Fungal Foray


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.


Anonymous said…
Beautiful mushrooms and beautiful photographs!

If you ever have some time on your hands(and a desire to get messy) lots of mushrooms that have been picked and are no good for anything other than photographs or poison can be chopped up in a blender with a bit of fiber, and will make spectacular handmade paper pulp. Never use the blender for any humanly ingestable food product afterwords! Mushrooms are mostly moisture, so it takes a lot for them to make some fiber.

I used to teach kids at a nature camp how to make mushroom, dirt and fern paper, mixed in with recycled cardboard. The results were very beautiful.

Maybe you and Robb can make your own mushroom wallpaper for your new house? Beware inhaling the spores!

Anonymous said…
Colleen's Creamery in Fort Bragg has Candy Cap (Lactarius) Mushroom ice cream now during mushroom season. Tastes like maple or praline ice cream! Yummy!

Yosemite MJD
Gina said…
"Hotbed of fly nookie." Now there's a phrase for the record books!
Lisa said…
We run a Classy Blog, around here!
Kaaren said…
Beautiful pictures.
ajt said…
i was going to make a comment similar to gina's, but she beat me to it.
Amazing! I love the time lapse video - we have a similar mushroom around here (a relative, I'm sure as they are also poison) that is American cheese orange - we call it the "cheese toast mushroom" Maybe I'll amend that to "poison cheese toast mushroom" so no one is mistaking my intent.... ;-))

My favorite around here is one that turns bright blue when you break it in half. I've only found one, and that was at my kids school. Another parent saw us looking at it, and came over to investigate. Several weeks later he went to Berlin, Germany for a couple of weeks. While there he saw some red mushrooms with white spots (just like Disney, he said ;-)). The locals said they only last a day or so and you have to be looking specifically for them to find them. They said he was lucky to see one "by accident". He made a point to tell me about that one, after finding the blue mushroom with us ;-)).
Anonymous said…
Wow, that Amanita time lapse was incredible, watching the skirt unfurl then wither and the gills developing etc. Your photo work?
Sorry we missed last weekend just haven't been checking AQ & the blog often enough!
Anonymous said…
P.S. I read recently of a vegan restaurant that makes a supposedly delicious mushroom-baed "cheesecake" (no actual cheese harmed in the production)
Um. not yum. IMHO.
Kathi said…
This posting has the FungusWoman mark of approval...even if I know next to nothing about non-clinical mycology! Beautiful photographs.


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