Bizarre giant yellow fungus/mushroom growing in houseplant pot

dalar_caAugust 21, 2011

Looked over at my curly croton today, after a week of being away and got caught by surprise, seeing this gigantic yellow fungus growing just below it...

Can anyone tell me

a) what it is

b) if it's safe to have growing (won't kill the plant, cats won't eat it, won't explode poisonous gas, eat us, etc :P)

c) how the heck this happened!

d) if need be, how to remove it safely

It's creepin' me out, that's for sure...

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Believe it or not, this mushroom is so common in potting mediums that it's been given the common name "Houseplant Mushroom"! It's scientific name is Leucocoprinus bimbaumii (originally Lepiota lutea).

Not harmful to you or your pets UNLESS INGESTED and won't harm your plant but I would pluck it out and dispose of it before it opens up and begins shedding a few zillion spores all over the place.

This mushroom is decomposing the organic (once living) materials in your potting mix, such as peat. As a matter of fact, that's why we find it so commonly in potting feeds on decomposed vegetable matter. The spores escape the steam pasteurization process and we end up with little yellow parasols in our house plants.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 5:32PM
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Dalar..Rhizo is right about the House Plant Mushroom being common.
Several people have posted pictures of this odd-ball, yellow mushroom growing in one or more of their house plants.

Also as Rhizo said, it's not harmful to your pets unless ingested. So, why take the chance? Pluck it out. You never know what pets/children are going to do.

Mushrooms grow when soil is kept constantly wet, moreso when a plant is in semi to deep shade. Do you not allow soil to dry between waterings?

Anyway, toss the 'shoom. Toni

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 3:07PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I have to disagree with you there, Toni. Mushrooms don't require conditions that are too moist. All it takes is one good watering to trigger fruiting activity in the fungal organism that has been growing and growing in the potting medium all this time.

And I have a section in my front lawn that grows a nice crop of mushrooms every year at this time...triggered by day length and at least one good rainfall.

This mushroom has emerged because the true fungal body has reached a stage of maturity that calls for reproduction. Mushrooms are simply the agents of reproduction for the fungus that exists in the soil. Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 10:29PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

I get those things sometimes. In a lot of my plants I use a mix that is basically halfway composted wood chips and mushroom compost, I figure it would be unlikely I wouldn't have them once in a while. I don't bother with them, My cats don't bother with them either. I just leave them, they go away on their own til next year.

They can come back whether you pull them or not once the fungus is in the soil. The shroomy deal is just the business end of the reproductive parts, the mycelia(the actual thread-like body of the fungus) is likely to be throughout the soil and you can't get rid of that without drastic action, Ok, maybe not drastic but certainly more trouble then it's worth action to rid yourself of it.

If you really don't ever want them, grow in something like the gritty mix or semi-hydro.

It does not need to be very wet for them to sprout, just damp.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 11:40PM
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Rhizo, that's strange. House Plant mushrooms never grew in my succulent mediums, which are kept dry. The few times they appeared were in tropical plants where soil was kept on the moist side. Especially w/o much light.
Here, outdoor mushrooms grow in shady spots that are usually moist.. eg, beside trees, or in spots in the grass where foliage from trees shadows the ground.

Have you ever seen mushroom kits? The directions read to keep wet/damp in a dark spot.

I don't know much about mushrooms, just what I've seen in pots/grounds kept wet/moist, and mostly shady.

I once lived in an appartment. The bathroom floor wasn't level, so when a shower was taken, and water escaped through the shower curtain, it'd settle in a corner on the floor. To top that off the bottom of the toilet leaked. Every so often, mushrooms grew in that shady corner. lol. Gross looking things.
The bathroom window was a Block Pane, facing north. I always thought the wetness and shade caused those mushrooms to survive the bathroom. Toni

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 5:01PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Toni, They need some moisture but it doesn't need to be "wet". There can still be fungus in your succulent mixes but they are kept too dry too reproduce. Mushroom producing fungi need moisture to reproduce. Most will die, like our plants, if kept too wet and won't grow the shroomy bit if kept too dry.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 7:55PM
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Hi Danny. How are you? To be honest, I don't know anything about mushrooms other than those I've seen growing in moist/wet, shady spots outside and tropical plants, in soil kept moister. Don't even know which are poisonous. LOL. Toni

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 4:19PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Only the experts really know which ones will turn your belly inside-out or worse. Personally, I find fungi pretty interesting but disgusting to eat. nasty things . . .

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 6:36PM
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Thank you all for the information. I got on here in search of what it was that was growing in the soil of my 7 year old jade tree. I also found on here some ideas to get rid of it and to keep it from coming back. I am going to give those things a try. Wish someone had mentioned that I needed a mask before pulling the nasty things up because now I have the smell stuck in my nose. Yuck.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 9:36PM
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