Friday, July 29, 2011

Mushroom Foray

During the heat wave along the east coast, thankfully I was in a cooler part of WV. I had planned the trip earlier in the year but totally lucked out that it occurred when it did. The WV Mushroom Club had their Mid-Summer Mushroom Foray at Blackwater Falls where it is about 15 degrees cooler. The previous few days and the days we attended it rained each morning which created perfect mushroom hunting weather.

Amanita fulva (Tawny Grisette)

 In the morning we were treated to a short introduction and they we gathered into groups to go out and collect. There were about 80 participants but we had a number of experts so each group was small. Everywhere we looked there were mushrooms, I have never seen so many in such a small area.

This coral mushroom is one of my all time favorites Clavicorona pyxidatus (Crown Tipped Coral).

Amanita sp.

Bill Roody, author of Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians, led the group I was with. We not only collected but he taught us about each find as we slowly progressed through the rich forested area. The trail had a rich, loamy, woodsy smell of a healthy forest.

Bill Roody

Just before we turned back I took this photo of a slug on a mushroom and one of the top showing where it had been eating.  They seem to prefer bollets just like we do. 

Signs of slug chowing down. Below you can see one of the culprits on the underside. Slugs make large, irregular pits where they feed.

My friend showed me this polypore with the marks of a snail. Both snails and slugs use a radula for feeding instead of teeth like mammals.  The radula is a chitinous ribbon with tiny teeth that is pushed against a mushroom or polypore to feed. The radulas can "rake" to comb algae from a surface or "rasp" to feed dierectly on a mushroom. These marks look very similar to those made by the snail Stylommatopora as it moves its head side to side feeding along the way.

Everyone had baskets or paper bags to carry our finds. With mushrooms you don’t want to put them into plastic bags because they will begin to rot and you also need to keep them from getting squashed or broken. Here is the inside of Ryan’s basket and you can see he had a good variety and this was at the start of the search.

Our goal was to take our finds back to the lodge where we sorted them and the experts began to identify and place labels on them. Later that afternoon after a potluck lunch Bill and our other expert Gary Linkoff, author of the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrroms and the Complete Mushroom Hunter, told us about each of the mushrooms we found. They pointed out identifying characters and some of the history and lore associated with them.

After lunch the main speaker, Gary Linkoff, gave a talk on Polypores which was both entertaining and educational.
Gary Linkoff

Chantarellus minor is a choice muchroom for eating.

1 comment:

Woodswalker said...

Ooh, I do love those fungi! How lucky to go out hunting with those who know their names.