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Showing posts from September, 2022

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

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.

Jack O'Lantern

  The poisonous Jack O'Lantern, Omphalotus illudens , resembles the  Chanterelle , but once you see them in person, you'll see they're very different. The Jack O'Lantern is much larger and has true, plate-like gills. It also grows from dead wood, though that wood can be buried. You're also likely to see the Jack O'Lantern later in the year.  I've heard that this mushroom glows in the dark. Alas, I've yet to see it. Omphalotus species contain the toxin muscarine, which was first isolated from  Amanita muscaria . Muscarine can be fatal in high doses.

Chicken of the Woods

  Chicken of the Woods, Laetiporus sulphureus. I like to call this the 70 mph mushroom because it's probably the only mushroom you can positively identify while driving down the interstate. Compare this with its cousin,   Laetiporus cincinnatus . It's sulcate with distinct zones on a brilliant orange cap. The underside is an even more brilliant yellow with about 3 pores per millimeter. As I mentioned in my post on L cincinnatus , morphology is dependent on conditions. L. sulphureus  is usually described as growing shelf-like, but these are growing in a rosette. This is simply because they are growing on top rather than on the side of the log, a Shagbark Hickory, Carya ovata . Note: These pictures appear washed out. It was much oranger in person.

Parasol Mushroom

  The cap of the Parasol Mushroom, Macrolepiota procera,  is oval when young and then broadly convex in age with a brown nipple at the center. It's very soft and has brown scales. The close, crowded gills are white when fresh, brown in age. The cap of the first one pictured here is 5.5 cm across. The long and slender stalk is 5 mm wide and around 12 cm long. The stalk has brown scales like the cap and a detachable ring. The stem tends to bend over in age. The one in the second photo can be seen in the background of the first. The spore print is white, an important detail since the similar (and poisonous) Green-spored Lepiota,  Chlorophyllum molybdites,  has greenish spores. This mushroom also somewhat resembles  Amanita thiersii , minus the obnoxious odor. Always check for a volva at the base. You can see in the last photo where I dug around the base and saw nothing. This mushroom is edible and quite good, but it is not  a beginner's mushroom. There are many white cap-and-stem

Chicken-fat Suillus

  I like to think there's a Delta Blues man named Chicken-fat Suillus. If not, well, the world's still young.  This is a delightfully easy mushroom to identify. Really all you need to do is find a White Pine this time of year, and White Pine ( Pinus strobus ) is easy to identify since it has five needles per bundle. You can remember that because white has five letters. Red Pine ( Pinus resinosa ) has two needles per bundle. If you find White Pine, look for a sticky, slimy yellow mushroom with a cap and stem. The pores are angular and somewhat radial. It will bruise reddish.  It's edible, but, as they say, not choice. The scientific name is Suillus americanus . Another great common name for it is American Slippery Jack. Bessette, Roody, and Bessette write in Boletes of Eastern North America : "In 1729, Pier Antonio Micheli (1679-1737) first erected the genus Suillus. Because this genus predated the accepted start date of Linnean taxonomy in 1753, it was not considered v

Red Chanterelle

  Cantharellus cinnabarinus.  A charming mushroom the Red Chanterelle is. L ike other Chanterelles, it's easy to identify, but despite its brilliant color, the Red Chanterelle is easy to overlook. The mature one harvested here is 2 cm wide and 3 cm tall. In the last photo you can see three even tinier ones.  

Purple-spored Puffball

Purple-spore Puffball,  Calvatia cyanthiformis,  is closely related to the Giant Puffball, C. gigantea , which can grow larger and does not have the sterile base the Purple-spored Puffball does. The Giant Puffball is also more common in the north, but I have found both here. The Purple-spored Puffball is also related to the Brain Puffball,  C. craniformis, which looks very similar but prefers a woodland habitat. C. craniformis  has yellow-brown (rather than purple) spores when mature.  I found this one growing solitary near where I found  Vascellum curtisii  and  Lycoperdon perlatum  earlier in the year.  Harvest the Purple-spored Puffball when it looks like a loaf of bread inside and out and enjoy.  

Summer Oyster

Pleurotus pulmonarius  is a striking mushroom. It's called the Summer Oyster, but it occurs in the fall, too. The similar Winter Oyster,  Pleurotus ostreatus grows in the fall, winter, and spring. It's more brown and yellow than the Summer Oyster and doesn't have so pronounced a stalk. The Veiled Oyster,  Pleurotus dryinus,  is white like P. pulmonarius  and also grows summer and fall, but it is hairy/cottony and will have veil fragments on its cap margin and a faint ring on its stalk. All three have decurrent gills and grow on hardwood. The best way to identify Oysters is by their smell. Most people describe it as a fishy smell, but once you smell it in person, you simply recognize it as the Oyster smell. The one lookalike I know of is  Pleurocybella porrigens , the Angel Wing mushroom. It's smaller than P. pulmonarius  and grows on conifers. As far as I know, this mushroom does not grow in our area. Oysters can be found year-round in our area, are easy to identify, an