Differences between a mushroom and
The terms ‘mushroom’ and ‘toadstool’ are subjective rather than strictly scientific, and therefore are open to a range of loose interpretations. In general, fungi with fruit bodies that have a cap more or less centrally placed on top of a stem are referred to as ‘mushrooms’, or as ‘mushrooms and toadstools’. Some people broadly consider that all fungi with a cap and stem are ‘mushrooms’, while others consider only edible fungi as ‘mushrooms’. In the strictest sense, the word
‘mushroom’ refers only to members of the genus
Agaricus, e.g. the cultivated white button mushroom.
‘Toadstool’ is typically applied to any fungus with a cap and stem that appears different from
Agaricus, regardless of its edibility, or more usually if it is suspected or known to be poisonous. In a broader sense, ‘toadstools’ also includes other non-mushroom forms of fungi such as puffballs, earthstars, and coral fungi.