Mushrooms sprouting all over Northland

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Mushrooms are sprouting seemingly out of nowhere, and the recent rain is to blame.

“Each one has its own little range of conditions that it likes,” explained Mushroom Identifier Ron Spinosa. “One of the things, if you’re going to go collecting and you want to figure out where to go, ‘chase the rain’ is a slogan that some people use.”

This summer’s drought made it difficult for mushrooms to thrive.

“Most of the fungus lives underneath the ground, typically the forest floor, but the mushroom is called the fruiting body, so it’s the reproductive organ of the fungus,” said Biologist Eric Singsaas. “Those are most successful when it gets wet, so when they detect wet, when there’s rain, then you get the fruiting body sprouting out of the ground.”

The moisture in the air, combined with the warm start to fall, has created ideal conditions for mushrooms.

“Mushrooms are inside-out animals, so they do their digestion on the outside of their bodies, and they absorb nutrients from their environment and into them,” explained Singsaas.

Although a variety of mushroom species are sprouting across the Northland, experts advise against foraging without the help of a guide.

“You should never, ever eat a wild mushroom unless you’ve got it positively, absolutely identified down to species level,” emphasized Spinosa.

“Most importantly, the ones that you see with the red caps on them, they’re called amanita, and those are the most toxic ones that we have regionally around here,” added Singsaas.

There are, however, some edible species that are easy to recognize. The ‘Safe Six’ are: Morel, Chicken of the Woods, Hen of the Woods, Giant Puffball, Shaggy Mane, and Oyster.

Most mushrooms are toxic to pets. Call Poison Control or a vet if your pet digests unknown mushrooms, and try to keep a sample handy for identification purposes.