Yes, mushrooms do grow from poop, but it’s a little more complicated than that.
Mushrooms are actually the fruiting bodies of fungi. The fungus grows in soil or on decaying organic matter, and when it produces spores, those spores can land on food. When you eat the food (or sometimes even just touch it), the spores germinate and grow into mycelia, which are like roots for the fungus. These mycelia produce enzymes that break down cellulose and lignin, which allows them to spread through the food source.
The mycelia continue to grow until they’ve completely colonized their food source. Then they produce mushrooms, which are just the part of the fungus that sticks out above the ground. These mushrooms contain nutrients for future generations of fungi, so they’re basically seeds for more fungus growth.
The most common type of mushroom is called an Agaricus bisporus or white button mushroom. You can buy these at any grocery store — they’re usually found in packages alongside other vegetables like canned beans or peas. You can also buy a similar type called crimini mushrooms that have brown caps instead of white ones (the crimini name comes from their crimped shape).
Last modified: September 20, 2022