Thursday, 26 May 2011

Panaeolus foenisecii/The Lawn Mower's Mushroom

On the east side of Swansea, two bridges connect St Thomas and Port Tennant to the city centre. Between these bridges there's an area of grass where I've found a number of fungi including Melanoleuca, Hygrocybe, Clitocybe, Marasmius and Stropharia.
It's also home to Panaeolus foenisecii; commonly called 'The Lawn Mower's Mushroom' since it has a habit of appearing after lawns have been recently cut back and sure enough, after the council had mown the area  these arrived about four days later and after some very heavy showers over the preceding days.

One of the most useful distinguishing features of this mushroom is that it's hygrophanus, which means its cap  changes colour if it's wet or dry. When the cap is wet it is a dark brown sometimes with flushes of cinnamon and dries to a much light umber/buff colour. The darker patches below show the drying stage with colour change occurring.

The gills are brown and mottled and that mottling is a characteristic of the mushroom.

This mushroom contains a toxin called psilocybin which is a hallucinogenic drug to humans. In this species the toxin occurs in tiny, tiny amounts and does not even occur in every fruitbody but could be dangerous to toddlers.

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