How worried should I be about mushrooms in my yard?

Hi new friends! I’m Katie and I live just north of Boston in Medford, MA (where Tufts University is!)

I’ve come here seeking what I hope will be some mental relief from anyone who knows mushrooms REALLY well. It’s my first post and I’m new to the community. Anyways, I’ve got OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and pretty severe anxiety about contamination. This could be about anything from chemical toxins to poisonous plants. This summer we’ve been dealing with a LOT of lawn mushrooms, since my husband reestablished our grass after some deck construction over the winter. The top soil has mulch which I know is probably creating the coziest of homes for all the mycelium/mushrooms, especially since he watered religiously and often lets the grass get too long (it’s been hard to mow regularly with all the rain of the spring/summer in the northeast this year). I’m not sure if it’s at all accurate but I’ve been using the “Picture Mushroom” app to try and identify them. In my “discovery work” the app has “identified” the following mushrooms based on pictures of the side, top, and bottom of each mushroom. I’m most concerned about the top 4, since the app has identified them as toxic.

  • Common conecap (conocybe tenera)**
  • Pretty pinkgill (Entoloma formosum)**
  • Liberty cap (Psilocybe semilanceata)**
  • Mower’s mushroom (Panaeolina foenisecii)**
  • Hairy longstem marasmius (Rhizomarasmius pyrrhocephalus)
  • Orange mycena (Mycena leaiana)
  • Red edge brittlestem (Psathyrella corrugis)
  • Common fieldcap (Agrocybe pediades)
  • Common stump brittlestem (Psathyrella piluliformis)
  • Yellowfoot (Craterellus tubaeformis)
  • Powderpuff bracket (Postia ptychogaster)
  • Pinecone cap (Strobilurus tenacellus)
  • Jelly baby (Leotia lubrica)
  • Parrot waxcap (Gliophorus psittacinus)

I’ve included some pics from the app of the collected mushrooms and associated “IDs.” Again, no idea if any are accurate. I’m assuming there are some identification errors in here as some of the mushrooms look the same but were identified differently, and some that look super different were identified as the same. Was only able to upload 4 pics so will try to put the others as comments.

As you can see I usually wear gloves when picking them. Then I go through this tiring exercise of bagging the mushrooms, then the gloves, then wiping my hands with bleach/Lysol wipes and trying to wash them really well. And sometimes I wash my floor because I’m worried my dog or I could have dragged in some of the mushroom remnants/pieces or spores on our feet or clothes. Then I agonize for a while—usually a long while. I honestly haven’t wanted to go out there. Which I hate bc my husband and I have worked so hard to make it nice again and it’s one of my dog’s favorite spots. There are sometimes like 30 or more at a time! I feel like I’m just walking on a bed of fungi and mycelium and it feels like my own episode of The Last of Us. I miss enjoying my yard but I’m always afraid I’m dragging in toxins that endanger my family and my pup. She doesn’t eat mushrooms but she does like to eat grass (though not terribly often in our yard that I’ve noticed.)

Here is my question for you knowledgeable fungi folks: are any of these mushrooms so toxic that touching them and then touching something else in my home, or touching them then my mouth or my dog’s mouth could make us seriously ill or kill us? Or is the type of thing where we’d need to eat one or more to get sick? And then how sick would that be?

Please… help me relax. The desert is starting to look pretty good right about now :(

Would also love any tips for eliminating the mycelium. I read last night that it can easily survive winter temps and come back next year. My saving grace was the assumption that the winter would kill them and we could start fresh next year with mulch-free grass seed/topsoil and better mowing and watering hygiene.

I really appreciate any insights you can offer. :pray:t2:

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Do you have kids or pets that you are worried about eating the mushrooms?

My answer is not worried at all. Mushrooms are a common part of healthy soil, even in the desert (fruiting bodies will develop after heavy rains in New Mexico and we also have slime molds when the ground is wet).


I sometimes handle Australian mushrooms/fungi (some of which can be rather poisonous) without gloves (I also work outdoors so plenty of fungi there) and I’m still alive - I don’t know much about those specific mushrooms but I know people that handle Amanitas and are fine - If you’ve been handling them with bare hands just give your hands a good wash with soapy water afterwards.
What egordon88 said and: Many plants either will not survive or will severely struggle without fungi - they are a critical part of the soil ecosystem.


My understanding is that even with the Death Cap, maybe the most dangerous mushroom of all, you actually need to eat it for it to harm you:

A. phalloides is one of the most poisonous of all known mushrooms. It is estimated that as little as half a mushroom contains enough toxin to kill an adult human

Half a mushroom (estimated) is not a lot, but vastly, vastly more than you might ingest if you say, touch it and lick your fingers (don’t actually try that), never mind if you wear gloves and so on, and this is more or less the most dangerous mushroom of all, so I see no rational reason at all to worry about you or your family just existing near some less dangerous ones, if they even are dangerous. Poison production takes energy, so living organisms will mostly produce enough to deter you from eating them and no more, not enough to end all life within 10 kilometer radius.

What happens if a dog accidentally swallows one of them while eating grass is another matter. I’d imagine it would have enough smarts + animal instinct to spit one out, hopefully.


Attempting to eliminate mushrooms from your lawn, would expose your dog and you to poisonous fungicide - that would hugely concern me. Even if I lived a few houses away.

Have you put your pictures on iNat? Local mushroom specialists can help you to ID them and to separate out the different species.

What you see is the fruiting body. Like picking an apple off a tree, but the tree is still there - as felix said

Many plants ether will not survive or will severely struggle without fungi - they are a critical part of the soil ecosystem.


I used to be worried about touching any mushroom before I got to know better. Please take a look at this thread
A lot of the guidebooks actually have a taste test section for all mushrooms (including the very poisonous ones). The guideline is to chew a tiny bit and spit out. I have never gotten around to doing it , but I still take it as a sign that its perfectly safe to handle a few as long as you wash hands before eating.


Hi, Katie! Welcome to the forums!

I am not a mushroom expert however I have experience, both personal and professional, with anxiety disorders. I am so sorry your lawn has become a source of concern for you and hope to help a little.

Why you may be getting some identification wonkinesss: For starters, it looks like you may be using the Seek app? It is sort of the “little sister app” to the app most of us use, iNaturalist. The Seek app uses AI to identify. This is great for many, many common things, however mushrooms and fungi can be difficult for AI, as explained here by someone who is a mushroom expert:

I think the “Toxic” notes you are seeing are meant to dissuade any would-be foragers. You seem unlikely to forage for wild mushrooms, so I think you can set that worry to the side. As others have noted, you can pick up mushrooms even barehanded just fine. (I remember as a child doing so to see the pretty colors underneath.) The gloves you are using are not at all a bad idea though if they make you feel more settled.

As far as mushrooms themselves go, as others have noted, they are part of healthy soil. I would encourage you to reframe them that way and treat your floors and shoes no differently than you would after walking on your regular lawn. That might look like using a good doormat before you come inside, taking off shoes worn outside just as you come inside to switch to house shoes, or whatever your usual habit. But I would encourage you not to add steps because of the presence of mushrooms in the yard.

Saludos from Yucatán, Mexico! :)


Hi Katie!
I understand you so well. I also have OCD and so I know how you feel.
We also have lots of mushrooms in our yard, and also a dog and many domestic bird species, rabbits, and a cat. My dog will chew on lots of sticks and grass, and she will also dig in the dirt. She is OK, and very healthy. I think she would have to eat the actual fruiting bodies of the mushrooms to get sick from them. Same with the other animals. With animals, they have such a great sense of smell and understand what is fine and what is not. People actually use dogs to help them find truffles, so I am confident your dog is safe, and I think that you and your husband are, too.

That said, sometimes you are your worst enemy. I have found that even if people are telling me something won’t hurt me, I often still worry and obsess about the most mundane things, and nothing others say helps. That is a problem with OCD, and different people deal with it differently. (Not saying your worries are not valid, or that you are “silly” to be worrying, especially since you have a dog and dogs are known to lick/eat anything and everything) It is easy for me to tell you that the mushrooms in your yard won’t hurt you or your family, but that is because mushrooms aren’t one of the things that bother me. (If someone were to play with Play-Doh on my table however, I would be scrubbing it until I wore a hole through the table! I hate the smell)

If it helps, I have been making gill prints with mushrooms ever since I was seven and bringing them in the house to admire, and I never got sick from them.

I wouldn’t get rid of your yard’s mushrooms, though, they mean that your yard is very healthy, and where there are mushrooms, you will find all sorts of cool wildlife! Fungi also keep an area clean, since they consume decaying biomass, so if I were you, I would try to keep them.

I hope this helps!



I feel like I’ve gotten a bat signal XD.

I feel weird calling myself an expert, obsessed enthusiast seems more appropriate.

But Katie, let me assure you - you’re fine. Everything is fine. The midwest/northeast has been getting a ton of rain recently, that’s making the mushrooms fruit a lot - and that’s okay! Mushrooms indicate a healthy yard.

Mushrooms are safe to touch, 100%. You can handle them without gloves without any issue. You’re not even going to get any reaction to the spores unless you stick your face in a mature puffball and inhale (and then you’ll have bad day, but just don’t do that, and you’ll be fine.

They’re even fine to taste - as long as you spit, you can safely taste even the amatoxin-containing Destroying Angels & Death Caps (Amanita section Phalloideae.) Don’t get me wrong, its not something I go around doing on the regular, but still its possible.

As for the specific species picture mushroom IDed - Both Conocybe tenera and Entoloma formosum belong to genuses that are notoriously hard to visually ID without microscopy, they may or may not be poisonous or that species, but they’re also absolutely tiny so unless you have a dog or child that is just picking them and eating them with glee, I wouldn’t worry about them.

The third is not Psilocybe semilanceata, I’m pretty sure - the way the edges are curling up make me think its some sort of ink cap, though I could be wrong. That said, even if it IS a liberty cap, its not toxic in the GI distress sort of way - it makes you trip. Lib caps are magic mushrooms. Its just every website that describes their effects tends to err WAY on the side of paranoia because for whatever reason (blame Nixon) the US still has psilocybin-containing mushrooms listed as a scheduled drug.

The rest is hard to say without pictures, though if you’d like to upload them to your iNat I’d be happy to take a look - I can’t guarantee I can get them down to species but I can at least try. If you do, generally try to get an in situ photo as well (where they were growing,) or at least note the habitat they were growing on (from the soil, on leaf litter, on mulch, on wood, etc)

Finally, I’m going to drop this article that was written about another amateur mycologist in my area that has much more experience than me - hopefully it helps assuage your fears

EDIT: I’m going to suggest one more thing - see if there is a local mushroom club in your area that leads forays. And sign up for one, and go on it. Hearing and learning from an expert locally might help you become more knowledgeable on the subject, and I find that knowledge about the world around us really helps assuage fears about nature. If you can shift your mindset from a place of ignorance to a place of learning, it might help you lessen your phobia.

Like, here’s a cool mushroom fun fact - did you know that some species fluoresce under UV light? Check out this guy I found yesterday, Hypholoma sp, probably subviride. Isn’t this neat? Also note, this is a poisonous mushroom, but I had zero worries about touching it.


I have been told, by an actual mycologist who has reason to know, that there is no mushroom on Earth that is dangerous to touch, unless you have a (very rare) allergy to them. As long as no one is eating them, they pose no risk at all.


One more suggestion - this youtube channel has some extremely approachable and informative videos on mushrooms (and other things we can find in nature). This one is specifically on common yard mushrooms, though his other videos are great to. Give it a watch, it might help assuage some fears!


Learn Your Land is a great channel.


Hi Katie,

I think I must be the opposite of you. I’m the guy who was always poking and prodding everything around me. I’m no expert but when it comes to mushrooms I’ve picked them, spore-printed them, and tasted them without harm. I’ve even tasted the toxic ones. I’ve never come to any harm.

I’ve also had dogs all my life. Not one of my dogs ever showed an interest in mushrooms. You would know your dog the best though. If your dog likes to eat underwear, plastic toys, or just anything it can fit down its throat you might want to be a little cautious. Otherwise, they will be fine.

I hope all the advice the good people above have given you will allow you to rest a little easier. You don’t need to change your behavior but you don’t need to eliminate the mushrooms either. Mushrooms outside/no mushrooms inside seems like a good compromise to me.


Hello, yes I do! I mentioned my dog in my post. But I’m feeling better about it after reading everyone’s comments - thanks!


Hi Diana. Thanks for commenting. I wouldn’t use any chemicals. I was looking at using a nitrogen rich fertilizer like Milorganite. I also read that mixing vinegar with water can help eliminate some of the fruiting bodies. But I don’t feel the need any longer to rid my yard of them after reading all these comments from mycophiles. I have not put my pics (beyond all those in this post of course) on iNat as I’m not sure how to do that. I did join Fungus Amongus on Discord today tho and got similar feedback and some reassurance that none of these mushrooms really need to be feared.

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Yes! It was reading that thread that got me to join the community to post my own question! Thank you for the comment! :)

Thank you so much for the thorough and thoughtful comment. It helps a lot and really appreciate your empathy first approach to offsetting my fears :green_heart:

The app I’m using is actually called Picture Mushroom but yes it’s AI as I understand it. I was told today that it was trash and not very accurate and that I should trash it! Lol. So I’ll prob be doing that soon! I totally understand the need to input other factors about where the mushrooms are found. It makes loads of sense.

Sage advice all around. Thanks again.


Gianna - Thank you for your kindness and for sharing that you’ve had similar struggles. OCD can be a bear for sure! Amen to it making us our worst enemy. Your childhood experience helps assuage my fears a lot, actually, thank you. Someone on another thread also pointed out that only something like 2% of mushrooms are poisonous? Don’t remember the source and That might not be the exact number but I remember being comforted by it. Thank you again! Death to play-doh! :crossed_swords:


A bat signal! Haha - I love that. I think you might be right. Your comments are chock-full of helpful information, insights and resources for further learning. Thank you for taking the time to share them. I found myself blaming Nixon a lot when cannabis was so hard to have proper research on and I was using it to treat my dog’s cancer! Another commented mentioned the iNat too, so I’d love to do that. Just not sure how to do it. I’ll tinker and then so I tag you?

Love your idea about the mushroom foray club. Agree learning more live would help me chill a bit. Any national database I should reference to find one near me? I’m sure Google is my best friend here, so I’ll check it out. And that UV mushroom is very cool indeed. Who even needs the trip if just looking at it is that groovy! Thanks again. :mushroom: :heart:


Exactly what I was hoping to hear. Came here seeking help and you all delivered. You guys rock!

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