There is Mush Below our Feet: Common Landscape Mushrooms

As if by magic, overnight, tucked neatly beneath a cap of mulch, or peaking deftly between blades of grass, mushrooms appear in all shapes, sizes, and colors imaginable. What we observe, recognized as mushrooms, are the reproductive spore producing structures of a larger complex fungal organism called mycelium. All fungi exist either beneficially, as primary, or secondary decomposers by devouring that which has already perished, or saprophytically (obtain nutrients through organic decay) by consuming living matter. Some are responsible for vast improvements in soil health, plant health, and nutrient cycling in natural and disturbed environments.
Fungi are the thoughtful, deliberate, efficient recyclers of the natural world and mushrooms their fruits. We consume mushrooms, other animals consume them, they provide great sustenance and fascination. Mushrooms are valued, feared, and often misunderstood. The connection and vast importance of fungi to biological processes, ecological complexity, and humans is vast and we learn more about them every day.  Some of this knowledge is a re-learning as mushrooms have a prevalent place in our culture, history, literature and even religions. As we have moved away from our intimate knowledge and familiarity with nature and into our managed landscapes, we have often lost sight of the mushrooms fruiting beneath our own feet.
The active re-learning of mushroom knowledge can be as simple as going into your backyard the day after a rainstorm. Carefully observe areas beneath shrubs, around the base of trees, within the mulch or in your manicured lawn. With hundreds of different species in Florida, our yards are the most common place we find and interact with mushrooms. Approaching the rainy months, we will start to see more evidence of these hidden beauties in our home landscapes. In preparation for questions from our audiences, I have put together the following list of some of the most common mushrooms spotted by intrepid observers in the home landscape.



Green-spored Parasol, Molybdites chlorophyllum

Size: Large, up to 12 in. wide cap

Where: Turfgass lawn

When: April-November, after a rain


Green-spored Parasol mushroom in lawn.



Luxury Caps, Gymnopus luxurians

Size: Medium, up to 4 in. wide cap

Where: Mulch, clusters

When: Summer and Fall, after a rain

Beneficial decomposer

    Gymnopus luxurians in mulch.



Earthstars, Astraeus barometricus (most likely)

Size: Small, up to 1.5 in. wide cap

Where: Mulch, landscape beds

When: All year

Beneficial decomposer and mycorrhizal

    Earthstar mushroom.



Pleated Inkcaps, Parasola plicatilis

Size: Very small, up to 1 in. wide cap

Where: In grass or mulch

When: Day after a rain, ephemeral, lasts briefly

Beneficial or Harmful? Beneficial decomposer

Pleated Inkcap. Photo credit: Matthew Smith.



Latticed Stinkhorn, Clathrus ruber

Size: Medium, up to 4 in. wide

Where: Turfgass lawn

When: Spring and Fall, after a rain

Beneficial or Harmful? Beneficial decomposer, but stinky.

    Latticed stinkhorn.
These represent only a tiny fraction of the mushrooms you may find in or near your landscapes. If you would like to report your mushroom findings, please submit your photos and observations here.
If you are interested in learning more about mushrooms, visit our linktree page to see relevant articles, upcoming class listings and more.





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Posted: March 3, 2023

Category: , Home Landscapes, Natural Resources
Tags: Featured Hot Topic, Florida Mushrooms, Gardening, Mushroom Identification, Mushrooms

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