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Milky Wolf's Teeth

  Irpex lacteus  is a very white resupinate polypore with a hairy cap that is seldom more than 1 cm from its hardwood substrate. The fertile surface is made up of teeth that can be up to 5 mm long. The Ochre Spreading Tooth is nearly identical, just not as white. Irpex  can mean "rake" or "wolf's teeth," and lacteus means "milky." So I like to call this Milky Wolf's Teeth. It's also called Milk-white Toothed Polypore.
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Hohenbuehelia mastrucata

A 2018 article in Persoonia   lists four new species of Hohenbuehelia, a genus in the Pleurotaceae. The article also contains a dichotomous key for the genus. Based on that, I am calling this Hohenbuehelia mastrucata , but I might be wrong.  These were growing in clusters and shelves a few feet down from some  Mock Oysters . Both caused a white rot on a fairly well-decayed hardwood tree in bottomland. The caps were 1-5 cm wide with inrolled margins. The colors ranged from dark brown to light tan. The caps had gelatinous patches and were tomentose near the point of attachment, which was usually a single point, though it was hard to tell given how soft the mushrooms and the wood were. (We've had several days of freezes and thaws.)   The gills were tan to light tan. The taste was indistinct. The spore print was white and the spores measured 9 µm.  Other possibilities: H. grisea ,  H. atrocoerulea, and, as might be expected,  H. atrocoerulea var. grisea.  

Mock Oyster

  Seen from afar, I thought these might be Chicken of the Woods, given their bright orange color, but then I saw they had gills. The Mock Oyster or Orange Oyster or Stinking Orange Oyster ( Phyllotopsis nidulans ) is saprobic on hardwood and conifers and causes a white rot. The caps (2-8 cm wide) are fuzzy. The gills are close, and the spore print is a very pale peach. The spores measure 7 µm. Mock Oysters grow in clusters and shelves and lack stems. They're supposed to have a foul odor, but I didn't notice it, though it was detectable on older specimens. Previously, this mushroom was in the Pleurotus genus, which it closely resembles in all but color. Phyllotopsis means "resembling a leaf," and  nidulans means "little nest."

Psathyrella delineata

  Psathyrella delineata is not delineated in Mushrooms Demystified . Arora says to leave the genus to "professional psathyrellologists" since "few fleshy fungi have less to offer the average mushroom hunter" (p. 361). The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms only references it as a lookalike to Psathyrella rugocephala , which has a tawnier cap and larger spores. Fortunately, this species (I think) is described in Mushrooms of the Midwest. The description there fits my specimen pretty well. But given the paucity of information I found on the mushroom, I could be wrong.   Amateur mycologists ever depend on someone else's taxonomy, and we don't know what we don't know. A monograph on the Psathyrella genus by Alexander Smith describes four hundred North American species of Psathyrellas. I wonder which of those four hundred descriptions best fits what I found. So, what did I find? The mushroom was growing on a fallen log in cluster

Mossy Maze Polypore

  The Mossy Maze Polypore, Cerrena unicolor , is typically between 3 and 10 cm wide, though it fuses laterally. The cap is highly irregular and velvety. It appears as if it's covered in dust. It has concentric ridges and is often covered in algae or moss. The fertile surface is whitish to smoky brown-gray. The pores are labyrinthine becoming tooth-like. The flesh is up to 3 mm thick. A thin dark zone separates the cap from the flesh. The mushroom is tough and flexible.  I find much joy in identifying flora and fungi. The chief pleasure is that in doing so I observe closely and see the wondrous architecture of things, and though identifying organisms is sufficient unto itself, I often think that its chief value is in being the necessary preliminary to the ultimate discipline: ecology, the study of relationships. Everything is tied to everything else, often in ways fascinating and strange. Consider the following, taken from  The Mushroom Expert : "But identifying Cerrena unicolo

Winter Oyster

  The Winter Oyster, Pleurotus ostreatus , is our most frequently encountered edible mushroom. That fact along with its health benefits and ease of identifying make it the one mushroom everyone should learn.  It's more tan and typically has a less-pronounced stem than its cousin the  Summer Oyster . It grows in shelf-like clusters on wood fall through spring. The cap grows up to 15 cm wide, becoming flat and somewhat depressed toward the center. The gills (frequently inhabited by black beetles) are fairly close and run down the stalk (when there is one). The stalk is typically off-center. The spore print is white, gray, or lilac. Its smell--somewhat fishy--is its key identifying characteristic. I harvested these after a substantial rain, so the smell was not very pronounced.  I recommend dry sautéing since they are often water-logged.

Resinous Polypore

The Resinous Polypore,  Ischoderma resinosum , is also called Steak of the Woods, and Bessette lists it as edible, but I think it would be much too rubbery and tough to eat. Several of the specimens I found were over 15 cm wide, semicircular, and broadly convex. The caps were finely velvety, but they will become rougher and harder with age. The images I've seen in field guides show a white margin. On these, the brown of the cap extended to the underside. The fertile surface was dingy white, and the well-spaced spores were mostly angular and around 4 per millimeter. The field guides also say that the pore surface readily bruises, but these bruised only faintly. The flesh was tannish, and was distinct from both the cap and the pore tubes, which were about 5 mm. The odor was sweet, nearly anise-like. Kuo says it darkens grayish to black on all surfaces in KOH. I got a black reaction on the cap, brown on the flesh, and only a slight darkening on the pore surface. These were growing on