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I live in Wilmington, Delaware (Mid-Atlantic USA). The north side of my yard is largely shaded by my house and grass is spotty.

Periodically when I go into the yard I will find as many as four pod-like things have opened on the ground. I almost never notice them before this stage, the one time I did it looked like a patch of dirt until I stepped on it and it sort of shattered.

I'm baffled by it and my wife thinks it's some form of fungus.

We have two children under 4 and we are concerned it could be poisonous. It certainly doesn't enhance our yard's attractiveness.

Thing growing in my yard - opened

With that in mind, I have a handful of related questions:

  1. What is it?
  2. Is it dangerous?
  3. How can I get rid of it, if I so choose?

Addendum:

I believe we have found an unopened example of what we've been seeing:

Thing growing in my yard - unopened

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    $\begingroup$ It may be some type of puffball fungus. If possible, a photo before it has opened would be helpful with identification. $\endgroup$ – wanderweeer Apr 14 '18 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Kurt After a couple days of looking, my wife seems to have found an unopened example, I've added the photo to the question. $\endgroup$ – Wildcat Matt Apr 17 '18 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ You might want to ask this in the gardening part of stack exchange. $\endgroup$ – InColorado Aug 1 '18 at 2:57
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    $\begingroup$ Likely some kind of "earth star" fungus/mushroom. It is decomposed too much to identify. $\endgroup$ – blacksmith37 Sep 25 '18 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ Your wife was right--it is a fungus (hard to tell which one). There' probably a lot of organic matter under those bricks, maybe old leaves and dead wood. Location makes sense. While I would not eat it, on account of the difficulty with identification and the fact that mushrooms are often problematic, there is probably no reason to get rid of the caps (unless you have kids). Finally, even if you rip off the cap, most of the rest of the fungus is under ground. The mushroom you see (cap) is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. $\endgroup$ – Plantaloons Mar 3 at 21:01

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