Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mushroom foray assortment, Sept. 17

Yellow fairy cups, Bisporella citrina.
These are only about 1/8” across, from a little distance they just look like a vague yellow something on a log.

Mycena haematopus
Plum-colored lovelies.
These are all over the place, at this stage they’re a beautiful soft frosted purple, with a “bloom” on them like grapes. Some great common names: blood-foot Mycena, bleeding fairy helmet, the burgundydrop bonnet, or the bleeding Mycena. All the common names (and the Latin specific epithet) refer to the purple-red juice they exude from the stem when crushed. They lose the purple color as they age, fading to tan.

DSC05299             DSC05301
(L, above) Fairy fingers, Clavaria vermicularis, more evidence of fairies. These are about 3/16th of an inch thick (kind of big for the fairies I know).

(R, above) Gem-studded puffball, Lycoperdon perlatum. The surface texture is very delicate and rubs off at the slightest touch.

Very young chicken-of-the-woods, Laetiporus sulphureus. This wonderful cloud-like formation will expand into overlapping fans of zoned orange above, bright smooth clear yellow below.
It’s fall, it’s mushroom season in a big way, I can barely keep up with all the mushrooms out there now.

Lycoperdon pulcherrimum


This is my new best friend. It is a type of puffball.

My excellent hiking-pal found the first one, and then I found a bunch of other ones on another hike. They are tiny (at most an inch--that bit of rusty-brown in the background is an acorn), but the white really stands out (that is, if you’re spending most of your hike looking at the ground 3 feet in front of you).

I think they are so cute that they warrant their own private post. I’ll add more pics to this post if I find more.

9/26: Found more! Still just as cute!

More mushrooms, Sept. 25 foray assortment

Hygrocybe conica
Hygrocybe sp.
A Waxy Cap. This one is unusually pristine, as they are often wet and a little slimy so they almost always have stuff stuck to them.


I don’t know what this is, but I know what I like, and I like this.

Whatever this mushroom is, it’s about 5-6” across, and has beautiful ruffles and scallops. It looks like suede, draped over something rounded. Now I'm kicking myself for not examining it even more closely. What were the gills like? What about the view from below?

I have to admit that I often get so enchanted with the shapes and colors that I lose interest in finding out what they are. I probably shouldn’t say that out loud.
*Edit: I hardly ever do that anymore so I don't have to kick myself later.

Laccaria amethystina
This luscious purple mushroom is not very common around here. Too bad.

A young puffball, Lycoperdon echinatum. Before I knew about these I had assumed they were L. perlatum, but the whole surface is covered with short hairs, not organized little knobs like L. perlatum.


Another big fairy ring of Chlorophyllum molybdites (Green-spored Lepiota)

Someone got my contact info from a show I've got up right now, and told me about a big fairy ring by her house. It always seems to be a race against The Mower with these, but this time I made it.

It was big.
that black thing is my backpack
Green-spored Lepiota fairy ring

The street is over by the trees, and you could see the ring from there.  That black thing is my backpack.
Knife is 3-1/8"        DSC05933

My knife (above) is 3-1/8" long (unopened).

These are mature, and starting to dry up; the surface felt just like parchment paper.


The gills (which start out pure white)




The GILLS!!!

Lookit that! Like seaweed, or Georgia O’Keeffe.

When these are young and just coming up, the gills are lovely white (see here for another entry, of another fairy ring, from another time). The whole thing is white, except for some slight buff coloration of the veil remnants on the cap.  Also when they're young seems to be when overly-eager people decide they look just like the button mushrooms in the store, and since they smell nice and are so pretty and clean, they eat them and get violently ill. Don't eat these. Just look at them, and say "Wow! Look how big some of these suckers are! Aren't they cool?!? And growing in a ring like that!"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Foray: "a quick raid, usually for the purpose of taking plunder"

Well that seems a little harsh.

Anyway, here's some recent finds:

Leucoagaricus rubrotinctus

Now isn't that nice! Pink, with fringe!

Marasmius capillaris

These always manage to grow directly from the veins in the leaf. The stems are like horsehair.

Below is a very young Lion's Mane mushroom. There isn't a hint of yellowing on it, which means there isn't a hint of sour taste to it, which means it tastes like sweet lobster. I was hiking with a wonderful new hiking-pal, and we saw this, and I could have knocked her down, harvested this and run away, but instead I gave it to her and told her to cut it into 1/2"-thick slabs and swirl it in melted butter. "First one's free..."

Hericeum erinaceus

Another view of the Lion's Mane.

Mushroom foray assortment, Sept. 18

I just got to keep slamming these up here or I'll never get caught up! The woods are just loaded now, when we hike we don't get more than 50 feet in 1/2 an hour, looking at stuff, taking pictures.

Polyporus alveolaris, Hexagonal-pored polypore
Lycoperdon perlatum, Gem-studded puffball

I really appreciate whoever keeps running up ahead of me, arranging these lovely compositions. Pretty sure it's fairies.

Lepiota cristata
I kept seeing these little mushrooms and kept ignoring them, thinking they were another impossible-to-identify little something, until I stopped and got my face up on them, and then they became beautiful.

Inonotus dryadeus, "Weeping Conk"

That's some wacked-out fungus! Young ones "exude amber-colored droplets." Yes, they do.


A slug having a really good time. This would be like you or me lying face-first on a 6-foot cake.

I'm finding all this stuff, all these mushrooms, all these creatures, everything in this blog, within 5 miles of my home. How? Because mushrooms are everywhere. I've said it before and I'll say it again.

Omphalotus illudens, "Jack-o'-lantern" mushroom

Got another call from a pal on the Mushroom Hotline, this time about these orange mushrooms that show up every fall on the side of his house.

If these are a bright pumpkin orange, your monitor is calibrated right.

See the little crab spider?

These are one of the few mushrooms that chanterelles can be confused with, because of the color, and the slightly decurrent gills.

These supposedly glow in the dark, but I hear it's nothing Earth-shaking, and not easy to see. I haven't tried it yet (collecting them in a damp paper towel, then locking yourself in a pitch-dark closet and sitting there for half an hour until your eyes adjust, to see a faint green glow). I'm trying to pick my battles.

You'd have to be in a pretty big hurry to confuse them with chanterelles, but to a neophyte, it can happen easily (see link, further down). But these always grow in tight clusters, and they have true gills, and they don't have that nice sweet aroma like chanterelles (fruity, like apricots), they have a silky fibrousness to the cap surface, and they're always on wood, even if you can't see it because it's the leftover underground root of a dead, long-gone tree...just don't try to talk yourself into the ID, take your time, and maybe you won't poison yourself. Or don't start collecting and eating mushrooms until you've got somebody with some experience to hold your hand. I've been at this with a vengeance for a year now, and I'm seeing all the bonehead beginner ID mistakes I made earlier, let alone recently. So my fear has actually increased with time, as far as collecting edible mushrooms. I don't know if I'll ever move past the few I currently have on my "I ate these" list. Too scared!

But, never mind all that, just look at them! They're COOL! Whether you know their name or not!

Many Garter Snakes (don't look if you think snakes are gross)

These live in the little overgrown stone wall next to my driveway. Last year I regularly saw a few, but this year I saw an awful lot more, probably because I was checking much more often. I caught them during a mass mating frenzy (short movie I got, here), and then I just started seeing them all over the place.

Typical morning (many snakes between the stones)
Seven snakes. I think the big one is a female
An inch in front of my dumb cat's face. Pretty pugnacious little snake!

So then I had to go find out about Garter Snakes. I wondered why the heck they were breeding in early fall, with 2-3 months' gestation, meaning the babies would be born in December?  Most of the text I read said they breed in spring. But then I found something that said they sometimes breed in the fall. Then I found something that said the females can store the sperm for later, as long as years. Then I read that some males will produce female pheromones in the spring as they emerge from their winter dens, and fake out other males, who will try to mate with him, which simultaneously transfers their body heat to the faker-snake and keeps them distracted from the actual female, while he sidles on over to the real female and has his way with her.

It just goes on and on, you see a thing, you ask one innocent question, and off you go...