This morning, most questions of the day continued to be about the mushrooms: Are they all poisonous? Are they all the same?
I checked the above link and found this:
Almost any type of ground-fruiting mushroom could theoretically grow in a fairy ring, but it's generally accepted that 60 or so species make this pattern.
The most well known is the fairy ring mushroom or scotch bonnet (Marasmius oreades). This edible species causes the grass to grow and become greener, and is famous for fruiting in fairy rings.
Some other species you may recognize are:
- Amanita muscaria (the poisonous toadstool)
- Calvatia cyathiformis (the edible purple-spored puffball)
- Chlorophyllum molybdites (the poisonous green-spored parasol)**
- Clitocybe nuda (the edible wood blewit)
For this reason, it's important to never use ring formation as a tool for mushroom identification.**OUR mushroom, the one featured in these photos. They don't look green...the green spores are found when you turn the mushroom cap over and look in the gills (the ribs of the parasol). Even if they have only ONE green spore or none, they're still poisonous!
Another phenomenon that bears mentioning is that fairy rings don't always produce mushrooms. If you have a ring of a darker shade of green in your lawn, or a circular bald patch, that's a fairy ring! It's caused by the underground network of the fungus. Only when the soil and moisture conditions are right, does the network produce a mushroom.
I suspect so many people have never seen the ring of mushrooms is because many lawn services have poisoned absolutely anything that disturbs the growth of precious green grass. Fairy rings, as you might imagine, are hell on lawns.
I love it, also, that the first one I've seen out here is in Takoma Park, MD, which is a peaceable community of, as Mad Cabbie said t'other day, "old hippies and young progressive lefties." Mad also said "there's a place for everyone in TP." That this welcoming, open attitude also extends to fairy rings fills my retired old heart with joy!!
This might answer Joared's recent question, too: "What's their significance for those in whose yard they appear?" I don't know what folklore says, but to me a fairy ring in your yard means you're living in tune with nature! Lucky you!! Whenever it rains, I love to say "The Rain Kachina has come to bless the day" (along with, "Oh sh*t, I forgot my umbrella!"). So if I ever see a fairy ring on our lawn (which would irritate Charles the lawn man no end), I'll be spouting, "The fairies have come to bless the lawn and dance on it!!