Poisonous mushrooms appearing in Green Country lawns
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) - If you've noticed mushrooms popping up all over your lawn, you are not alone.
The unusual August weather has caused an explosion of them in yards and parks all over northeastern Oklahoma.
The experts will tell you they are a mixed blessing: good for the environment, but a danger to anyone who decides to eat wild mushrooms.
University of Tulsa mycologist Estelle Levetin said it's best to simply leave them alone.
It's very difficult to identify the edible mushrooms, because many resemble varieties that are poisonous and even deadly.
Levetin found several near a campus fraternity house and brought them back to her lab for identification.
They turned out to be Green Gill Mushrooms which are poisonous, but not deadly. She noted that those who have eaten them have wished they were dead.
Levetin found one that was even more dangerous right in the heart of Tulsa.
"There's one particular one called the Destroying Angel. I've picked it up on 36th Street between Harvard and Lewis," said Levetin. "It comes up and that could have killed a family."
A single mushroom can be very toxic, so she double checks the mushrooms she collects.
She noted that some can only be identified accurately by the parts that are underground.
"Unless you have training in mycology, the study of fungi, do not eat wild mushrooms," Levetin said.
Fortunately, the mushrooms on your lawn are improving the soil by helping with organic debris.
Brian Jervis, a horticulturist with the OSU Extension Service, said they aren't all bad.
"If we didn't have fungus or mushrooms, we wouldn’t have that break down. It's breaking down the leaf clipping the mulch," Jervis said.
So, they're good for the environment. They're only a problem if you put them in your mouth.
The folks at the OSU Extension Office suggest feeding them to your lawn mowers and waiting for the rain to stop.
They promised that the mushrooms will quickly dry up and vanish when the sun comes out again.