Above, an emerging, “candling” Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum. That’s what it’s called—“candling.” Because it looks like a candle.
I was in the right place at the right time to catch this moment of a Mayapple leaf unfurling.
That single mottled vertical leaf is a trout lily, Erythronium albidum. There’s also a yellow version but I have never seen them here in central Missouri.
Mayapples have a single leaf and don’t flower until they’re at least four years old, when they also develop two leaves—I wrote about it, here: http://mycologista.blogspot.com/2011/05/young-mayapple-leaf-surprises.html
Kind of hard to not anthropomorphize about these. They look an awful lot like some kind of cloaked, dejected being. It doesn’t last long, though; soon they start straightening up, and unfurl their big wonderful leaves. Which I don’t have pictures of. I like these better.
Below: Lenzites betulina that grew, then the log rolled over and it grew some more and tropism led to wild growth patterns (normally it’s your basic shelf/shell shape), and then algae grew on it. When fresh it actually has gills, but this one's been banged around in life and the gills are shredded. Also, many other people's images show algae growing on it too.
Why it’s hard to find morels.
A growth of hundreds, if not thousands, of Coprinellus disseminatus, on a tree and spilling out around it (on submerged roots, I’m assuming). Some common names are “non-inky Coprinus,” “little helmet,” “crumble cap.” Fragile little things. Unlike other ink caps, these don’t dissolve within hours of emerging into a pile of wet black goo.
Above: close-up of Coprinellus disseminatus.
Below: Polyporus alveolaris, “hexagonal-pored polypore.” These really pop out on the mostly-brown spring forest floor (always on fallen branches). “What are those orange things over there?” is what you say when you see them.
If you can’t tell what they are from the top, the pore surface will help:
|Something else I can’t stop taking more pictures of, Urnula craterium. They change pretty dramatically as they age. They start as little fingers, then expand into a wide velvety cone with a smooth rim, then this happens.|