Known as “dog turd mushroom”, this mass has been growing for several months in a gravelly portion of my garden and has just now decided to uproot itself and relocate. Last year I remember seeing one in the alley under my trash cans. It took months to break down, and at the time I thought it had been tossed there as a joke. So when I tripped over this new bit of nastiness, I felt it was time to put my google skills to work.
By the way, this isn’t the first time an alien form has invaded my garden. It’s funny how both incidents were named after dog accidents.
Officially this lump of ugly is known as Pisolithus tinctorius or Pisolithus arrhizus. Despite its repulsive appearance, this mushroom happens to be beneficial. As a mycorrhizal fungus, gardeners and foresters use it to assist young plant and tree growth. Since I have no plans to sell or donate it to a local nursery, it’s been tossed under my oak tree in the shade garden, where hopefully it will do some good.