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Pine Conk

  The Pine Conk's current scientific name is Porodaedalea pini . The older name is Phellinus pini . As expected, the Pine Conk grows on Pine. This one, however, was growing on dead hardwood (possibly an Elm), though it was in a Pine plantation at Panther Den in the Shawnee National Forest.  A very woody mushroom with a little moss growing on its sessile cap, it measured 11 cm wide and 4 cm thick at the point of attachment. It protruded 6 cm from the tree trunk. Throughout, it was various hues of reddish brown. The upper surface was very rough and uneven, concentrically zoned near margin. The pore surface did not bruise and was very smooth, even silky, and the mostly round pores were approximately 5 per millimeter. It had three layers of pore tubes; the largest layer (the middle) was 5 mm thick. The margin was upturned. It stained dark in KOH, as seen in the last photo. It had no discernible odor. Arora says the pores of the Pine Conk are 2-5 per millimeter. Bessette says 1-3. Kuo d
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Shrimp of the Woods

Entoloma abortivum  occurs in two forms: The first is the regular cap-and-stem mushroom, typically brown and dry with close, decurrent gills and a salmon-colored spore print. The stem is smooth and often enlarged at the base with mycelial threads. It has a pungent, sweet, mealy odor. Another key feature is the sharp distinction between the white interior flesh and the brown cap and gills. The second form (called Shrimp of the Woods) is globular. Sometimes it looks like garlic cloves; sometimes it's more pitted and uneven. This second form is parasitic on honey mushrooms . I was fortunate enough today not only to find both forms but to find the parasitic form growing with some honey mushrooms too. (See the third and fourth photos.) Both forms are edible. Both forms are terrestrial. Last year, I found several Shrimp of the Woods lying on logs throughout our woods. I assume they were placed there by squirrels to dry.  

Stinking Dapperling

  Lepiota cristata. The dapper little fellow who stinks. Well, the odor is variable. This one smelled vaguely of garlic. It's a small mushroom with a smooth white stalk, a delicate ring, and free gills. Like other Lepiotas, the cap is scaly. The scales are somewhat concentrically arranged around a central bump, which is usually bald. The spore print is white, and the spores are bullet shaped. They were around 7 μm long. Numerous websites and guidebooks list this as possibly poisonous, but I've yet to find anyone who says it is definitively poisonous. It prefers disturbed habitats, but this one was found in the woods. I found some earlier in the day growing in a sandbar of a creek.

Thin-maze Flat Polypore

  Daedaleopsis confragosa. In Greek mythology, Daedalus was the father of Icarus and the architect of the labyrinth that imprisoned the Minotaur.  Confragosa  means rough and scaly. The pores are conspicuously labyrinthine and bruise light brownish red. The cap is a light color and becomes more concentrically zoned in age. One specimen was 7.5 cm wide; the other, fresher specimen was 10 cm. They can be up to 16 cm wide. In the third photo it looks like the mushroom has a stalk, but it's just resupinate there. Kuo says the mushroom turns dark gray to black in KOH. My reaction was dark brown. This mushroom causes a white rot, as you can see in the last photo. I'm not sure what kind of tree it was growing on. It might have been Sassafras, Sassafras albidum .   Daedalea quercina is very similar, but it doesn't bruise, has thicker pore walls, causes a brown rot, and prefers oak.  Arora says Daedaleopsis ambigua  "is a similar southern species with a whiter cap." He des

Purple-gilled Laccaria

  Laccaria ochropurpurea is a medium-size mycorrhizal mushroom. The cap and stem are grayish white. The cap is broadly convex with a central depression. The attached gills are purple and are close to nearly distant. It has a swollen base. It is a dry mushroom that is tough and fibrous. It produces a white spore print. The spiny spores were around 7 μm. According to Kuo, other pale-capped mushrooms with purple gills have rusty-brown spore prints.

Black-footed Polypore

Picipes badius (syn.  Polyporus badius )   is an interesting mushroom. At first it appears to be a typical agaric, but when you flip it over, you see nothing but a smooth white surface. Even with a hand lens, I struggled to see the tiny pores.  The largest specimen here measured 13.5 cm across. On average they were 7 cm across. The short stalks were typically around 2.5 cm. The flesh was 3-4 mm thick. The caps had incurved margins and were umbilicate. The pore surface runs down the stem, and the white shades into reddish brown and then into black. The mushroom is very fleshy except near the stem, which is difficult to tear. The mushroom produces a white rot.

Mustard-yellow Polypore

  The Mustard-yellow Polypore, Fuscoporia gilva,  can be up to 12 cm across. The largest here was 5.5 cm. When dry, they are corky and fairly easy to break apart. The caps are usually azonate and rough. The thin margins tend to be a bit lighter in color, a reminder of their yellow past-life. The fertile surface is roughly the same color as the cap, though smoother, and the pores are very small, usually listed at 5-8 per mm. The pore tubes are 2 mm long. The flesh stained black immediately in KOH. This group was growing on a dead Red Oak, Quercus rubra . It causes a white rot.  Fusca  means dark brown.  Gilva  means pale yellow. Polypores remain my favorite kind of mushroom, for reasons that elude me. I think even that is part of their charm. They have a mysterious, alluring quality. I feel I have something to learn from them, if I just listen closely enough.