Need help identifying and destroying this image that I have provided. It is...
Need help identifying and destroying this image that I have provided. It is growing in our greenhouse in one of the beds and starting to spread to others. It began puffing a white cloud when the breeze or movement of air happened.
Is this a fungus, mushroom, hazard??? edible??? Still waiting on a reply. Thank You.
Clermont County Ohio
This is one of the many cup fungi (Ascomycota) in the genus Peziza (see information at the following link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peziza). It is very difficult to separate the Peziza cup fungi based on visual appearance, most separation of species is done microscopically. These fungi are saprobes meaning that they decompose organic matter from dead organism such as wood and roots in the soil. They are not directly damaging to live plants, but their growth might interfere with some of the plants activities such as absorption of nutrients from the soil.
Getting rid of soil dwelling fungi is not easy. In greenhouses, replacing the soil might be the only choice to eliminate the fungus. Chemical treatment is not a realistic option. As you have also witnessed, the cup fungi that you can see on the soil surface is the reproductive structure from which spores are released, the smoky mist that you saw being released from the mushrooms surface. These spores will start new fungi wherever they may land.
To address some of your above questions:
Are they a fungus or mushroom? Yes, it is a fungus and a mushroom, the terms are inter-changeable in this case.
Are they a hazard? For the most part, no. Some people may have allergies triggered by the spores.
Are they edible? The edibility of most of these cup fungi has not been determined.