Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall Fungus Festival

My friend Sue and I met today to meander around Mud Pond in Moreau Lake State Park, hoping to find some sign of the moose that's been sighted there lately. Aside from one possible hoof-print (not too fresh), we didn't have any luck in that department. I couldn't even find the pile of moose poop I saw the other day. But boy, did we find fungi! Plus lichens and slime moulds, too. So many fascinating shapes and beautiful colors! Here's just a sampling of some we found. If I know the name, I'll post it, but many remain a mystery to me, no matter how many mushroom books I study. Readers are invited to fill in my blanks.

Although this closed-up mushroom is nearing the end of its fruiting life, it's still very beautiful, with its gills like pleated silk of navy-blue stripes, atop a stem of pure white. This reminds me of those exquisite pleated fabrics created by Fortuny or Mary McFadden.

This Earth Star (Geastrum fimbriatum) has puffed its spores all over itself, so it looks like it's dusted with powdered sugar.

Wouldn't this make a pretty Christmas card photo? Bright red British Soldiers nestled among vivid green moss that looks like tiny Christmas trees. And they look just like this all winter. (If you can find them under the snow.)

Tiny bright orange mushrooms glow amongst dew-spangled moss.

Another orange mushroom, this one rimmed in yellow. Also tiny and kind of shiny.

Wow! Talk about orange! This brilliantly colored bracket fungus is hard as wood and has a kind of suedey feel to its surface. Makes you wonder how those grass blades managed to pierce it. The fungal tissue must have formed around the blades.

Mmmm! Honey Mushrooms! (Armillaria mellea) I found bushels of these today, but picked only a couple of quarts to bring home to stew up with lots of butter. In this photo the caps are domed, but as they age they flatten out and become slightly trumpet shaped.

I found another bunch of those little pink slime mould balls called Wolf's Milk or Toothpaste Slime (Lycogala epidendrum), dozens growing on a rotting log. Each one is about the size of a rather small pea.

Here's how they got the name Toothpaste Slime. But that paste didn't smell pepperminty.

Another delicious mushroom, called Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus). They were a little old and dry or I would have harvested these to bring home for supper.

These are called Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor). For obvious reasons. Pretty, aren't they? They'd make a nice Thanksgiving decoration.

Hmmm . . . . What an odd color for rotting wood. I wonder if somebody poured blue stain on it.

Nope. These tiny cup fungi are what colored that rotting wood blue. In fact, they are called Blue Stain Fungus (Chlorociboria aeruginascens). These fruiting bodies only appear when the wood is wet, but this fungus makes its presence known during dry weather because its filaments permeate the wood and turn it blue.


Ellen Rathbone said...

Phabulous Phungi Photos, Jackie!

Jackie C said...

WoW! All of the fungi you shot were gorgeous in their own unique way, but my favorites were the earth star and the one that looked like pleated silk! Amazing!

Trillium said...

A cornucopia of beautiful forms and colors! I love your comparison of the pleated mushroom texture to fabric/dress design. I know just what you are referring to. Robin Wall Kimmerer compared the varieties of moss in a wood to visiting a fantasy fabric shop!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Ellen, Jackie, Trillium: thanks for your kind comments. I am so happy to share with you all the delights that surround me, and they are uncountable. What a marvelous invention is the digital camera that can capture such colorful subjects in such minute detail.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have an idea what the tiny bright orange mushroom is?