On Saturday, a backyard mushroom discovered by David and Karen Dickson was a little larger than a basketball.
“Its enormous! It’s grown colossally since over the last few days, I am not sure now whether you can see it from space,” joked Karen.
The couple lives southwest of Edmonton in Parkland County, just across the North Saskatchewan River from Devon.
The mushroom now has a 1.3-metre circumference and stands nearly 30 centimetres high.
The owners joke it’s become part of the family.
“I think he should be Mike… Mike the magic mushroom appeared like magic.”
“I laughed at my husband and in my ignorance I said I wonder if there’s a mushroom society and it turns out there is,” Karen said.
They sent pictures to the Alberta Mycological Society which helped identify the fat fungi as an edible puffball mushroom.
“The puffballs are very prolific this year, especially with all the rain we’ve been having,” Catherine Jevic with the society said.
“It’s definitely a larger specimen, and very impressive.”
Even more impressive is the banner year for wild mushroom growth in our province.
“It’s been very dry for the last four to five years, and so this year it almost feels like the mycelium networks are saying ‘We finally have rain!’ and are just sprouting mushrooms everywhere,” Jevic said.
“The forays will be going out in the botanical gardens,” Jevic said.
“People can actually experience going for a mushroom walk together so we can help identify some of the mushrooms that are available.”
Different species tend to sprout at different times throughout the season. According to Jevic, Alberta is full of morels, oyster and bolete mushrooms to eat, as well as medicinal, non-edible and poisonous varieties.
Jevic says their online community is full of fungi enthusiasts happy to help with identifications.
“That’s a great resource because people can post pictures and we can tell them look in this area for an identification, or people can share their big finds,” said Jevic.
The advice the Dicksons received on the society’s Facebook group was to plan a feast. But their new found mushroom curiosity tells them to let it be.
“First of all we have to find a big enough frying pan and we don’t have one of them,” David said.
“But we want to see how big it’s going to get.”
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