Identification: Identification: Strange fungus in my little garden: Help!

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by SS Minnow, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. SS Minnow

    SS Minnow New Member

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    Hello! New member here and horrified to find this strange popcorn like fungus in my garden. Mostly in a dry area under a deck, but congregating around my plants, little trees. I dug out an entire bucket today. How worried should I be? thanks for any advice you can give.
     

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  2. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Can't see enough detail yet to identify - is it possible to get a closer shot? As well, a cross-section, clean cut in half is often useful for fungi of this sort.
    Also approx diameter of each spheroid?
    Type of little trees may be helpful, or at least whether hardwood or conifer.
    Were they all entirely underground or partially visible at surface?

    Pending an ID, know that most fungi are beneficial to your garden, as they make nutrients available for your plants that the plant's roots cannot access themselves.
     
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  3. Andrew Matheson

    Andrew Matheson Member UBC Botanical Garden

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    I can't ID them but I personally wouldn't be worried about fungus coming out of soil, I would generally only worry about fungus coming out of my actual plants. Here is why:

    In general, fungus either feed on only living stuff, or only dead stuff. Your soil is full of fungus, whether or not you want it to be. A lot feeds on dead stuff, some lives in a symbiotic relationship with other plants, but most of them do no harm to plants. Some are pathogens, living on live plant tissue. If you have fungus or rot in your plants, this either means the plant has a disease and fungus is the pathogen, OR it means the plant is dying and the fungus is feeding off of its dead tissues.

    In short- fungus in your soil is ok. Fungus on your plants might be cause for concern.
     
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  4. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  5. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    While I know we are both making some generalizations here, I add a caveat here to
    , as there are some pathogenic fungi with mushrooms that appear out of the soil, for example root-rotters such as some Armillaria (honey mushrooms.)
     
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  6. Andrew Matheson

    Andrew Matheson Member UBC Botanical Garden

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  7. SS Minnow

    SS Minnow New Member

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    Thanks for the reassurance Frog and
    Andrew. I will see how my plants do in this area and will post again if I have cause for concern.
     
  8. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Sounds good @SS Minnow.
    And if you do have a closer shot of the fruiting body, cut in half and/or other info about it, please feel welcome to post and I/we can give a shot at identifying it.
     
  9. SS Minnow

    SS Minnow New Member

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    Ok, I am uploading some photos. I am not sure this is growing out of my plants. They seem to congregate around plants,particularly a fern I have under the verandah. They seem to produce very quickly and I am worried they will take over the whole garden. They do smell mushroom-y, but they are hard, nodular and fade to brown when they are older.
     

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  10. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thank you this is interesting! Can you tell me what sort of trees are nearby?
     
  11. SS Minnow

    SS Minnow New Member

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    I have a large persimmon tree nearby that started to fruit last year. We just redid this garden after adding a verandah. We planted a magnolia from a nursery last year, but it did not do well so I returned it. (I was thinking the fungus came from this sickly magnolia). We also planted a small Japanese maple and a small red bud. The garden did have a big Irish yew that had to go when we built the porch. Thanks for your help.

    **Last summer, the only plants that did well in this little garden were two hop vines. The two new small trees dropped leaves or wilted. I had thought I had over fertilized...but then popcorn fungus appeared in full force
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
  12. SS Minnow

    SS Minnow New Member

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    Hi Frog! Just wondering if you had any luck with identifying my garden fungus!
     
  13. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Sorry SSMinnow - I had reached out for help but no response yet. Interior seems to say truffle and black exterior suggests some IDs to me that don’t seem to match the convoluted shape overall. But am not truffle expert.
    If help doesn’t come from here I suggest emailing
    bctruffles.ca
     
  14. SS Minnow

    SS Minnow New Member

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    Thanks for the help. If any response comes, please do let me know.
    Likely not a truffle as there are so many of them and they do not usually grow en masse in small urban gardens?
    I will reach out...thanks for this suggestion.
     
  15. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Will do :-)
    The only suggestion so far I've received is possibly a sclerotia, which it does look like, but no one yet is willing to commit on whether this is fungal or not, much less whether truffle or sclerotia.
    If not fungal then tuberous plant growth perhaps.
    I agree with you that truffle seems unlikely ... on the other hand there are many species & genera of truffles here, and sometimes they do appear in odd places, in quantity.
     

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