor. At first I assumed I was catching an occasional drift from the nearby blooming pear trees (another notoriously nasty spring smell). However, as I continued to sweep and gag, I decided to poke around the nearby flower beds.

That’s when I spotted it, another stinkhorn! I must have hit it with a piece of plant debris and encouraged it to release its stench more quickly or perhaps just more concentrated toward my general direction.

Stinkhorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014__RStafne-005a_WEB

Stinkhorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014__RStafne-005a_WEB

It looked a wee bit different from the Clathrus columnatus I found last week growing out in the yard, but yet they are the same species. There is variation in how they appear. The link above will connect you to Good information!

Stinkhorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014__RStafne-005a_WEB

Stinkhorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014__RStafne-005a_WEB

Notice the brown mucous/wet mud-looking stuff inside.  I have to admit, if you look at a close-up, I could have perhaps began this post by telling you I had cooked up a strawberry gelatin desert with chocolate pudding on the inside. Would you have said “oooh and ahhh” as you imagined each tasty bite? Ha ha ha , but I digress.

Now, as a scientist, I ask myself, what makes them appear in my yard or flower bed?  Most plants like this that appear and disappear grow during periods of heavy rainfall or during a drought…environmental triggers that tell the plants “its time to roll”. Of course, most of us know that plants that stink to high hell do so to attract pollinators! For example, what kind of things are attracted to rotted meat? …Exactly.

There is a 2013 post from Dr. Dan Gill, LSU Ag Center Horticulture Specialist, in the online newspaper with the Times Picayune. The article is titled, “Too Much Rain Can Be Stressful”.  He is their garden columnist and provides wonderful information. In it you will see another image of octopus or squid stinkhorn (Clathrus columnatus). That image looks a bit more like my image from last week.  Dan adds some useful information regarding this species: Fortunately, stinkhorn fungi do not cause plant disease or injure ornamental plants. They simply grow as saprophytes, obtaining their nutrients by decaying dead plant material, such as wood mulch, buried wood debris or rotting dead tree roots. There are no chemical control measures. Fungicides available at nurseries will not eliminate this fungus. However, to reduce the likelihood of their reappearance, you can try to limit their food supply. Hardwood bark mulch can be removed and replaced with pine needles, or try to dig up and get rid of buried wood or large dead tree roots.” 

For me, these mushrooms are an occasional nuisance, and certainly nothing to get excited about. If I were, say, hosting a party on the patio today, I would grab my shovel, remove the offender and throw it over in some remote corner of my yard. You might be able to play a “good” practical joke on someone with one of these too.

To get a bit more botanical, I will tell you these particular mushrooms I have shared are a member of the Clathraceae family, but stinkhorns in general can be of Clatheraceae or Phallaceae. goes into some great detail and mentions the battle of classification for this mushrooms, battles that sometimes exits in the plant taxonomic world. On their website there is a great page with images folks have submitted. I am sure if you think you have a stinkhorn, you will find a similar image on that album page. So check it out. Some of them are very beautiful and some are very naughty-looking (phallic).

Well, another hour has passed of me working on this blog post when I was supposed to be working on my raised beds and planting seed! I hope that someone will get something useful or entertaining out of this post about the stinkhorn.

One final note, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast or surrounding regions you might consider joining The Gulf States Mycological Society, if you have a good interest in all things shroomy! Well, maybe not ALL things shroomy. 🙂

Another great resource is Dr. Juan Luis Mata at the University of South Alabama. He typically speaks and leads a mushroom walk at The Crosby Arboretum in the late summer.

Keep Growin’
The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

Categories: Crazy Plant Things I See, Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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