Garden Myths Gardening Mushrooms

Garden Myth: White Mushrooms Are Always Edible (Not!)

White mushrooms might be edible… or they might be poisonous. You can’t tell by color alone. Source:

Most garden myths are harmless. They may not be totally true and they may be a waste of time and money, but they won’t kill you. Here’s one that can.

I recently received a letter from a reader (name changed to protect the innocent) asking whether it was true that white mushrooms were always edible. She had some growing in her lawn and was thinking of harvesting them, having heard that white mushrooms were safe to eat.

Mushroom color has nothing to do with whether they are poisonous or not. They can be white, brown, even green or purple, and still be edible. Or they could be poisonous. Never consume a wild mushroom unless you know what you’re doing.

Check out its identity on-line or in a guide to mushrooms or take a sample to a knowledgeable mycologist. Never, ever improvise with mushrooms, no matter what their color!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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