Monday, July 1, 2013

Mid-October 2012 fall mushrooms backlog--hen of the woods, a dryad's saddle, red russulas and more

Keep it moving! Keep it moving! Almost through the post-drought 2012 logjam!

***Heads up, snake-o-phobes! There is a little snake further down the page, and I am holding it. 

I’ve been smooshing two or more hikes into a single post or everything will get completely out of hand.

hen of the woods at tree base

Do you see that nice Grifola frondosa at the base of that tree?

hen of the woods in leaves

Might not look like much but they are one of my favorites.

hen in hand

This is a little demitasse hen, compared to how big they can get.

lion's mane distant

Do you see that nice Hericium erinaceus on that log? Dead center.

lion's mane close

Might look like some kind of shaggy mess, but they are one of my favorites.

lion's mane with hand for scale This one is also a little on the small side, and not at optimum pure white sweetness. Pretty sure I took the big one and trimmed yellow off. Not a perfect workaround, but I bet I ate it happily.

old Lycoperdon pyriforme
An aged Lycoperdon pyriforme, pear-shaped puffball. The hole is where spores come out.
Dryad's saddle with foot
A dryad's saddle, Polyporus squamosus. This is not an atypical size.
Red Russula three in leaves

Do you see those lovely red Russulas amongst the leaves?

Red Russula as found in leaves close

They are quite common in the woods here, but I like them every single time. They can be so red!

This is turning into The Summer of No Specific Epithets! Science is overtaking the field guides and it’s turning out that many fungi we amateurs (read: “me”) were slapping a complete Latin name on (with some confidence) are actually not what we thought they were, indistinguishable from similar species without a microscope or DNA tests! So I would probably have called this Russula emetica, but now I really can’t say what species it is. There are several red Russulas. It’s a red Russula.

Red Russula cap and gills

It is beautiful. End of discussion.

Here comes the snake--I posted it small so the snake-fearers can bleep past it. Click to view large.

It’s the best of a bad lot of pics, it was dusk and way too dark for normal camera function! Had to use some “low light” setting (the flash pics were hideous) and resolution suffered. But I have to include it, because I’d been wanting to find one of these for at least two years, when I first learned of them, and I was so excited! It’s a rough green snake, Opheodrys aestivus.

rough green snake on arm
They’re not uncommon but you never see them because they are exactly the color of leaves. They hang around in bushes on the edges of woods. I saw it and thought it was a shoelace or a croakie or something!

It was so slender, about the thickness of a pencil, but easily two feet long! I was afraid of holding it too tightly so I’m trying to just barely hang on with that awkward hand position. See its tail looped twice around my arm? I actually had a little trouble convincing it to get off me.

They are benign and eat crickets and other insects and hunt exclusively by sight. I very much hope to see one again. And not that I hope to see this, but they fade to blue when they die.

Spongipellis unicolor

Above: Spongipellus unicolor, the one Michael Kuo calls “a big, doinky doofus”.

Spongipellis unicolor side view

They grow on oaks (mostly). They’re parasitic. That’s about all I could rustle up on them.

wood ear frilly

Tremella foliacea, which I thought was just an extra-frilly wood ear (Auricularia auricula) for quite a while. But these are much thinner, and grow in clusters like this.

I was here.

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