Nope! Although for a second I was optimistic. I have never heard of Moral Mushrooms growing in the fall anywhere in the US. I have always thought they were a spring thing. But then I see thee guys and I thought that Iowa might be an exception. However, One look at the cap and I had my answer. The bottom of the cap is not attached. At best this could be a “False Moral”.
Being more biologist rather than botanist, I decided to entertain my curiosity and do a little research. After about an hour on a fungi key ( WORTHLESS! Unless you know what those huge words mean!) I finally did a Bing search and looked at pictures until I narrowed it down.
Behold! The STINKHORN! ( Phallus impudicus) Not the glorious or appetizing name I was expecting. Moral sounds so much better and Truffle sounds even better than that! Stinkhorn? It fits the fungi in question as the flies were VERY excited about it on this cool autumn day. There were many on the lawn and they have a smell that does remind me of a smelly mushroom. Although I didn’t find the smell that awfull.
I guess there are MANY variation in this family. Some are rather striking in their color and structure! I love the lacy looking one. I actually think that the ones in the lawn may become this in a day or two. I’m not sure how long this lasts or when it will occur. I’ll have to see if I can catch it in the act as it continues to blossom .
And, Of coarse, I had to see if they are edible. They ARE. . Most mushrooms actually are edible ( meaning: Not Toxic) but they are not eaten because either they taste bad, smell bad, or are of a texture that makes eating them gross! (No one likes eating smelly, bad tasting slime….even if it won’t kill you!) Ok, let me rephrase that: MOST people won’t eat gross things just because they are not toxic. My family has always managed to find an exception to that rule.
Folks in China, Germany and France remove the top cap and eat the fleshy stem. I guess they taste like radishes and are an ingredient to various sausages. According to Wiki, they MAY have medicinal benefits such as reducing blood clots. And I would Emphasis the MAY as we have been told that oat brand cures cancer…only to be told later it causes cancer…..Let the patient beware!
There ARE actually GOOD fall mushrooms that bring me back to my childhood….whenever Mom was not trying to kill us with her cooking. The Giant Puffball was the main mushroom we would find while squirrel hunting. If we were lucky and found one, mom would slice it up and dip it in flour and fry it in butter. A great addition to zucchini and wild game.
They also grow in the fall and, if you catch them early ( before they turn black on the underside) they can be eaten and taste similar to the button mushrooms in the store. ( I have actually eaten these) I have lost much of my “wild food adventure” as I now buy most of my exotic foods from the specialty food section in the store. Taking a risk on a food I’m not 100% sure about just does not thrill me as it once did. Probably that is a good thing and I doubt I would have eaten ANYTHING Mom made for us. ( I still think liver and pickled beets are Poisonous!) Not to worry though! She was always “food safe” and cooked it until all the bacteria, poison, and flavor was out of it.
So if you are feeling adventurous….or just want to see a cool fungus. Check these out on Wiki….and maybe give it a taste. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phallus_impudicus