Plantpot dapperlings!

dapperling 1

Mushrooms have popped up in one of my house plant pots. Specifically, they’re plantpot dapperlings, Leucocoprinus birnbaumi. This tropical and subtropical saprotroph has found its way into greenhouses and house plants around the world.

These mushrooms are probably a good sign, according to some observers. It means that the soil is being enriched as the fungus breaks down dead material. The mushrooms are also hard to get rid of and probably not worth the effort. Just admire them, and maybe set tiny figurines of dancing fairies around them to celebrate.

Like a few other mushrooms, they’re poisonous, so don’t eat them. The clover-shaped leaves in the picture are yellow wood sorrel, Oxalis stricta, which is edible and makes a nice, lemony-sour garnish on salads and other dishes. The big stalks are Madagascar dragon trees, Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor.’ That plant is toxic to dogs and cats but not people — still, I don’t plan to eat it. Too pretty.

dapperling 2I think I know where the mushrooms came from. I recently repotted the plants into soil I bought at the local gardening center. According to the package, the soil contained one or more of the following: composted organic material, aged pine bark, cow manure compost, sedge peat, sand, perlite, and composted spent mushroom soil. Fine stuff, and it probably came with a full ecology of microorganisms and fungus spores, now growing in my living room.

(The soil also produced a plague of fungus gnats. I’m trying to get rid of them slaughter them without mercy.)

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