While we were hiking through the woods surrounding Wonderopolis the other day, we overheard a tree talking to a flower.

Tree:                 Hey Flower!

Flower:             Howdy Tree!

Tree:                 Did you see mushroom this morning?

Flower:             No. What was he doing?

Tree:                 He was getting ready to go to a party. He’s so lucky.

Flower:             I know! It’s no WONDER why he gets invited to all the parties, though.

Tree:                 Why?

Flower:             Because he’s a fungi!

Get it? He’s a fun…guy! OK, so that’s an old joke, but we thought it was perfect for today’s Wonder of the Day!

Do you like mushrooms? These edible goodies are a tasty part of all sorts of treats, from pizza and casseroles to soups and salads. But what exactly are they?

Mushrooms are the fleshy, fruiting bodies of fungi. Did you realize that when you put a mushroom on your pizza that you’re eating a fungus? It’s true! And it tastes so good.

When you think of a mushroom, you may think of a simple white mushroom that grows above the ground with a stem and a cap with pores or gills. There are actually many different types of mushrooms, though. Some have stems and caps and some don’t.

Some mushrooms are called toadstools. This nickname probably came from the fact that they looked just like a perfect spot for a toad to sit!

Some people believe that the term “toadstool” means a mushroom that is poisonous. This belief may have come from the fact that many toads were considered highly poisonous.

However, there are actually many misconceptions out there about toadstools. For example, not all toadstools are toxic. Moreover, many mushrooms are deadly.

While some mushrooms are tasty treats, several types of mushrooms are poisonous and can be deadly to human beings. As a general rule, never eat wild mushrooms. Stick to what you find in grocery stores.

Others believe toadstools are all mushrooms that have the typical stem and cap. One mushroom often considered a toadstool is Amanita muscaria, a red-capped, stemmed mushroom often seen in fairy tales.

To get to the bottom of the confusion, here are some simple facts to remember about mushrooms and toadstools:

  • Mushrooms and toadstools are the same. There’s no scientific difference between them.
  • Mushrooms and toadstools cannot be defined by or distinguished from one another by shape, color or appearance.
  • Not all toadstools are poisonous and not all mushrooms are safe to eat.
So when should you call a mushroom a toadstool? It’s up to you. If it looks like a good spot for a toad to sit, then go ahead and call it a toadstool. No one will mind!

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is as smooth as…well…you’ll see!