Seasonal Almanac

Minor snow: Rainbows hide (5 of 5)

May 25th, 2009

Minor snow 5 of 15The Camellia Sasanqua that borders the fern patch in the backyard is in full bloom. Various birds twitter and flutter about the tall evergreen bush. The smaller honeyeaters weave in and out of the dense foliage while the larger rosellas and parrots ocassionally munch on the flowers. The blooms fall whole onto the ground where a little toadstol popped up.

2 Responses to “Minor snow: Rainbows hide (5 of 5)”

  1. 1 Lucas in Petersham
    June 10th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    ok jo – public education time!

    what’s the difference between a toadstool and a mushroom?
    and while we’re at it, between a toad and a frog?

    i love fungus. john cage, too, was an avid “mushroom hunter” apparently…

  2. 2 jolaw
    June 24th, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I often wondered about that too. According to Dr. Tony Young, the author of ‘A Field Guide to the Fungi of Australia’, the distinction between the terms, toadstool and mushroom, has no scientific basis. Rather, it is in common usage; namely that mushroom is edible and toadstool is toxic. Dr. Young’s opinion is that the application of the two terms is unhelpful as the distinction is often made on a unscientific basis that does not distinguishing whether a marcro fungs is truely toxic. I guess what he is saying what we call mushroom and what we call toadstool seem to be determined culturally. Sometimes mushroom is applied to quite poisonous species and sometimes a fungus is called toadstool simply because we don’t eat it (but other people might and it’s not toxic).

    As for toad and frog, the distinction seems to be one of appearance and characteristics. Like toadstool and mushroom, this distinction is not taxonmic.