Over the weekend, Lena Anderson, one of Earth Team’s Skyline High interns, found some beautiful mushrooms while on a hike. Here is an account of her experience and her quest to identify the mushrooms.
I was out in the woods behind my house today and I found some cool mushrooms! At first glance I thought that these were golden chanterelles, which are edible and apparently pretty tasty. However after I brought them home and investigated them, I deduced that they’re actually jack o’lantern mushrooms, which are poisonous. The way I could tell is by the gills (the ribbed part of the mushroom under the cap) and the color of the flesh inside the mushroom. As you can see in the next photo, the flesh is orange, which is a trait in jack o’lantern mushrooms. If the flesh was white, it would indicate a genuine chanterelle.
Since these are poisonous, I put them back where I found them in hopes that they will release spores and continue to grow. They may be poisonous, but they’re also really beautiful.
I hope you enjoyed this synopsis of my mushroom foraging outing today!
Let this be a lesson in the need for a proper ID before consuming ANY mushrooms you find. BE SURE you know what you have found before you eat anything, and even then, only eat a small amount to make sure you do not have a reaction to the species you found.
Thanks for the insights, Lena!