Yesterday, I went out on a hike with a group of members of the Bay Area Mycological Society. They picked a park that actually allows mushroom collecting, and -- whoo boy -- were there a lot of mushrooms to be seen!
This first one is the Western Amethyst Laccaria, and it's supposed to be pretty good eating. If you click on the photograph, you'll get a larger image, and you should be able to see the little maggoty creature who's ready to start its meal.
This is a Blewit, which is also apparently edible. My sister and I photographed a mushroom very much like this, last winter in France.
There were loads of Amanita species to be found. This one is Amanita francheti, which has distinctive yellow coloring to its universal veil (the remnants of the sac-like "cocoon" that this particular mushroom emerges from as it grows). We saw some of these that were pure white, with just some remnants of yellow. Mushroom identification is tricky business, and it was great to be out in the woods with Serious Mushroom Experts.
This one, Amanita phalloides, is the world's most poisonous mushroom. This is the famous Death Cap mushroom. I wrote about it, a while back.
There were also Amanita muscaria, as big as dessert plates. These are the mushrooms that you see on all sorts of illustrations. They are poisonous and wildly hallucinogenic. Here's a cool time lapse movie of one growing in a back yard.
Other Amanitas, like this Grisette, are said to be quite tasty.
We also saw False Morels, or Elfin Saddles.
Mushrooms that -- really -- bounced as well as a super-ball.
Mushrooms that "bled" a color-changing "milk."
And mushrooms that were hot-bed for fly nookie.
It was all very educational.