Abundance of wild mushrooms a concern for some mid-Michigan residents

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:34 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Mushrooms are popping up in neighborhoods across mid-Michigan, some of which are toxic and can make you and your pet sick. News 10 spoke with an expert to find out what to look out for.

Diana Willett and her mother, Alice Seely, say that almost daily they’re pulling out mushrooms to keep their dogs from eating them. And they say it’s getting tiresome.

“We have three little shih tzu’s and we’re concerned with them getting these mushrooms,” Willett said.

“It’s a daily battle for close to a month now,” said Willet. “Some of them are getting very big.”

Now, Willet says she and her mom have been out scouring the yard for mushrooms, claiming some practically grew overnight.

Dr. Gregory Bonito is an assistant professor for MSU’s department of plant, soil and microbial sciences.

“It’s been very wet and this is a time where a lot of mushrooms (fungi) are fruiting,” Bonito said.

He says one thing to look out for are green spores on mushrooms. And one specific mushroom to avoid is the toxic fly agaric, which he says is common in the area. Many people believe it to be a hallucinogen, but he says it’s a myth and will only cause illness.

Yet some, like Mason resident Rod Dropping, don’t mind the mushrooms. He says they’ve been growing each year for the last decade, although this year is the most he’s ever seen.

“[We normally get] maybe seven or eight each year,” Dropping said. “But this year has been the biggest crop we’ve ever had.”

And because he sees all of these mushrooms so often he didn’t realize how abnormally whimsical it makes his yard look until his family came to town.

“I wouldn’t have thought much about it but we had relatives from Texas here Sunday and they were just amazed by them. It does make you stop and realize what it does look like,” Dropping said.

Dr. Gregory says all types of mushrooms are fantastic to look at. But, he warns everyone study up before eating them.

“When in doubt throw it out,” Bonito said. “If you don’t know what it is, definitely don’t eat it!”

If you believe you or your animal may have ingested a poisonous mushroom you’re encouraged to call poison control right away.

Doctor Bonito gave us a full list of toxic and non-toxic mushrooms. You can view that list below.

Always important to ID your mushroom and to cook well before eating. Mushrooms of the Midwest is a good regional book for mushroom ID. MAMI is a helpful website for more information:

- Dr. Bonito


Deadly toxic Amanita bisporigera group - All white growing in sac (volva) with a skirt around the stem - grows in mixed forests (oaks, pines, etc).

Symptoms in 3 “Phases” 1.) Severe gastrointestinal distress (stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea) begins at least 6 hours following ingestion and lasts 1-2 days. 2.) Remission for 1-2 days. 3.) Coma, death from liver/kidney failure. Treatment: none

Chlorophyllum molybdites - Green spored parasol - causes most poisoning in US, including dogs - grows in grassy areas

Symptoms occurs 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingestion and include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, but the toxin isn’t known so no treatment other than staying hydrated

Omphalotus illudens - Some confuse this mushroom with Chanterelles, but the thin try gills and yellow flesh is different than that of chanterelles which have blunt gills and white flesh.

Causes GI distress.

Amanita muscaria (the Fly agaric) - This mushroom has many different toxins and should be avoided.

Some assume they will hallucinate by eating this mushroom but it is not the case, individuals will just get sick and feel very bad.


Laetiporus sulfureus - Unmistakable, growing on wood (dead or living). Must cook well.

Grifola frondosa - Very common right now. Grows at the base of oak trees.

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