This afternoon while watering the lawn I found two Paxillus involutus (Poison Pax) growing underneath one of my hyacinths. P. involutus is also known as the brown roll-rim due to it’s brown inrolled cap. This thick yellow fleshed mushroom is soft to the touch and it’s depressed cap looks and feels a bit like soft leather when it’s dry. As you can see from the pictures, the yellow gills that run down the stipe of the mushroom are very close together and stain a rusty-brown when damaged.
You might have guessed from it’s nickname, the ‘Poison Pax’ is NOT something you want to take home for dinner. Paxillus involutus can be deadly and has been known to cause hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells) and kidney failure when consumed. Do yourself a favor and DO NOT eat these.
On a much happier note, one thing I love about the Pacific Northwest is the fact that mushrooms can be found year round. It’s a hot July summer day here in Seattle and I have mushrooms growing in my yard. What I find most interesting is that only two weeks ago an edible Leccinum scabrum (Birch Bolete) was growing just a few feet away from this patch of Poison Pax. (Try saying patch of Poison Pax ten times fast!) Both are associated with birch trees so it makes sense they’d be in such close proximity.