outdoorsJune 12, 2024
Discover the elusive jelly baby mushrooms thriving briefly under sweetgum trees after heavy rain. Learn about their rapid life cycle and why you should never eat unknown fungi.
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Courtesy of Aaron Horrell
Aaron Horrell
Aaron Horrell

I found these tiny mushrooms in late May under a canopy of tall sweetgum trees. They were in a place that had been under water from two days of heavy rain. The ground was very wet. I held one of them between two fingers without pulling it from the ground. It was similar in consistency to a candy gummy worm.

These little mushrooms have a cute name. They are called jelly babies. They are very simple in structure with nothing more than a stalk and a head. They grow quickly and live only a matter of hours before wilting and melting away. I went back to the same spot two mornings later and found nothing to indicate they had ever existed.

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I did not notice any discernible odor coming from these mushrooms, and I certainly did not harvest any to eat. Never consume any mushrooms that you don’t know are 100% safe to eat.

AARON HORRELL is owner of Painted Wren Art Gallery in Cape Girardeau. He is a Bollinger County native.

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