Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #789 – TOADSTOOLS V MUSHROOMS ?

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Both toadstools and mushrooms can be defined as the fruiting bodies of a fungus—that is, these are the part of the fungi that produce spores. Most of the fungus itself is underground, and the cap appears in the autumn months for most types. The only purpose of the cap is to release the fungi’s spores; the other parts of the fungi, including those that process and draw nutrients from dead and decaying matter, are underground, and we just never see them.

When most people envision a toadstool or a mushroom, they tend to think of a fungi that has a defined stalk and a cap. There are other types of fungi with less traditional forms, such as the puffball, an aptly-named round, white ball fungi with no apparent stalk. These types of rather non-traditionally formed fungi are typically referred to as mushrooms.

So why have toadstools become associated with the less desirable, more deadly type of fungus?

The answer is in the word itself. Toadstools were once believed to be exactly that—places that toads liked to sit. And since toads were also thought to be poisonous or carriers of disease, that quality transferred to the fungi they were said to favor. The term “toadstool” dates back to the 14th century and has also been recorded as “tadstoles.” Toadstools were also rumored to be a food source for the less-than-savory animals, sometimes called “toad’s meat,” “toad’s cap,” or “toad’s cheese.”

The poisonous variety of fungi have had a variety of names over the centuries, including “wart caps” and “Devil’s droppings.” Toads were also closely associated with the Christian devil, who took the form or attributes of a toad in many old European stories from Milton’s Paradise Lost to medieval folk tales, fairy stories, and wives’ tales.

It becomes kind of a you can’t judge a book by it’s cover thing. Either way, one is as odd and interesting as the other! …†…monos en theos   jim


Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #779 – MORNING DEW & MORNING TOADSTOOLS

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There was a heavy dew on our morning walk when I found a little colony of these almost glass-like little toadstools blooming amongst the dew. They were pretty from above, but the real view came laying in the wet grass at gnome level.

Get down at the level of your subject. A set of wet clothes is a small price to pay!  monos en theos…†…jim

Photos on the journey #479, Wild beauty from the desert rain – toadstools in Southwest Texas

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You are probably getting tired of me speaking of the treasures from the rain. But, we get so little moisture out here in the high desert. Things just appear out of nowhere and just as quick are gone. If you keep looking though, they generally just get replaced with another thing of beauty. My next week or so will be a sharing of the magic.

This toadstool (sound so much more magical than mushroom) came up in our yard yesterday afternoon. This morning, I was delighted to find it had morphed into this 6″ tall specimen that was about 4″ in diameter.  Yes, this is the exact same toadstool. It was black and oozey and quickly melted in the heat like the wicked witch of the west.

I also discovered that the rain also brings unusual visitors in the form of mosquitoes as big as yesterdays fly. I do know better than to lay on my belly in shorts in our desert. But I was in my own yard and felt cautiously safe. At first I was sure I was being eaten by red ants only to rise up and find my legs, arms, neck, face & hands covered with the hungry creatures. I don’t know how you that have to, can tolerate these buggers. At least our snakes have the common courtesy let you know they are there.

PEACE@U ††† en theos ††† jlawrence