It seems that everyone has an opinion about consuming wild mushrooms.

There is the fungophobic, “Every mushroom is edible, some only once,” crowd that puts the fear of foraging in any beginner harvester. And rightfully so. If you don’t know the test, don’t ingest!

Then there is the confident, “Just stick with the basics and you will be fine,” crowd that makes the gathering and eating of wild mushrooms seem easy and risk-free. Not necessarily the path I’d advocate, but let’s listen to an expert.

Wild foods legend Euell Gibbons straddled the line, being cautious and encouraging all at once.

“Of course an instructed amateur who starts gathering and eating mushrooms before he can distinguish one species from another is likely to poison himself,” he warned. “A rash fool can find a way to kill himself anywhere, but that is no reason why sensible, prudent people shouldn’t enjoy delicious and wholesome wild mushrooms.”

Though I am tempted (and sensible and prudent), I still fall on the side of restraint. While I love to forage and am confident with my plant identification skills, I tend to be hesitant when it comes to mushrooms. However, I am still curious, and still love shrooms so, even with my risk-adverse nature, I was intrigued at the finding of an abundance of coral fungi last week.

Coral fungi are in the Clavaroid or Ramaria genus of mushrooms, and members of their larger Clavariaceae family group are known as antler fungi, finger fungi, worm mold and spaghetti mushrooms. All in this group are known for their branching structure and resemblance to ocean coral.

Found on the ground, in dead wood or decaying vegetation, coral mushrooms can be saprophytic or ectomycorrhizal. Respectively, these terms describe their ability to get their energy from dead and decaying organic matter, or their dependence on roots of living trees to provide nutrition.

Though coral mushrooms’ method of food production and nutrient uptake may not sound tremendously appealing, the idea of tasting them does. So, it is with trepidation — and not purely in the interest of research — that I am considering eating them. My identification put them in the Ramariopsis genus. While edible, some species in this genus have been described as not terribly tasty, flavorless, and texture-less. Some recommendation! At the very least, it is known that they are not poisonous, though they might cause minor stomach upset and can act as a laxative. None of this provides a ringing endorsement.

Yet some members of the family are eaten and appreciated, enjoyed throughout the world in places less fearful of wild fungi than the U.S. Coral fungus can be found at markets in Mexico, China and Thailand with names like “escobetas, which means “scrubbing brushes,” and “broom mushrooms.”

With a peppery flavor, coral mushrooms can be dried for jerky, added to sauces and stews and pickled. However, there’s a footnote: common warnings suggest avoiding colorful varieties of coral fungi, which may be more inclined to incite illness.

Armed with all of this information, and with the white fungus and a knife, I am still curious. Science, cookery and investigation must progress! As Samuel Johnson said, “Curiosity is the thirst” — or, in this case, hunger — “of the soul.”

Suzan Bellincampi is director of the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Edgartown, and author of Martha’s Vineyard: A Field Guide to Island Nature and The Nature of Martha’s Vineyard.