Do Mushrooms Grow in Poop?

Why do Mushrooms Grow in Poop?

Now that is the question that has kept botanists, biologists, and all other scientists on their toes, right? Do Mushrooms grow in poop? Yes! They do. This knowledge is pretty interesting. I bet!

Basically, before we talk about why mushrooms or other fungi grow in poop, it is essential to know how the fungi reproduce. You see, fungi reproduce asexually.

Meaning that unlike flowers and all other plants, which reproduce sexually through pollination, fungi reproduce through their spores. This process is known as sporulation.

So, when fungi release their spores into the environment and those spores land on grass, crops, and other grazing areas, they are eaten by herbivores like cows, buffalos, goats. You get the point, right?

The spores are eaten by herbivores, then take a tour through their digestive system, and are excreted out with herbivores’ poop. Surprisingly, the animal poop provides all the essential nutrients and minerals to the spores to grow well.

But you may ask, why don’t they get digested with other plant material? Because these spores have thick walls that prevent them from being digested, and that is why they are excreted out.

When these “poop-loving” fungi grow and get ready for their own sporulation, they release more poop-loving spores; thus, they reproduce and expand themselves.

There is a term used for these fungi, which is “Coprophilous fungi.” The Coprophilous fungi grow in the poop of herbivores but wait just a minute; if you think they can reproduce and expand themselves while staying in poop, then you might be mistaken.

It is vital that these Coprophilous fungi send their spores far enough to land on new plants. Because obviously, as you read above, the spores are eaten by herbivores and excreted out. Do you think those animals will feed on their own poop? No, I don’t think so.

How Common is Mushrooms Growing in Poop?

It is not that common among fungi (mushrooms) to grow in poop as they do not form concrete groups. They are pretty few in number because not all fungi need what Coprophilous fungi need.

That is the reason why they are classified separately from other fungi species. Fungi that grow on poop are sometimes exclusive to specific animal poop.

Species like Coprinus radiatus and Panaeolus campanulatus specifically grow in horse poop and may not grow on any other animal poop. Whereas Panaeolus sphinctrinus can be found growing on any kind of animal poop or also on the soil.

Many other species like Conocybe rickenii are able to sustain their healthy growth in compost (manure). You see, they are counted and selected species that can be seen growing in animal poop.

Coprophilous fungi are not that common. If I had to put this statement into perspective, I’d say around 5% or less than 10% of the fungi (mushrooms) grow in poop, and these numbers are not exact, as they might be more (in percent) than that or they might be less. What do you think?

What type of Mushroom would you find in poop?

You may not like what I’m about to say, some of you might already know this, and some of you might not know that mushrooms that you buy from the superstores or any other place are usually grown in cow poop.

Some other fungi that grow in animal poop are Coprinus radiatus and Panaeolus campanulatus. These are the species that you would usually see in cow poop or horse poop.

The Cheilymenia is yet another genus of fungi that are said to be poop decayers. You may be thinking, what does the poop have that these fungi need? I, myself, used to see dung, poop, or manure as just a waste that can not make any difference now.

But as I dug deeper into this whole thing, I got to know that there are many essential minerals and nutrients inside the manure or poop that help in plant growth in many positive ways.

Nutrients like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sulfur, phosphorus, nitrogen, and many others as well. Together these minerals make the cow dung healthy and appealing to many fungal species.

Furthermore, the magic mushrooms (psychedelic mushrooms) are also grown in the poop, but they only require the cow poop for their healthy growth, and that poop should not contain a lot of stomach acid (because stomach acid might not be too good for this fungus).

You and I might not consider the cow & horse poop important at all, but in reality, they provide a safe haven for these fungal species and contain all the needed minerals for their growth.

Why do some Mushrooms Grow in Cow Dung?

Cow dung/poop is the most suitable place for a fungus to be at. Cow dung is rich in minerals and nutrients. To be precise, whatever a fungus needs to grow correctly, cow poop has it.

If you want me to put things into perspective, then let’s do it. Do living beings need nitrogen? Yes? The cow poop has it. Do they need potassium? Yes? The cow dung has it.

There is an abbreviation NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) 3% of Nitrogen, 2% of Phosphorous, 1% of Potassium are found in the cow poop. In simpler words, cow poop is full of rich minerals that help the mushroom’s growth pretty well.

Well, these are not only the reasons that mushrooms grow in cow dung; there are others. But it is also essential to know why don’t all mushrooms grow in cow dung?

Ever thought about that? You must be thinking if cow poop is that good in fungi growth aspect, then why don’t all mushrooms do the same?

Your question is valid. I thought so myself and did a little research. The cow dung is good for fungi but to a specific extent. Otherwise, excess of anything is bad.

Basically, the cow poop is pretty high on ammonia. Meaning the ammonium level inside the cow dung. Ammonia is not suitable for fungi because it raises the pH, which does not play well in fungi’s favor.

That is why even fungi that grow in poop can’t expand there and need to send their spores far away for sporulation. It will be okay to say that fungi can grow in poop, but they can’t reproduce there. I hope you get the point.

What Edible mushroom Grow on Manure?

Did you just buy mushrooms from the supermarket? Well, there is a high chance that you might be eating mushrooms that were grown in poop (manure).

Bolbitius vitellinus (this species is primarily found in the European and American continents), Conocybe moseri (primarily found growing in Asian, European continents. It was observed in India that this fungal species can grow in poop).

Coprinellus niveus (primarily found in American and European continents), Coprinopsis narcotica (generally found around the world), Conocybe pubescens (this kind of fungi are known as saint mushrooms), and many, and I really mean many other species are said to be poop-loving.

There is a fungus known as white button AKA white mushrooms. They are also pretty famously eaten among the masses. These fungi also grow in horse poop.

Cremini is yet another species of fungi whose botanical name is Agaricus bisporus. Psilocybe cubensis is also a fungal species that can be seen growing in cow and horse poop.

All of these and several other fungi are edible and are eaten often throughout the world. But this was just the shortlisted edible poop-loving fungi. So, it is up to you whether you want to eat them or not.

Are all Mushrooms that Grow in Cow Manure Psychedelic?

Mostly, Yes! Because the psychedelic fungi need the cow dung primarily for healthy growth. So, if I say that all mushrooms that grow in cow manure are psychedelic, it will be valid.

You may be thinking, which fungi are psychedelic among all species? Let’s break it down. Those species are Magic mushrooms, Wavy cap, Liberty cap, Psilocybe azurescens, Panaeolus cyanescens, Psilocybe Mexicana, Panaeolus cinctulus, and many others.

All of these species have something in common that is psilocybin. This psilocybin is what puts them all in one category of psychedelic fungi. The psychedelic fungi are primarily found in the North American and European continents.

How do psychedelic mushrooms taste? Well, they don’t much taste like other mushrooms and are pretty hard to chew. People who use them as their food prefer to mix them with something else like tea or egg to mix up their taste and make them easy to be eaten.


I have descriptively talked about all the possible queries one may have regarding fungi growing in animal poop (dung or manure). Let’s summarize the article in some sentences.

Why do Mushrooms grow in poop? Because some fungi are basically classified as poop-loving fungi and the poop itself provides a safe haven for fungi.

How common is Mushrooms growing in animal poop? Not so common. There are only some species of fungi that are considered poop-loving.

Are all fungi that grow in animal poop psychedelic? Yes! The psychedelic fungi basically need cow manure to grow healthy.

Thank you for reading this far.

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