I did some research, and it turns out that they were probably blewitt mushrooms, one of the most common edible mushrooms in the Bay Area. Blewitt means "blue hat". Because of their unusual coloring, it is basically impossible to misidentify them with any other mushroom that grows in the area. To be on the safe side, I took a spore print by placing one of the caps on a dark piece of paper overnight. If they were indeed blewitt mushrooms, they would have a white or light beige spore print.
Sure enough, the spore print was white!
This big one was infested with fly larvae, so I had to throw it away :-(
I'm gonna cook the other two tomorrow and eat a little bit to see if I have any kind of negative reaction. The websites say that some people can have an allergic reaction, even if the mushrooms are normally safe for most people to eat. If nothing happens after a week, I'll eat the rest of it. If something bad happens to me... you know why...
Because of my fascination with mushrooms, I took my camera on my walks yesterday and today to digitally capture some of the more interesting varieties. These are some of the mushrooms growing around the campus and surrounding neighborhoods:
This one felt like a deflated balloon.
This one kind of looks like one of the pictures I've seen of oyster mushrooms, but it is growing out of the ground, so I can't be sure. It could be growing from wood buried beneath the ground, but I don't feel like digging to find out.
These button mushroom looking things grow everywhere. I wish there was some way to know for sure that they were safe to eat, 'cuz that would mean free food everywhere popping out of the ground!
This guy was growing out of a cliff from the root of a eucalyptus. The whole scene was very "natury/fantasy" looking.
My first banana slug! I didn't realize until today that they lived here. This guy was HUGE!!! He was sitting on top of a big yellow mushroom... kind of Alice in Wonderlandy.
These one's take the prize for weirdest mushroom I have ever seen in my entire life! They had this weird greenish gray slime inside that smelled pretty bad.
I think they start out as these white clusters and then the red ball thing bursts out of it.
When the mushroom dies, it looks like a bag of exploded guts.