Please Help, What is it???

Paul Zambino paulz at PUCCINI.CRL.UMN.EDU
Mon Sep 25 13:07:46 EST 1995

>HI,  I have what I believe to be a mushroom growing on my
>property.  This in itself is not a big deal.  However, this
>particular fungi is pushing up my driveway.  I had the same thing
>occur last year at this time.  I assumed it was a large tree root
>pushing up the asphalt.  When we dug up the spot to cut the tree
>roots we found a large (3-4 pound) mushroom.  The offending fungi
>was a white grey in color and was configured like a large bunch
>of grapes.  I thought that was the end of it.  But it has
>returned.  If anyone has any idea what I'm dealing with and how
>to eliminate this problem I would be most grateful. Pleases
>E_Mail me if you care to lend a hand.
>Tom  E-Mail Address  didymus at

Tom, I have seen the mushroom Coprinus micaceous (mica cap mushroom, a type
of inky cap) producing hundreds of mushroom fruit bodies on buried wood and
pushing up an asphalt walking trail.  My guess is that the grape-like
appearance you see could be due to many individual caps of an inky cap or
other mushroom species working together to lift up your driveway!    If
your fungus is an inky cap, it will continue to come up once to several
times a year for several years until the wood is consumed.  You can tell if
it is inky caps by letting some of the caps mature.  They will have very
closely packed gills that start out whitish, then turn black and dissolve
into a repulsive inky liquid.  You might have seen these mushrooms fully
expanded before on old buried or chipped elm stumps.  If you can get a
positive ID of species, some inky caps are listed as excellent edibles when
immature.  One caution, and a note of pharmacological interest: a chemical
produced by even edible inky caps causes nausea when alcohol has been
consumed before or after eating the fungus, and is the origin of the
treatment for alcololism called "Antabuse".  Good luck, Paul

Paul Zambino
USDA Forest Service
Forestry Sciences Lab
5985 Highway K
Rhinelander, WI 54501
FAX: (715)362-1166
EMAIL: paulz at

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