EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Areas in the Borderland have seen an increase of mushrooms growing in the community, including New Mexico State University where a researcher warns against ingesting them.

“Mushrooms have always intrigued human beings, and there are continuous attempts to use them for gastronomical and medicinal purposes,” said Soum Sanogo, Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science Department professor. “However, people must remember not to pick mushrooms for consumption unless they have been vetted as suitable for consumption.”

The mushrooms contain toxic proteins that cause sickness, including symptoms of nausea, bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain. 

The researcher said the mushrooms grow from late spring to fall due to warm temperatures and high soil moisture from the abundance of rain, dew formation and irrigation.

With the nearly seven inches of rain in August, about a five-inch increase above average, the area has temporarily created an environment for the mushrooms to thrive. 

The mushrooms are described to have unique and distinct features of green-colored gills on the cap undersides when mature. These mushrooms commonly grow in rings, also called “fairy rings.” 

In addition to being harmful to people, mushrooms are harmful to animals as well. Sanogo advised pet owners to remove and dispose of the mushrooms to prevent ingestion. Otherwise, he said, it’s fine to let the mushrooms grow, because they will eventually die off. 

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