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Active Monsoon Is Good News For Arizona Mushroom Hunters

Let’s get this part out of the way: Wild mushrooms can be poisonous. You shouldn’t eat them if you’re not sure what you’ve got.

But the monsoon has been a wet one, which means that the summer has been a good one for mushroom hunters, says Mike Dechter, of the Arizona Mushroom Society.

“We’ve been very fortunate this year, and a lot of us are very excited to see a lot of these mushrooms we love, we love to see and find and sometimes eat,” Dechter said.

Arizona’s diversity of landscapes means that it has a number of mushrooms unique to the state.

“Yeah, you know it turns out that Arizona has a ton of really unique mushroom and fungi, that we really don’t see anywhere else. ... You know our sky islands, a lot of those mushrooms have probably been up there for millions of years kind of evolving into their own thing, not being able to trade genes with other populations that are in other areas because they're surrounded by desert," Dechter said. 

Dechter says that although there are a number of sources of information about mushrooms online, the best way to learn about them is in the field, with someone who knows how to identify them.

Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.