Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Cluster of small brown mushrooms at the bottom of a tree.
Lime Kiln Farm, Sheffield

Rainy Days Bring a Burst of Mushrooms

July 17, 2023

Cloudy. Muggy. Rainy. This summer has been wet, which is prompting some people to stay indoors. However, if you're opting for the dry respite of the couch, you're missing out on one of our favorite rainy weather phenomena—the subsequent explosion of mushrooms!

What Are Mushrooms?

The classic “stem-and-cap” mushroom is typically the first thing that comes to mind when most folks think of a fungus, but estimates indicate there may be more than 2-3 million species of fungi worldwide, outnumbering plants by 10-to-1!

Biologists initially thought fungi were a part of the plant kingdom since they have a similar lifestyle: largely immobile, often grow in soil, and produce “fruit” or fruiting bodies. However, fungi received their own kingdom distinction in 1969 and it is now believed that fungi are, in some ways, more closely related to animals than plants—animals and fungi are both “heterotrophic,” meaning they can’t produce their own food like plants. In short, both fungi and animals require other things to get their energy, using digestive enzymes. 

Why Do Mushrooms Appear After It Rains? 

Fungi thrives in moist environments. When the ground is soggy and wet, fungi are right at home. The wet conditions allow spores to spread, and the fungi’s fruiting bodies burst forward, leaving a trail of visible evidence. 

Where to Find Mushrooms

Where and when to look for mushrooms after a rain can vary based on several factors. Typically, an increase in mushroom activity can be observed 2-10 days after significant rainfall. In addition, some fungi only grow alongside specific substrates (soil type, wood type, scat, etc). 

We've recently spotted a few patches of fruiting fungi along the trails of these Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries. Here are few sanctuaries you may be able to find recent fungi growth:

Fungi You Can Find in Massachusetts

  • Purple coral-like fungus growing from moss
    Violet Coral Fungus
  • White mushroom growing on tree
    Oyster Mushroom © Rosemary Mosco
  • Yellow mushroom with white dots on cap
    “Fly Amanita”, Amanita muscaria © Bruce Gilman
  • Laccaria trullissata mushroom © Diane Lomba
    Laccaria trullissata mushroom © Diane Lomba
  • Mushrooms growing out of tree
    Onion Bagel Pholiota, Pholiota aurivella/limonella © Ed Anzures