Somewhat resembling a stalked puffball, the interior is filled with a reddish brown to dark brown spore mass, and upon maturity, the fruiting body goes from a fresh white and cream color to the yellow seen in this one. They can persist for a while without decay, as this one might of grown in August and is still standing, always releasing spores into the air. The mature specimen was 11 cm tall (cap and stalk segments were each 5.5 cm tall) and the enlarged base was 2 cm wide. This one’s spore mass was strangely more red than the usual Podaxis pistillaris, and upon further investigation it could in fact be Podaxis microsporus, which typically has this feature. A proper microscope (i.e. not this $5 one) would be needed, as the spores are much smaller than P. pistillaris.
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Actually, I do have a link to some research conducted on the matter: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1375231/#b11
I haven’t had a chance to fully digest this report, but from analyzing the last paragraph it’s easy to see more studies are suggested to confirm the safety of this mushroom. Being widely used in many cultures as a food and medicine, one would expect if it was dangerous that someone would be affected by its toxicity and would of said something by now. As it stands though, if it was found to be toxic, the levels would be substantially low, i.e. you’d damage yourself more from being near second-hand smoke for a couple of seconds. It’s completely up to you though, please let me know if you decide to try them! I’m also wondering if you’ll find any fresh ones, as there has been no rains in Tucson lately and the ones still standing are old and (probably) nasty.
I have never eaten them, but I have wanted too since learning they were possible to eat. Do you know or have links to anymore info on possible toxicity? I’ll be down there next month and was planning on trying them.
You definitely make a good point Andrew, I can remember so well the day I searched a bunch of parks in Tucson for a couple of hours, found nothing, and unexpectedly in a parking lot at Reid Park, there it is: Pisolithus tinctorius, proud and firm. The feeling of finally something was amazing!
Thanks for those extra locations of P. pistillaris, I have seen them everywhere! I started keeping track: 32 in Arizona for 2011 (most from Tucson). I’ve heard that they are edible when young and white, but I also hear that studies have proved a minute toxicity to exist within the mushroom. I have never tried them (or any other wild mushroom, I confess), have you?
… but it does make whatever you do find oh soo sweet. If you want to see some more check along the paved bike path adjacent I-10 to the west. I found them between W simpson and w 18th after every rain from Feb.- Late may last year. Have you eaten them by chance?
No kidding, right? And here I was thinking I wouldn’t see any mushrooms until the new year! The desert is very cruel to fungus-lovers like me.
really brightens up that chain link fence! ;)
Created: 2012-01-18 22:16:51 EST (-0500)
Last modified: 2012-01-18 22:24:34 EST (-0500)
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