I am in a state of bliss and satori (heightened consciousness) from contemplating a Foxes Lair fungal cornucopia. Before the inevitable comment that I have been imbibing magic mushrooms, the answer is no, I am blown away by numbers and diversity of these wonderful organisms in the Lair this year.
By the way do you know why fungi have gills and pores? This is because fungal spores need moisture to develop and a tiny percentage will succeed. Gills and pores enable fungi to maximise surface area (sort of like our lungs) for spore production and dispersal.
Edible field mushrooms (Agaricus genus) are European immigrants that are decomposers (feed on dead organic matter) that are generally found in fertile pasture paddocks, lawns etc. I have wonderful memories of picking great numbers in pastures and eating freshly made mushroom soup (complete with sand for roughage). Alas with generally dryer seasons, fewer and less clover dominant pastures, and a pampered population that can’t handle sand, these days have gone. They only occur in fertile areas of Foxes lair, mainly on reddish soils in the arboretum.
If you plan to eat some follow the following clues
• Gills are brown to black in developed mushrooms and have a dark brown spore print (leave one gills down on a plate or sheet of paper overnight).
• Mushrooms in Agaricus grow from the ground and are not found sprouting off logs, trees, or stumps.
• They have pale to brownish caps.
• The developing mushroom has a veil over the gills that splits to leave a characteristic ring around the upper stem.
• Gills are not attached to the stem, which easily separates from the cap. Cap not slimy.
• Tissue goes brown if cut or bruised.