Saturday, October 30, 2010

Parrot Waxy Cap

Here's a little leftover sweetheart (Hygrocybe psittacina) from an earlier hike (Sept. 26th). It's one of the ones I'd been hoping to find, because, well, they're beautiful, especially when young.

I wasn't at all sure of what these were at first, seeing a troupe of vaguely-orange, small shiny mushrooms, until I poked around a little more and found the just-emerging green ones (below). That color made it pretty unmistakable.

They start out this wonderful parrot-green color (there's another one in the background, the cap was just starting to poke out), then fade to olive-yellow, then orange. They're "decidedly slimy" (to quote Michael Kuo), and get barely 3" tall. This one was about an inch. 

How do they push their way out of the soil without getting completely covered with stuff stuck all over them? And what IS that slime, anyway? What's it FOR? Or maybe that's WHY they come out of the soil without stuff stuck all over them--they're so slick nothing can stick. They're not sticky, after all, they're slimy. Big difference. Anyway, that's them, straight out of the camera, in all their charming, parrot-green, slimy splendor.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oyster mushrooms

Once you see a young Pleurotus ostreatus, I don't see how you could mistake anything else for these. But you can, and I sure have, because I didn't know what I was looking at, until I'd seen lots of them.

I've only been at this for a year, and I find plenty of mushrooms that at first glance look pretty oystery. Then I see something like the gills aren't running down the stem like they're supposed to, or the gills are too close together or too even and regular, or it doesn't have that lovely faint fish odor, and I am disappointed, but I pick myself up by my hiking boots and move on with my life. There will be more.

I know this because mushrooms are everywhere, EVEN WHEN IT HASN'T RAINED FOR A SOLID MONTH and all the leaves are falling so you can't see hardly anything on the forest floor and when you're hiking with someone and they get a little ahead of you you can't hear a word they say because of the leaf crunching so you have to stop walking and keep yelling "What???" all the time.

But the mushrooms that grow on trees and logs keep going because there's plenty of moisture there. That's nice, because most of my favorites grow on wood anyway.

All that wavy, decurrent-gill goodness...with a light ocean fragrance.

Here's a few more from the same tree:

And here's some tiny tiny TINY baby ones, tucked into an old woodpecker-hole--they were less than 1/4" tall (but, can you even be referred to as "tall" if you're only 1/4"?).

When they're this small they're called "pins" in the growing trade! This growth stage is called "pinning."
Here's a link to a whole bunch more pics of oyster mushrooms I've found: "Oysters"

I love oyster mushrooms. They're pretty abundant around here. I like to just saute a whole bunch of them and eat them straight from the bowl, because I am a pig glutton.