fungi

Mushrooms of Halle Ravine

This collection of photographs depicts mushrooms found in Halle Ravine in the last few fall seasons and is a good primer for what we can expect to see on our guided walk on September 24.  Registration for that event is filling quickly so please contact Krista by email or by phone (914-205-3533) to register or to cancel and make room for another person to join us.

We have encountered dry weather conditions in most years and therefore find mainly bracket fungi, which are supported by the moisture held in wood.  For the difficult to distinguish species, I include several instructive photos from Richard Nadon and others from MushroomExpert.com.

Halle Ravine is a nature preserve protected by the Pound Ridge Land Conservancy and is open for hiking every day from dawn to dusk.  Foraging or collection of any form of wildlife is generally prohibited in the Preserve.  Trail maps and more information are available at www.prlc.net/preserves.

Armillaria solidipes

Flammulina velutipes, Velvet stalk

Leucopaxillus albissimus

Pluteus cervinus

Russula emetica

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cerrena unicolor

Lenzites betulina

Stereum ostrea

Trametes hirsutum

Tyromyces chioneus

Pleurotus ostreatus, oyster

Postia fragilis

Postia caesia

Fomes fomentarius

Ganoderma lucidum, Reishi

Ganoderma lucidum, Reishi

Polyporus varius

Phyllotopsis nidulans

 

King Alfred's cakes

King Alfred’s cakes

Nectria cinnabarina

Nectria cinnabarina

 

 

Scutellinia scutellata, eyelash fungus

Scutellinia scutellata, eyelash fungus

 

 

 

Xylaria, dead man's fingers

Xylaria, dead man’s fingers

 

 

 

 

Dacrymyces palmatus, Witches butter

Dacrymyces palmatus, Witches butter

Otidea auricula

 

Mutinus canis

 

 

 

 

 

Calvatia excipuliformis

Scleroderma

Fall Mushrooms at Armstrong Preserve, Pound Ridge NY

We had a great turnout for the mushroom hike at Armstrong Preserve on October 23, 2016 and turned up some interesting finds.  The most distinctive was a single specimen of the Dog stinkhorn, Mutinus ravenii, so-named for its shape and strong odor.  We also found a few edibles, noted in the captions below.  Please use caution when foraging for wild mushrooms and refrain from eating any that are not verified by an expert.  Please also note that collection of mushrooms, along with plants and animals, is not permitted on Pound Ridge Land Conservancy preserves except during our guided hikes.  If you would like to join our email list to be notified of future mushroom forays, email PRLC’s land steward or call our office at 914-205-3533.

Thank you to our event participants for the photographs, and happy hunting!

Fomes fomentarius-tinder polypore

Fomes fomentarius-tinder polypore

Ishnoderma resinosum

Mutinus ravenelii,dog stinkhorn

 

 

 

Panellus serotinus, late fall oyster, edible but not choice

Panellus serotinus, late fall oyster, edible but not choice

Under side of Panellus serotinus, late fall oyster, edible but not choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phlebia radiata

Pholiota sqarrosoides, edible

 

Pleurotus ostreatus, oyster mushroom, choice edible

Pleurotus ostreatus, oyster mushroom, choice edible

Russula xerampelina, edible but not recommended, use caution

Russula xerampelina, edible but not recommended, use caution

underside of Russula xerampelina, edible but not recommended, use caution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tyromyces chioneus

Tyromyces chioneus

 

 

 

 

Shall We Go On A Mushroom Hunt?

Mycophile or mycophobe?  Most people fall into one of these two categories, being either mushroom-loving or mushroom-fearing.  European and Asian cultures are generally mycophilic, passing on knowledge of favorite edibles and medicinals, along with hunting grounds for finding them, from generation to generation.  Americans tend to mushroom-phobic, being more concerned with the potential for toxicity, or perhaps simply lacking in knowledge due to the shorter history of our culture.

In this installment of the Living Lighter on the Land blog, I will provide a brief overview of fungal life forms in hopes of inspiring you to take another look, for this is the time of year to find them.  I also encourage you to join our Guided Walk and Talk in search of mushrooms, scheduled for September 21st.  Please email me to register for this free and family-friendly event.

Mushrooms, or fungi, are an exceedingly diverse group of organisms whose taxonomy and biology are bound by certain genetic contraints, which is why they can be described as comprising a kingdom of life.  They are known as the decomposers and are vital to ecological processes such as nutrient cycling. By transforming matter on the molecular level, making it available for trees and plants for example, mushrooms support all life on this planet.

Fungi come in forms both familiar and not, from the molds on our food to the classic polka-dotted parasol to vast networks of underground hyphae or mycelium.  They generally reside in the substrate upon which they eventually “flower,” or more accurately, fruit.  What we see are highly modified extensions of the hyphae which are formed in order to disperse spores, or reproductive cells, into the environment.  In this way, harvesting mushrooms is akin to picking berries from a bush.

Mushrooms can be divided into categories based upon their growth forms, and knowing these groupings is a first step for any budding mycologist:

      Slime molds   Sac Fungi   Puffballs   Jelly fungi   Corals   Bracket Fungi    Boletes   Gilled

Like plants and animals, fungal species have specific habitats and substrates that they are best adapted to and which provide clues to the kinds of fungi we can expect to find.  Most mushroom identification guides include keys to identifying species, and these will include details on growth form and environment, in addition to physical characteristics of the mushroom itself.

When I find a mushroom that I would like to identify, I take immediate note of the following:  the substrate upon which it grows, surrounding trees, fruiting habit (single, scattered, or clumped), and color, odor, and moisture level of the mushroom itself.  At home, the first thing I do is make a spore print: break the cap off (if there is one) and lay it gill- or pore-side down on a sheet of paper.  It works best to use a half black/half white sheet of paper, laying the mushroom down in the center, so that white or black spores show up against the contrasting color of the paper.  It might take a day or more for the spores to drop out.

While I wait, I make note of the following characteristics of the mushroom’s form (a good field guide can help to familiarize you with descriptive terms used for each factor):

cap diameter, shape, edge, surface texture and color

flesh thickness, brittleness, odor, and presence/absence of latex

gill attachment, spacing, color, thickness, depth, and margin

stalk size, shape, texture, color, hollowness, ring structure, cup structure

There is quite a lot of information that goes in to identifying a mushroom to species, and sometimes the differences between them are so subtle that genetic analysis is necessary.  Don’t be discouraged!  The joy of mushrooming is in experiencing the wonder of their ephemeral form and their place in nature.  With practice and the help of other mushroomers, you might one day enter the world of foraging fungi for food and medecine.  I recommend joining on-line groups such as Facebook’s Mushroom Identification Forum, as well as groups that meet in-person for forays, such as the Connecticut Westchester Mycological Assocation (COMA).

All photographs courtesy of the author.