Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mushroom Mayhem

A couple days ago, my parents and I were invited out to my grandparents for supper. Having just been mat-shopping, Mom and I organized my artwork on the table to decide which mats should go with which artwork. One thing I can't say is that my family doesn't support my taste for illustration. They all were so supportive of me, including grandma who invited my great-uncle up to the house to see some of my work, as he hadn't seen it in probably 5 years. He was really impressed, and by the end of the visit I was just beaming because I finally felt confident about the artshow.

After supper, I decided that I needed to go nature-snooping, even though I had moronically wore flip-flops instead of regular shoes.

Despite my previous incident with a tick, I shuffled through high grasses and plant life to cross the field behind my grandparents house.


Milkweed shoots stuck out like a sore thumb with their elongated rounded leaves. They are a favorite food of monarch butterfly caterpillars. Small rounded pines stand scattered across the field, and around each are the cashew-shaped impressions left by deer bodies. The impressions are a tell-tale sign that the deer frequently rest under these pines. I noticed too that they face all different directions, never facing each other, a bedding habit many kinds of deer share.


Alongside the milkweed I noticed yellowed grasses, mixed in with some green, and arching over the grass were a favorite summer time field plant; the beautiful goldenrod.

It wasn't long before bugs were biting at my ankles, but I trekked on with my digital camera in search of whatever I could find. Needless to say, the hike along the path was absolute mushroom mayhem!

As someone who has only recently found mushroom-love, indentification was impossible. I knew enough to know the difference between the basic "groups" of mushrooms, but not enough to positively identify them on site.

Luckily, I had a camera!

First off, I found a wide variety of mushrooms from the "boletes" group. The boletes family consists of largely of thick rounded mushrooms who, rather than having "gills", have a spongy pored underside. These pores are actually the visible openings of microscopic tubes that the mushroom uses to desposite spores. When squeezed, I find that boletes mushrooms seem to "bruise" a certain color, depending on the species.

boletes mushroom

The above mushroom might be the rare "Unpolished Bolete" but I'm not sure.

Although I have my suspicions on the species of each boletes I found, I only positively identified one.

Red Spore Bolete ?

The above boletes I BELIEVE to be a Red Spored Bolete mushroom. The mushroom has died, and is literally disintigrating onto the moss, giving the impression that it and the moss around it have been spray painted with rust-colored paint. What leads me to believe it's of the Red Spore Bolete variety, is, well, the reddish spores that have sprayed the earth around it. I could very well be wrong on this one though, as I first identified it as a Red Crack-cap Bolete.

Not far away, I found another bolete, possibly the same type, upturned and covered in mold.

moldy Boletes Mushroom

Of the different kinds of boletes that I've found, I only positively, absolutely indientified ONE species, and that is the one called "Old Man of the Woods":

Old Man of the Woods (Strobilomyces floccopus)

Old Man of the Woods (Strobilomyces floccopus)

Notice how there is a mixture of dark red and green on the underside of the cap. It gives it a metallic look underneath.

Old Man Of the Woods

Old Man of the Woods is non-poisonous, but I would hardly call it edible. For even when young, the mushroom has a horrible taste, and it only gets worse as the mushroom gets bigger.

As I mosied on down the path, I found some bizarre coral mushrooms, which of course, are aptly named!

yellow coral mushroom

Gray Coral Mushroom

I noticed that the frequency of mushrooms (even as different species)heightened in various points of the path, and by the time I reached the point of intersection between a few trails, I had stumbled upon a large collection of beautiful, yet still unidentified-by-me, mushrooms:

mushroom (july)

mushroom gills

mushroom (july)

mushroom (july)

mushroom (july)

decaying mushroom (july)

mushrooms (july)

mushroom (July)

splitting mushroom (july)

mushrooms (july)

gilled mushroom

Flame-colored Chanterelle (Cantharellus ignicolor)

Now, I"m not really sure what the above mushroom is, even though I suspect it to be what is called a "Flame-colored Chanterelle". It could quite possibly be a Jack-O-Lantern mushroom as well.

Also found around this area, I found a plant that acts kind of like a mushroom; the Indian Pipe.

Indian Pipes

These beautiful wildflowers are ghost-like in appearance, and are often overlooked as they literally unravel from underneath the leaf litter on the forest floor in mid to late summer.

Indian Pipes

Eventually, I came to the end of the trail. This section of the old trail is used by a local to get the tractor through the woods, and into a hay field (as seen).

I stood, enamoured by what seemed to be a picturesque moment, as beams of sunlight busted through the tree canopies onto the end of the trail. It was a visual image that was powerful enough to make me pause, and think about how beautiful nature could be. It was about that time that I remembered the digital camera hanging from my sweaty neck.


I shuffled around, examining the trail at this particular section, as last week it was covered in boletes mushrooms.

This week found less specimens, but no less interesting.

mushrooms (july)

That mushroom aside, I found the splendid member of the "amanita" family, known as "Yellow Patches".

Yellow Patches (Amanita flavoconia)

Some more amanitas...possibly of the "Cleft-footed" variety? :


Cleft-footed Amanita (Amanita brunnescens)

Even coming back on the trail I found mushrooms that I had missed the first time! I will undoubtedly identify most of these mushrooms very soon.

white mushrooms (july)

decaying mushroom

The mushroom you see above was very slimy. I found it's caps laying on the ground here and there.

red capped mushroom

gilled mushroom

small white mushroom

Even with all these pictures, there were mushrooms I saw that I couldn't take pictures of, plus additional pictures that I just didn't include in todays entry! It's definitely a good time to go out mushroom hunting, and I hope to do it again really soon.

In any scenario, by this point in the journey I was soaked with sweat, even having it burn my eyes. So, it was homeward bound with a dead camera battery, persperation, and most importantly, inspiration!!

Catch you all later.