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Showing posts from November, 2022

Honey Mushroom

  At first, I thought this might be a puffball (see second-to-last picture). Then, when I saw it had a cap and stem with a veil and granules on the cap, I thought Shiitake (though they don't grow in the wild in North America). Then, I thought I might have an Agrocybe (until I saw that the spore print was white). So, I've settle on the Armillaria genus, perhaps a member of the  Armillaria mellea group, following Arora's Mushrooms Demystified:  "It is among the most variable and cosmopolitan of the fleshy fungi, and in its innumerable guises will confound you time and time again" (p. 196). These mushrooms had little black spots and hairs on the cap (typical of Honeys) and were quite variable in size, some having caps wider and stems longer than 10 cm. Some had rings or at least veil remnants. Some did not. They tended to widen toward the base; some were bulbous at the base (see first photo). The gills were typically close and sometimes decurrent, sometimes decurrent

Deadly Galerina

  The Deadly Galerina, Galerina marginata , might also be called Tripper's Bane because it bears close resemblance to some psychedelic mushrooms, but instead of psilocybin, it contains amatoxins, the same toxins found in many Amanita mushrooms.  However nondescript this mushroom is, it's fairly easy to identify: it grows directly from wood; it can be found from the fall through early spring (sometimes year round). I almost always find it on fairly well-decayed wood that is covered in moss. It has a sticky cap (up to 4 cm across) that is typically convex. The gills are either attached or slightly decurrent. The stem is typically around 4 mm wide and a few centimeters long. It will usually have a ring or at least the remnants of a ring. The cap darkens red in KOH (see last picture) and the spore print is rusty brown, like the mushroom itself. This mushroom is also known as Galerina autumnalis .  Here is a photograph of the spores taken from a specimen in January 2023. They measur

Honey Mushroom

  There are a few Honey Mushrooms. This one is most likely Armillaria gallica . I found these in the woods growing terrestrially, perhaps from buried wood, in small clusters. The mostly flat cap measured 5.5 cm across. It was mottled and dingy with little hairs, best seen with a hand lens. The stem was 6 cm long and about 1 cm wide. The stem was flattened and only slightly enlarged at the base. The stem had a light-colored ring and darkened toward the base. The gills were tannish white, close, and slightly decurrent. The flesh was white and stringy. It had a light mushroomy smell. The spore print was white. You can see the spore deposit in the last photo. The cap turned slightly yellow in KOH, and then, quite remarkably, disintegrated where the KOH was applied. I've never seen that before. This mushroom is edible, but given that it is nearly an LBM (Little Brown Mushroom), I would urge caution. A lot of mushrooms are similar to this one, and some can kill you.  This mushroom is lis

Beefsteak Polypore

  The Beefsteak Polypore's scientific name is Fistulina hepaticus . Fistulina  means "small pipes" and hepaticus means "resembling liver." These are two good diagnostic features for this mushroom. In most dichotomous keys for polypores, this is the first to key out because each pipe-like spore tube is separable from the rest. You can almost see this in the last photo. The mushroom is smooth or velvety and is typically slimy and exudes water when fresh. It causes a brown rot and is edible when young, but it soon becomes too tough to eat. I found these growing on a dead Black Cherry ( Prunus serotina ).

Mycena galericulata

  Mycena galericulata . These were growing in dense clusters on a well-decayed log. The largest specimen I brought home had a cap 3.5 cm wide. The stems were 3-5 mm wide and 4-5 cm long. The gills were narrowly attached, appearing nearly decurrent in some. The spore print was white, and the spores were 7-8  μm. When I found these, they were fairly dry, but they didn't appear ever to be slimy. The base of all the stems had mycelium attached. Kuo says the similar Mycena inclinata  "features a toothed young cap margin, a stem that is yellow above and brown to reddish brown below, and a strongly mealy odor." He suggests comparing with Pluteus cervinus . When I first saw these, I thought they were small deer mushrooms because of the habitat and their overall morphology and color. But when I saw the gill attachment, I knew it had to be something else. This ID is tentative, as is typical for a mushroom that is both a LBM (Little Brown Mushroom) and a JAM (Just Another Mycena). A

Lion's Mane

  Hericium erinaceus is my favorite mushroom to find because I seldom find it and because it is so striking. Nothing looks like it except other Hericium species. The other one you might encounter around here is Hericium coralloides , Comb Tooth, which is branched, unlike Lion's Mane which is just one large clump of soft, white dangling teeth. These two were a bit larger than a softball, though they can get larger. Lion's Mane is often found growing on well-decayed logs close to the ground, as these were. Occasionally, I've seen some growing very high off the ground, sadly, out of reach. This mushroom is good to eat, and it has been shown to improve cognitive function.  Both the genus and the species name mean "hedgehog."

Trametes aesculi

  Trametes aesculi  is a large mushroom (5-35 cm wide). It is white to creamy white throughout. The upper surface is vaguely zonate and warty. Bessette says it's "finely tomentose, soon becoming glabrous." These were glabrous. The pores are highly variable. These were labyrinthine, slotlike, and round, roughly 1-3 per mm. Unlike most Trametes species, these can have a stalklike base. This group was found on a well-decayed maple, most likely Sugar Maple,  Acer saccharum, even though the species name aesculi  means "oak." In KOH, the cap darkened, the flesh turned slightly yellow, and the pore surface did not react.  Trametes aesculi  is often named Trametes elegans  in field guides, but Bessette says that species does not occur in North America. 

Mycena leptophylla

  From early September to late October, we received almost no rain. The week before Halloween, rain fell, and these little lovelies are the first new mushrooms I've found in a while. Mycena leptophylla . ( Mycena  means "mushroom" and leptophylla means "thin leaf.") One full-grown specimen had a stalk 3 cm long and 1 mm wide. The stalk was not especially fragile. The striate cap (11 mm wide) was convex becoming somewhat umbonate and flat. The color was creamy yellow and darker toward the center. The gill attachment was notched, almost decurrent. The mushroom was hairless and dry. No reaction in KOH. The spore print was white, and the irregular spores measured 7 μm. Kuo writes that the mushroom is "saprobic on terrestrial forest debris in hardwood forests." I dug around the base but was unable to tell exactly what it was growing from, but it was certainly growing from the soil, not from leaf litter or debris on the surface. The similar Mycena luteopalle