Last Updated on August 5, 2021 by Neil Mackengie
Sometimes toadstools seem to appear as if by magic on a lawn after a rainy day. But, of course, no magic is involved. Toadstools grow from spores. And toadstools and mushrooms are exactly the same things. There is no difference between them.
A typical mushroom consists of a cylindrical stem, or “stipe”, supporting a circular cap, or “pileus”. On the stipe is a collar known as a ring, or “annulus”. Radiating from the stipe to the margin of the cap on its underside are gills, or “lamellae”. This is where the spores are formed.
Spores have a similar purpose to that of seeds, but they should not be confused with seeds. Spores are produced in great quantities. In fact, so many are produced by a mushroom, that there is a good chance the wind will carry some of them to spots favourable for growth.
If a spore falls in a place that is warm and and where food is available, the spore, which consists of a single cell, begins to absorb nourishment. It grows by division until long chains of cells resembling threads are formed. Such a chain is called a “hypha”. A tangle of them is called a At vanous points along the mycelium, tiny balls no bigger than pinheads develop and mushrooms.
So you see that when mushrooms or toadstools seem to appear suddenly, it is really the end of a long process that started with the spores leaving some mushroom that could have been quite a distance away!
Where Is Toadstool Found?
A mushroom or toadstool is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground, on soil, or on its food source.
In the wild, toadstools are formed of woody pieces of fungus growing together to make a thick ball of fungus. Over time, rain and wind wear away at this structure, and small, buried parts of the fungus break off to form new, tiny mushrooms.
Since time immemorial the answer to the question “are toadstools poisonous?” has been “yes”. However, with the advent of the internet people are no longer satisfied with ‘yes’ and are increasingly looking for ‘no’. In fact, the question of whether toadstools are poisonous is one of the most frequently asked questions on Wikipedia.
Let’s face it, dogs are man’s best friend, and when they have questions we have answers. However, a dog’s question may not always be easy to answer. Toadstools are not poisonous to dogs, however, when ingested they can cause some serious side effects. The reason toadstools are not poisonous to dogs is that they contain the toxin ricin. Since toadstools are used in some countries as a form of natural pesticide, if a dog ingests enough to cause them to suffer, it is usually due to a deliberate act by the owner.