Fruits of Decay: Mushrooms of the Midwest now on display through May 7

The exhibit, Fruits of Decay – Mushrooms of the Midwest, is a photographic exhibit highlighting some of the more common mushrooms found in the upper midwest. The exhibit is divided into three categories based on the functions the mushrooms perform in the ecosystem; Mycorrhizal fungi, those forming symbiotic relationships with the rootlets of plants; Parasitic fungi, those that are destructive to their host; and saprophytic fungi which subsist on dead or decaying matter.

Each of the photo labels indicates type (mycorrhizal, parasitic, or saprophytic), edibility, toxicity, and where appropriate, type of toxin, distinctive features, and season of fruiting. In addition to the mushroom photos, three subcatagories each explain a different related topic. “The Fool-Proof Four” encourages neophyte fungal foragers to sample a small portion of this natural gastronomie while instilling confidence in field identification; “Mushrooms in Children’s Books” illustrates references to fungi in mythology; and “The Mushroom Growing Industry” illustrates the origins of mushrooms before they get to the supermarket.