Fungus in the garden

January 10, 2011 | By | Comments (5)

Today is my first day back to work after an entire month’s absence (see my post from Denver).

It’s always nerve-wracking to come back to the garden after leaving it for some time. Will the squirrels  have taken over? Will the rats have found a new home? Will things be decimated? Weedy?

I have to say — it’s not too bad out there!

What caught my eye more than anything else was these crazy mushrooms sprouting out of the straw bale garden.

Screen shot 2011-01-10 at 12.38.15 PM

See them poking out beneath the cabbage on the right?

I have to admit something: I know NOTHING about mushrooms. I’d like to know more! I intend to learn more. But for now, I just don’t.

I trust that it’s a good sign of decomposition happening inside the bale, but beyond that, I’ve got no clue.

Screen shot 2011-01-10 at 12.38.26 PM

So, Team Mushroom and people who know their fungus: what’s going on in my straw bales?

Screen shot 2011-01-10 at 12.38.34 PM


  1. Elaine Johnson

    I asked Lou Prestia, president of the San Francisco Mycological Society, to add his opinion. He says, “We think you have it right as Peziza vesiculosa. Take a look when it rains; sometimes you will see the spores puffing out of the cup as raindrops hit like tiny plumes of smoke.”
    Here’s a good link about the cup fungus:

    January 11, 2011 at 9:17 pm
  2. MIke Lieberman

    Mushrooms are scary. I’ve had talks with mushroom “experts” and there are so many species, some of which will make you hear Inna Gadda DaVida for hours on end.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm
  3. Thomas Keller

    This is what Phil Carpenter has to say. Phil is from the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz and is often called upon to identify mushrooms, especially by local hospitals when there has been a mushroom poisoning.

    “What you have there is what is called the common brown cup fungus, Peziza silvestris. At least that is what is in Mushrooms Demystified. According to the young Turks at the fair that stay up with all the name changes, it is now something else. It is not known, I guess, whether it is edible or not.”

    January 11, 2011 at 4:37 am
  4. tina k (friend of nugget)

    It is a cup fungus. I think it may be a peziza vesiculosa. I agree with Bree that the inside looks similar to a gyromitra, but it is definitely not gyromitra since that is not a cup fungus.


    I recommend David Arora’s book Mushrooms Demystified and All the Rain Promises and more for nice photos and identification. Also Mykoweb for great photos, keys, and descriptions.

    January 10, 2011 at 11:27 pm
  5. Bree Mc

    I have seen these before near my house in Morgan Hill, CA and while hiking. I have even seen a black one with a similar structure. These are commonly known as ‘cup fungi’. There are no edible cup mushrooms that they know of, but they sure look neat. From what I can tell they look similar to Gyromitra leucoxantha and Peziza domiciliana. But who really knows?

    January 10, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s