Thursday, May 5, 2011
Mud Pond Mushroom Hunt
Although it was rainy and kind of cold, I went to Mud Pond today. Why? "When oaks have leaves like a mouse's ear, that's when the tasty Morels appear." Time to hunt for the best-tasting mushroom there is. So I skedaddled right over to where we had found some last year. No luck. Try again later. I did find some tiny mushrooms though, really wee ones (maybe a half-inch across), bright orange, clinging to a branch of a tree. They did have stems, which can't be seen in this photo. Of course, they don't look like any of the pictures in any of my mushroom books. Any guesses?
Even though I didn't find Morels, I did find some other things worth a second look. Lots of Dutchman's Breeches were growing along a creek, and by now it looks like they've opened their flies (compared to how buttoned-up they looked a few blog posts back).
Miterworts are now opening their blossoms, which will bloom unseen if you don't bend down to take a close look, they are so small. It's worth the effort, because I know of no other flower with such amazingly intricate petals.
The path around Mud Pond cuts midway across steep banks, which brings the walker right into the branches of trees blooming down by the water. I had never been this close to the flower clusters of an American Beech, which usually occupy the air far over my head. There's a female flower in the uppermost spot, tucked under that bright pink cover. The clusters of green buds are the male flowers, which will shed lots of pollen on the air when they open (Ah choo!).
Aha! One more violet to add to the season's list. At first glance it looks like just another Common Blue Violet, but do take a closer look. Those basal leaves are not heart-shaped, but oval. And see how furry they are. Furry stems, too. This must be Ovate- leaved Violet (Viola fimbriatula).
Here's a closer look at those furry ovate leaves. This is surely the teddy bear of the violet world.