Fairy Ring Love


If the dandelion holds #1 spot in our lawn culture’s ‘Most Misunderstood Plant‘ category, fairy ring mushroom must win an equally prominent award in the ‘Most Misunderstood Fungus‘ category. Fairy rings are the bane of a lawn perfectionist’s existence, if one is present. Pure evil. They put that unsightly curvaceous scar upon the utopically manicured monoculture of grass. I’ve heard of all kinds of ‘remedies’ to deal with them, but now that I understand mushrooms a bit better, I can see that one’s best option is to dig up the soil that contains the mycelium and replace it with fungus-free soil. Or you can get over it and just get to eating them.

Not that eating them will get rid of the ‘problem’ [think of mushrooms as fruit] – but it might make you feel better about it. I find comedy in human nature’s illogical propensity to do things like destroy an edible mushroom with all their might then hop in the vehicle to go buy an edible mushroom from a box store. While I’ll omit descriptions for identification, leaving that task to yourself and a set of good library books, let it be said that these little guys are not rocket science to identify. One of the telling characteristics obvious in the photo is their propensity to have tough-to-break stems. I tied one in a knot, to illustrate.

Would you believe these are choice edibles? Well, from lawns that aren’t sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, anyway. It’s true. The world needs less hate and more love and I, for one, am choosing to love the fairy ring.

6 Responses

  1. Conrad says:

    Unbe-freaking-lievable! After watching my neighbours fight these my entire childhood.

    Seriously, wow. You’re pushing some serious boundaries my friend. Hats off to you.

  2. Ashley says:

    I had no idea these were edible either. I never understood people’s aversion to mushrooms popping up in their lawns. I love seeing mushrooms- they are so fascinating. I think I may have a fairy ring in my lawn- but it rarely pops up because Lethbridge is so dry. I’ll have to keep an eye out the next time we get some rain!

  3. Evelyn says:

    My crazy old neighbour used to eat my fairy ring mushrooms. While I knew she couldn’t have lived so long if they were poisonous, I didn’t jump to try eating them myself. After fighting the ugly rings for a while, and seeing how deep the spores went into the soil (or was that just dead soil?), I chose to start eliminating sod and growing perennials and veggies in my front yard. No more fairy rings for me!

    I may have to search out someone else’s rings now and become the crazy-mushroom-lady in her absence. There’s a crazy person on every block…

  4. Rory Allison says:

    There are many different strains of fairy ring. I am in the turf industry and fight these also. I will not fight so hard if they are edible. Are all of them edible?

  5. Mine that I mow over don’t look like this either, I would LOVE to know. They are a very brown mushroom. These looks so delicate and lovely!

  6. Debra Krause says:

    Pick up a “Mushrooms of Western Canada” book (Lone Pine Publishing).
    It’s the book used by the Mycology instructor who does the courses at the Devonian Gardens.
    We did talk about fairy ring mushrooms in the spring course, and he said that there are a couple of different kinds and one is a very tasty edible (others may be edible as well, but a proper id is always needed).
    It’s a prized and very expensive mushroom in France apparently. Mainly because it’s wild picked and not cultivated.
    - Deb

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