A giant toadstool growing in a garden here in town. In this photo the house door in the background gives scale to this huge fungal plant
Yesterday, an acquaintance of mine, Anita, asked me to come and photograph a large and peculiar mushroom growing in her garden. I arrived at her house expecting to see a fair-sized plant; my newspaper article already forming in my mind.
Imagine my surprise when she led me to a huge tree and there at the base was an enormous toadstool. I felt as if I’d stepped into a fairy tale. Absolutely surreal. It is the size of a large meat platter; the texture appears soft, like baked meringue, yet it is coarse and spongy to the touch. Anita told me that it started off as a smooth plant which gradually burst open in various places. It appeared in a bed of green hen-and-chickens / green spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) so even though it has grown around these plants, it actually seems as though they are growing through the toadstool.
a fair indication of the size of this agaric
Last night I googled both popular names and came up with the following:
Toadstool: common name for an inedible or poisonous agaric (contrasting with the edible mushroom)
A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source.
Whatever this one is, as far as I'm concerned it is only good for photographing and writing about!