Begonia Joined by Spontaneous Mushrooms


When I left my PhD student office at the Museum of National Antiquities I rescued a couple of angel wing begonias. One has recently been joined in its pot by spontaneously appearing yellow fungus. Today four sizeable mushrooms popped up! And Dear Reader William identified them: they’re Yellow Houseplant Mushrooms, Leucocoprinus birnbaumii. That’s an eminently sensible name for a mushroom, by the way.





21 thoughts on “Begonia Joined by Spontaneous Mushrooms

  1. MAYBE poisonous? But what does that mean? Are they or aren’t they?

    I had these in my plants too, by the way. But not since I moved to sunnier apartment, so maybe sunlight kills them off.


  2. Not edible. Or, at the least, unwise.

    For a long time, mycology books flatly listed these as poisonous. Turns out that some people have apparently been eating them all along without any ill effects, so now they get called “possibly poisonous” by some authors. It very likely has to do with regional variations and differences in how they are cooked. But seriously, while I’ve had quite a lot of experience with cooking and eating wild mushrooms, “only causes vomiting for some people” is still warning enough for me to skip L. birnbaumii.


  3. MAYBE poisonous? But what does that mean? Are they or aren’t they?

    There are many fungi which only cause adverse symptoms in certain individuals, so “may be poisonous” seems fair enough.


  4. Some Coprinus (C. atramentarius, for example) contain a substance that reacts with alcohol. If you eat some while alcohol is in your body (some say up to 24 hours after drinking) you will get sick. Not nauseous, but very uncomfortable. The mushrooms affect circulation and blood pressure so that you swell up and get red-faced. At one time a chemical analogue of the substance in the mushroom (Antabuse, it was called) was used to discourage alcoholics from drinking. Keith Moon used Antabuse the night before he died and just kept on boozing. I suspect the drug may have helped kill him.


  5. Wikipedia states with apparently good sourcing that Moon died from an overdose of a sedative intended to help him through alcohol withdrawal.

    “Moon then took 32 tablets of Clomethiazole (Heminevrin). The medication was a sedative he had been prescribed to alleviate his alcohol withdrawal symptoms as he tried to go dry on his own at home; he was desperate to get clean, but was terrified of another stay in the psychiatric hospital for in-patient detoxification. However, Clomethiazole is specifically contraindicated for unsupervised home detox due to its addictiveness, tendency to rapidly induce drug tolerance and dangerously high risk of death when mixed with alcohol.”


  6. Okay. I’ve got links for Moon/Antabuse but don’t know how good they are. Anyway, the point is, this mushroom may sometimes be poisonous depending on circumstance — like whether you’ve had a drink.


  7. i have thease growing in my plants but me and my daughter do not know what they are or if they are poisin what does this mean?


  8. Wikipedia says “not edible, may cause stomach trouble, maybe poisonous”.

    The mushrooms mean nothing. They just grow there because spores came into your house with the wind or with a new house plant you acquired.


  9. I found these in a pot given to me by a friend and I put new potting soil and plumeria stalks which are growing well but these yellow fungus keep popping up , the friend had some house plants I do not know what and the pots were not cleaned of dirt debris , minimum amount , do you think this will hurt my plumeria , my spouse pulls them out , but new ones pop up!!! Also we dumped our bird bath out back and scrubberd out green moss and where water went white , huge , toadstools popped up in 1 day….what are thoughts on this??? Thanks for any help!


  10. I don’t think the mushrooms will hurt other plants, but they do look kind of weird. Better throw that plant and its soil out before the mushrooms spread their spores to other plants. You can probably keep the pot itself if you just rinse it thoroughly with boiling water.


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