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How to Identify Fungus That Grows on Horse Manure

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Mushrooms can grow nearly anyplace that is rich enough in nutrients, moist enough and shaded adequately. They often grow on animal droppings, such as horse and cow dung. The mushrooms on cow poop, however, are not necessarily the same species as those that grow on horse manure. Identifying fungus that grows on horse manure takes some careful observation and a keen eye. There are eight primary species of fungi that commonly grow on horse manure.

Snowy Inkcap Mushroom

Look for a bell-shaped, white or cream-colored mushroom no taller than 2 inches with a chalk-white “mealy” covering on its cap. This fungus growing on horse manure is the ​Coprinus nivea​, also called Schneeweisser Tintling or Snowy Inkcap. You’ll find this odorless mushroom growing on horse manure in summer through autumn.

Singer Cap Mushroom

Identify ​Psilocybe cubensis​ or Singer Cap by its white bell-shaped to broadly conical cap that is yellowish to brownish in the center. This fungus grows on horse manure nearly year round and reaches a height of 2 to 6 inches. This mushroom’s flesh turns bluish when bruised or cut. Michigan State University lists this species on its list of predominantly poisonous mushrooms that are also hallucinogenic.

Blistered Cap Mushroom

Identify ​Peziza vesiculosa​, also called Blistered Cup, by its cup-shaped and yellow, gray to beige cap that grow from 1 to 3½ inches wide. Also characteristic of this species is its habit of growing in clusters, according to iNaturalist. The 2- to 6-inch tall mushroom grows year round on horse manure.

Nail Fungus Mushroom

Look for a gray to beige-colored mushroom growing on horse manure in the autumn. This fungus is the tiny ​Poronia punctata​, also known as Nail Fungus, and it grows no larger than 2 inches tall with a long, cylindrical, black stalk.

Dung-Trauschling Mushroom

Recognize the ​Psilocybe merdaria​, or Dung-Trauschling or Stropharia merdaria, by its slimy or sticky brown flesh and 1- to 2-inch-wide conical cap. The mushroom grows on horse manure in late summer to autumn, growing to only 2 inches tall at most with purplish-brown gills. Its stem is usually whitish or light yellow with a base coated in white down.

Bell-Shaped Mottlegill Mushroom

Identify ​Panaeolus campanulatus​, also called Bell-Shaped Mottlegill or Glockendungerling, by spotting its hemispherical, conical, 1- to 1½-inch cap that is pale beige around the edges and reddish-brown in the center. The stem is noticeably longer than the cap and is gray or gray-brown. This 2-inch-tall mushroom grows on horse dung in late summer to autumn.

Orton Schaf-Dungerling Mushroom

Look for a 2- to 6-inch tall fungus growing on horse manure in late summer to fall with a long stem and conical or convex cap that is ¾ inch to 3 inches wide. This fungus is the ​Panaeolus speciosus​, or Orton Schaf-Dungerling, which is beige to dull brown and grayish and darker in color around the edges of the cap. The stem is whitish-beige or grayish-pink with a dusted-white base.

Garten-Dungerling Mushroom

Find the ​Panaeolus subbalteatus​, or Garten-Dungerling, growing on horse manure in early summer to autumn. This fungus also has a stem much longer than the cap’s diameter. The convex to flat-shaped cap is ¾ inch to 2½ inches wide that is dark reddish-brown. The stem is lighter in color, a pale brown.

Tip

To make an accurate identification of the mushrooms you find growing on horse manure, refer to a mushroom textbook or field guide containing accurate photographs. You can also use a magnifying glass to better observe the features of the smaller mushroom varieties.

Warning

Never eat fungus you find growing on horse manure. These types of fungi are often inedible, and they're potentially toxic or psychoactive.

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