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Showing posts from December, 2022

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

Trametes lactinea

  I found these Trametes lactinea  growing on a fallen limb. The larger specimens measured around 7 cm wide and about 1 cm thick at the point of attachment, tapering to 3 mm at the margin, which was round. The mushroom was tough and rubbery and only faintly had the polypore smell. The upper surface was warty and concentrically zoned with shallow furrows. The fertile surface was off-white, and the round pores were 4 per millimeter. A lovely mushroom. Trametes means "thin," and lactinea  means "color of milk." 

Trametes hirsuta

I believe this is  Trametes hirsuta. Most of these were 3-4 cm wide and about 2 mm thick. The upper surface was velvety and fairly zonate. The fertile surface was creamy white to somewhat ochre. The pores were around 3 per millimeter--round, angular, and sometimes elongated becoming tooth-like. These had a thin black line that separates the upper from the lower part of the flesh, but only near the point of attachment. To my knowledge, of the Trametes species, only this mushroom and Trametes versicolor have this line. Compare with another tentative ID:  Trametes villosa . Based on Polypores and Similar Fungi of Eastern and Central North America , I've developed this list of features for the Trametes species that can be mistaken for Turkey Tails: Trametes pavonia  has very small pores: 5-6 per millimeter and flesh that is no more than 2 mm thick. Trametes pubescens  tends to be less zonate and the flesh can be up to 5 mm thick. Trametes ochracea  tends to be more rigid, less leather

Hymenochaete rubiginosa

       Hymenochaete rubiginosa  is saprobic on hardwood. It's perennial. Its growth form is effused-reflexed and the caps fuse laterally. The individual caps are about a millimeter thick and can extend several centimeters outward from the substrate. The cap has concentric bands and can be tomentose or glabrous. These were glabrous. The colors of the cap can be ochre-brown, reddish brown, or, like these, dark brown. The margins are a lighter color. The fertile surface lacks pores and is grayish with warts and bumps. The similar Hydnoporia tabacina  has a woolly upper surface and is more yellow and orange. Hymenochaete  means "hairy membrane," and rubiginosa  means "rust-colored."   

Bitter Oysterlings

  Panellus stipticus  are tiny tawny mushrooms that are saprobic on hardwood. These were growing in shelves and clusters on (most likely) a fallen Red Oak branch. None were much wider than 2 cm and all had little white nubs for stalks. The caps were scurfy and the flesh was whitish. The gills abruptly terminated at the stalk and were close and often forked.  Panellus stipticus is   listed as having a bitter taste, but I didn't notice it. The spore print was white. Hyaline in KOH. Pan means "all" or "everywhere," and - ellus  is a diminutive suffix. Stipticus  means "astringent." So, the scientific name translates as "the little bitter mushroom found everywhere."  The following two pictures were taken from a specimen in January 2023. The first was taken with no mounting medium. The second shows the spores in KOH. The spores measured 4 µm.