Good Mushroom, Bad Mushroom: Fun(gus) Trading Cards

Learn about mushrooms, and trade your favorites with your friends!

Do you like mushrooms but wish there were a way to remember the good from the bad? Well, worry no longer, because Science Friday has created this handy set of fungus trading cards! Learn about mushrooms, and swap your favorites with your friends!











Meet the Writer

About Daniel Peterschmidt

Daniel Peterschmidt is a digital producer and composes music for Science Friday’s podcast, Undiscovered. He’s playing D&D and his character is a clumsy bard named Chip Chap Chopman.

  • Marshall

    I have heard that mushrooms are essential to the survival of forests. What is the relationship between mushrooms and the health of trees?

    • Hugh Shakeshaft

      The make nutrients available to plants.

    • Brian Richard Bogosian

      There are three basic relationships mycorrizal, saprophyic and parasitic. The mycorrizal relationship is the symbiotic one. The mushroom gets nutrients and water for the tree and the tree provides the mushroom with carbohydrates. Without this relationship many trees wouldn’t make it. Many so called “bad” mushrooms are providing a very useful function though they can be deadly to our species. I think the cards are neat and very useful but one should know their limitations.

  • Celeste Crago

    I love Science Friday and today’s show was of particular interest, used to hunt with my husband (now ex) and we enjoyed cooking with them. One thing about him that charmed me, his extensive knowledge of mushrooms. I’ve often wished for a mushroom guide and directions in my locale.

  • Martha Ture

    As a mushroom hunter and cook, I am uncomfortable with these cards. The precautionary principle is critical to fungus identification. A spore print is the only way to tell some poisonous `shrooms from their edible lookalikes. It takes expertise and guidance, not trading cards, to form the basis for foraging. Further, some people have allergic reactions to some fungi – for example, I can’t eat Sulfur shelf (chicken of the woods) or honey mushroom (armillaria). The San Francisco Poison Control Center can tell you about the underinformed urbanites who destroy their livers by eating the wrong fungus.

    • Dinty Musk

      While this is true in some cases, none of the mushrooms listed require a spore print to clearly identify them. A bigger beef is not showing a daytime, useful photo of Omphalotus illudens or a young Coprinus comatus, and using an outdated name for the Auricularia ( now Auricularia americana). These are great species for cards as they are fairly easy to learn.

      • Brian Richard Bogosian

        Yes, I agree that if a person hunts for Cantharellus cibarius, Chaterelles they had better know the difference between them and the poisonous but not deadly Omphalouts illudens. Adding major identifying features would have been great too. I don’t think any publication can keep up with the rapid changes in the scientific names but old names are very useful. Because of the constant new revelations from DNA sequencing taxonomy is in flux.

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