Devil’s Cigar is Not Edible

I feel compelled to insert a short post about the rare Devil’s Cigar. A number of search engine users continue asking if this mushroom is edible.I have researched high and low and I have not found any information written that this mushroom is edible.

My answer is no, it is not edible. Never ever harvest any kind of mushroom. Purchase your mushrooms from a grocery store. They are not unduly expensive. Several individuals die each year from eating poisonous mushrooms. Don’t become a statistic!

A wild thing should be left untouched in the wild and left to grow and complete its life cycle. That plant or fungi is growing there because it is symbiotic with the other things growing there and serves the purpose of completing that particular habitat. Species rely on each other to maintain health, vigor and, productivity.

Many plants and other forms of natives have been lost to people making money from selling rare or endangered species. Is this unfair to the rest of us who would like to see things growing in the wild? But more importantly once any species of flora or fauna is lost it can not be replicated in any form or fashion. And how are we to know that these things might have been used to cure a disease or help mankind in ways one would never have believed?

Scientists from around the world are actively searching rain forests, tundra, desert, mountains, and the ocean seeking specimens to bring back for laboratory studies. Currently humans are already benefiting from medications that were made from native plants.

There is one exception to the rule. ONLY IF YOU KNOW for certain that an area is going to be destroyed and lost to a construction site- then remove with advice, from someone involved in conservation who can advise you on how to competently dig a specimen.

One last thought. I appreciate all the folks that are viewing my blog. Thank you so much.

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36 thoughts on “Devil’s Cigar is Not Edible

  1. I’ve had notices that you’ve read several of the essays on my blog. Thank you so much for digging through and finding them. And you’re very kind to let me know with the likes. I’m impressed with your list of blogs you follow and the work you do. Thanks again. It’s warmed my heart.

    • Thanks so much Janet. About the blogs I follow. Yes there are quite a few but looks can be deceiving. I only comment on the ones that impress me. Some I “Like” but don’t comment on. I simply do not have the time to comment on everyone’s blogs. But those that have something to say that make me laugh or that is thought provoking- then I take the time to show my appreciation. I happen to like how and what you write about. 🙂 ~Yvonne

  2. Lottie Nevin says:

    I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the film ‘Into the Wild’ but I’ve got a horrible feeling that I’d end up just like Christopher McCandless if I tried to forage for myself 😦

    • Lottie, I’ve not seen the film but I’ll take your word for it. I would not dream of foraging for mushrooms but apparently there are many folks that do. Good to get your comment. I’ve had internet connection problems for about 4 days and it was a huge affair. Time Warner had to put up new temporary lines and that took all total, about 6 hours.

      PS: I’m okay. 🙂

  3. Thank you for this. Never heard of it. Good to know.

    • Thanks Paulette for commenting. I’m sure you need not worry since I don’t think you have or would forage for mushrooms. This one only grows in Texas and Japan. But I know there are plenty of mushrooms in the Northwest, USA but I’m not sure about California.

  4. OK, I won’t eat the Cigar. Or anything from the Devil. LOL

    Yes, great points on the need to respect wildlife. I know there are foragers who do eat mushroom but they seem to know what they’re doing – and many forage in the city.

  5. shoreacres says:

    We always looked forward to finding morels in spring, up in Iowa. They’re delicious, and I miss them. Other than the morels, I’ve never picked other mushrooms, simply because I’m not knowledgeable. I do know people who grow mushrooms. It’s quite a project: preparing the wood, keeping the conditions right, and so on.

    I just can’t agree with Steve, about never foraging. My goodness — who would give up picking dewberries in the springtime? Or gathering wild plums for jelly? Not me. When I think of the number of melons, cantaloupe, beans, corn, and lettuce plants the deer, raccoons, skunks and etc. have eaten around here, it seems like an even trade. 🙂

    • Well here I go again. Sort of talking out of both sides of my mouth. Linda where wild edibles are plentiful, I feel the practice is passable but one must be careful not to decimate an entire area of the pickings. If none is left for the birds and other wildlife then that bush or tree or fungi will have no means of coming up some place else. Something must be left and it often takes more than one berry, seed or, nut to come up in a suitable place where it can grow and reproduce.

      Thanks so much for adding your perspective. I appreciate that.


      I picked dewberries as a kid and I remember that folks would beat me to them and had taken every last berry. That is pure greed. We did have some vines on the farm to pick from but not enough.

      • shoreacres says:

        Truth to tell, Yvonne, most of the people I know who pick berries, plums, mulberries or wild blueberries live in places where they’re so abundant there’s plenty for everyone — two footed, four-footed, and winged. Around here, even where the dewberries are readily available, most of them remain free of human hands because no one wants to wade into the thicket, or walk the ditches and risk snakes!

        • I won’t argue with you about a valid point. But around my little ole town much of the roadside edibles have been destroyed by progress and that I suppose is my biggest concern.

  6. Bill says:

    I have to push back a little on this one. We forage for wild mushrooms as part of our homesteading lifestyle. They’re delicious, nutritious and we enjoy them very much. As long as people are responsible and careful to only eat those varieties that are in fact edible, eating a wild mushroom is no more dangerous that eating wild grapes. For hundreds of thousands of years our ancestors were hunters and gatherers. It is true that all species are symbiotic in their environment, but let’s not forget that humans are a species too. We are also a part of the natural habitat, whereas industrial operations that produce the mass-produced food in supermarkets are unnatural and often destructive.

    • Thanks for commenting. Yes Bill, there are two side to every story. You may be a forager due to your life style but that does not mean that you are living in the 17th, 18th or, 19th century when wild edible were in plentiful supply and there were forests and woodlands over most of the continent. I see that as real problem. If you must forage for mushrooms and other wild edibles I hope that you are mindful not to remove every single specimen in any given area. Some of the fungi. berries, leaves, etc. must be left in order to reproduce and to continue the species.

      I hope that I have not ticked you off and I do value your comment even if I do not agree with your thoughts Why not try to grow some of these things for yourself at your homestead?

      I too like mushrooms and buy them fairly often. They make a wonderful addition to a meal.

      • Bill says:

        We do cultivate and grow shiitake and oyster mushrooms in oak logs. Wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, however, cannot be cultivated. They are plentiful here.

        We also eat and enjoy wild blackberries, dandelion greens, wild purslane, chickweed, natural herbs and many other wonderful foods that nature has provided for us.

  7. Littlesundog says:

    I had not thought along these lines before, I suppose mostly because I wasn’t aware there was an issue about mushrooms for fungi being over-harvested. We generally forage for morel mushrooms in these parts each spring, but only take what we need, which isn’t much. And, to my knowledge there is quite an abundance of them across the US. I do understand the problem with selling them for a profit. Our society is very money and profit geared. That bothers me with many wild species – the need to turn profit, and many times illegally.

    Thank you for presenting this interesting view, Yvonne. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • Thanks for your valuable comment. I don’t think that all fungi is in danger. If you know for certain that a species is plentiful then I reckon it can be harvested with caution. Just take sparingly and look in the same area the next year to see if there was an impact on the numbers. I sound as if I’m speaking out of both sides of my mouth. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post.

  8. chatou11 says:

    Helllo Yvonne, I remember this mushroom who looks like a flower you found in your yard.
    Oh my I will never eat a mushroom I found outside, I always get them from my grocery shop.. want to stay alive as long as possible !

    • Chatou, you are so right. I too want to stay alive as long as possible since I like living. And as you’ve written, the grocery store has them for sale and are in plentiful supply from my observations. I buy them fairly often and love adding them to vegetable dishes.

  9. Just Rod says:

    Good advice Yvonne. It saddens me when people think they can transplant a wild variety. They don’t seem to realize removal is probably permanent. That plant will not ever grow in that location again. It is very unlikely that it will reproduce where it is taken. So that plant is like a family that has no children to carry on their genes. It ends.
    It’s good to see a new post on your blog.

    • Rod, thanks for a very worthy and insightful comment. You are 100% correct about taking a specimen and that it will likely not grow when transplanted. I’ve removed from the wild but only when that area was slated as a construction site and all flora would be removed by the bulldozer. I still cringe each time I see grasslands and woodlands destroyed for buildings malls and other things related to “progress.”

  10. Sybil N says:

    I’m curious. Did a specific event prompt you to post this ?

    • Sybil. for the past several weeks viewers have been using the search engine terms- “is Devil’s Cigar edible”? I look at the search engine wording to see what brings folks to my blog. This post today brought 84 views, the most I’ve had in several months. Of course I’ve been under the weather with little energy and no motivation. I’m slowly getting better but not really up to par and at my age I’m afraid that I’ll never recoup my former stamina. Thanks for the question and for commenting.

  11. We agree with you about never eating a mushroom you find. So dangerous unless you know exactly what you are doing.

    • Thanks AC for commenting. Yes, indeed it is just as you’ve written that picking mushrooms is a dangerous undertaking that can lead you to the “undertaker” or the mortuary to be more precise!

  12. I agree 100%, Yvonne. I know a few foragers and most are knowledgeable and responsible, but with all the food available in stores or gardens I have always felt that wild plants should be able to complete the life cycle and if their fruits are harvested it should be by wild creatures. I won’t even pick wild berries. I can’t argue with those who forage out of necessity but those of us who are fortunate to have abundant food need not. So that covers fungi as well.

    • Thank you Steve for an insightful comment. You are right on about not picking anything. It seems that foraging is one of the in things with individuals who see themselves as back to nature and, or getting in on the latest movement. There are a few blogs which I’ve seen that is all about foraging for a meal. I think it is pathetic. I don’t pick wild berries either. Most things are no longer in abundance. Here in Texas I can only think of the Mustang grape that grows in wild abandon in many places. I have picked some of those to make jam but never picked solely in one spot but that was a very long time ago. Oh yes, the grape is still plentiful along the roadsides were it has grown for many years.

  13. For every edible fungi in the UK there is a poisonous one that looks very similar. I was taught from a very early age, if you want mushrooms, buy them from the shops. don’t go picking them in the woods.

    Nowadays all these cookery programs that we have on TV has spawned a legion of harvesters who think nothing of stripping a woodland area of any edible fungi. In some cases the Woodland Trust has banned the picking of wild fungi, berries, leaves etc and there have been calls to make many of them protected species

    • Hello, Mike and thanks for reading and commenting. You’ve presented some valuable and valid information. It is unfortunate that human behavior is swayed by the media or the latest craze. It’s nice to know there is a Woodland Trust to ban harvesting from the wild. It is a sad affair when laws need to be passed in order to protect a species. We have the same problems here in the states. But enforcing the laws often becomes a problem as well. If only folks could have a conscious and care about the environment.

  14. Well, in North-East of Italy high up the Dolomites there used to grow the Cantarelli funghi in abundance. I used to pick them for soups and drying and they were easy to identify. I don’t know if they are still so in those numbers. It was a long time ago! They are delicious and sometimes available here in Aussieland.

    • Hi, Gerard. I imagine that years ago the Cantarelli mushroom grew with abundance. Of course I have no idea how that species has fared over the years. Many people never stopped to think about harvesting from the wild and if there would some day be an impact on that species and the environment. If the Cantrelli is available in Australia then it is surely is now being grown commercially. All mushrooms available in the grocery store are grown commercially. In areas where fungi are grown domestically, mushroom compost is often sold by the companies. The mushroom compost is just about the best compost one can buy. I used to get it by the pickup load from Campbell’s soup company from the plant in Hillsboro, Texas. But alas the mushroom production was closed quite a few years ago. I have no idea why.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I always like to “hear from you.”

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