Mushroom Identification Help?
June 12, 2009 6:49 PM   Subscribe

What are these mushrooms that are growing in my houseplant?

Overnight these mushrooms seem to have sprouted in my Dracaena marginata plant. They are about 2 inches high and the caps are gray and ribbed with tan tips. They look a lot like limpets.
What are they and should I be worried about my plant?
Should I keep this one far from my other plants?
I am guessing this means I overwatered?
What should I do about them- dig them out or ignore them?
Can I eat them?
posted by rmless to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
Those are LBMs. Little Brown Mushrooms. I don't think a firm ID could be done just from that photo. There are all kinds of detailed info you'd need to get: how are the gills attached? what color spore print? does it have any smell? Etc. Though someone with more experience than me might be able to give a good guess.

In any case, they are tiny so they probably aren't worth eating and ... without a firm ID you probably don't want to be. :)

That said, overwatering probably isn't it -- some spores just got into your dirt and formed a fungus! The fungus might even have been there before you planted your plants depending on where you got your dirt.

I don't think you need worry about them though as long as your plant is looking healthy. Pluck them out or leave them. Note that the fungus itself is still there -- it's in the mycelium network in the soil. It might even be a fungus that is good for your plant!
posted by R343L at 7:28 PM on June 12, 2009

Thanks, gills are not attached, only at the very tip of the triangle.
No smell so far.
posted by rmless at 7:31 PM on June 12, 2009

Those appear to be some variety of Coprinus -- maybe Mica Caps (Coprinus micaceus) (here's another example, and another, and another). If the caps "deliquesce" into into shriveled up, inky black messes, they're definitely Coprinus.

If it is a Coprinus, it's a saprophyte, not a parasite. They grow on dead wood -- probably there are some small wood chips in that soil, which they've grown on. You can probably ignore them.

Don't eat them. Most Coprinus species are not out-and-out poisonous, but 1) they're not particularly good tasting, and 2) a chemical in them can react strongly with any alcohol you drink and make you sick up to a few days after you've eaten them.
posted by cog_nate at 8:10 PM on June 12, 2009

It's a piss poor identification but I would say, just from the photo, that they are Monks Caps. And, having just looked up that name, I find I can't find any reference to it so I may be wrong. In any event, these are common, poison to humans, and completely harmless unless eaten. I often find them on the lawn. Like R343L commented, pluck them out if you like, before they get dead and slime-up.
posted by johnj at 8:16 PM on June 12, 2009

On review, what cog_nate said. (I used a common and local name for them)
posted by johnj at 8:19 PM on June 12, 2009

Thanks! Plucked and hands washed. I don't need anything messing with my alcohol.
posted by rmless at 8:27 PM on June 12, 2009

Those look like the mushrooms that were growing in one of my plants - thanks above for the ID. However, I picked them several times and they kept growing back. It was only a few months after I said 'screw it, you're not killing the jade plant, I'm going to stop trying to get rid of you,' that they disappeared.
posted by cobaltnine at 9:04 PM on June 12, 2009

Those don't look like Coprinus. They look more like a Conocybe of some sort.
posted by shinybeast at 10:50 PM on June 12, 2009

I vote Coprinus*, with Conocybe a close second - but 24 hours of waiting for the autolyzing edges (turning black and drippy) will tell for sure. (For the record, Coprinus autolyzes; Conocybe doesn't.)

Either way, the mushrooms are harmless to have in house, and AFAIK not parasitic.

* C. micaceus, Mica Caps, as noted previously.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:59 AM on June 13, 2009

Those are not any variety of Coprinus, which will tend to liquify as they rot. Pluck them and toss them in the trash or compost if you're worried about them. Wash your hands after that and forget about them. It's unlikely that they'll cause any harm to you or the plant; they're just breaking down any nutrients in the soil.
posted by metagnathous at 7:39 AM on June 13, 2009

Yeah, I think I see the remnants of one that melted already. The rest are in the trash now.
posted by rmless at 10:43 AM on June 13, 2009

Those are not any variety of Coprinus, which will tend to liquify as they rot.

Wrong: rmless points out in the very next post that this tell-tale sign is present. You can't make a judgment like that based on a single photo of a fresh mushroom.

Wash your hands after that and forget about them.

Why on earth do you suggest such a thing? There is no such thing as a "contact poison" mushroom.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:50 AM on June 18, 2009

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