|Amanita rubescens 6-23-2013|
Mid-to-late June here in central Missouri was glorious, mushroom-wise.
There was a short mini-drought several weeks earlier that lasted about two weeks and scared the hell out of me, because last summer there was a long and terrible drought. But regular early summer rain came, and the forest floor exploded.
There were several species in great abundance that I’d only seen here and there in previous years. The incredibly handsome Amanita rubescens was one of them.
Above, both are Amanita rubescens. The one on the right is shop-worn and has lost a lot of its cap patches (from heavy rain, I bet). But those red dents and divots (damage from bugs and animals, most likely) give it away. “Rubescens” means “reddening” in Latin which is how it got its common name, “blusher.”
|Not-quite-mature Amanita rubescens|
The toffee sprinkles all over the cap (above) are the remains of its universal veil, which enclosed the entire mushroom before it burst out of it. They are like pieces of a torn sheet. So if you deconstructed this mushroom you could rejoin all those warts, like kids do with maps of the world.
See that tawny orange thing right in the middle of the image above?
It was the biggest blusher I’ve ever seen! Even though I hadn't seen many!
There it is with my foot! There it is with my hand!
I didn't see any others like this one, so flat. And huge!
Unusual also in that it was in nearly perfect condition. Every other one I saw this summer had a blushing chunk missing, or a red bruise, or both.
|Amanita rubescens fully expanded cap. Click to view large! Click any image to view large!|
The big floppy skirt on the one above is its partial veil, which used to cover the gills. As the cap expands, the veil tears free from the edge of the cap and remains attached to the stalk. That’s the “ring” the field guides mean. But sometimes the ring falls off, so don’t get crazy!
I’m glad I met them.
I saw another one of those things you hardly ever see! A big ol’ box turtle eating a big ol’ mushroom, right next to the trail.
Some kind of Russula, maybe.
If you spend any time at all in the woods you see turtles. I'm a little surprised when I don't see a turtle. But usually I see a turtle seeing me and pulling into its shell, not in the middle of a big meal of juicy, succulent mushroom.