Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Fall Fungal Foray

Happy Autumn Everyone! We have been having a very wet fall, making it a great year for mushrooms. Patrick has been itching to get out on an exploration trip, so we thought we'd count how many different kinds of mushrooms we could find while investigating the backyard. While we won't try to identify all of them, we think this first one might be a slippery jack or Suillus luteus. In theory, it is edible, but not considered very palatable. By the way, please don't use this blog as an id. guide. You should never eat a wild mushroom unless you are 100% sure of your identification and its edibility. Never eat wild mushrooms that are raw or decayed, and never eat them in large quantities.

This cute little mushroom is a Lepiota cristata, sometimes called a star dapperling or a stinking parasol. Hmm. I like the first name better. Not recommended for consumption as it has toxic close relatives.

Okay, I'm not even going to try to identify this one or we'll never get through this post, but it IS hard to resist trying.
Looks like another Suillus type mushroom. Don't they look like just the perfect pancakes? Makes me hungry, but I will pass on eating these.
This large stump is a regular nursery. It has moss and fireweed, and baby birch trees, along with these adorable parasol shaped mushrooms
Ooooh. Now this stump is amazing. Check out this colony of mushrooms here!
Awesome! That big white thing is a giant mushroom pushing up out of the ground. They are coming up right through the moss all over around here.
Now this one looks like the earth itself is growing up out of the ground.
I am beginning to feel surrounded in fungus. These are called larch boletes, Suillus grevillei. They grow in a symbiotic relationship with western larch trees providing them with more water and nutrients then they can get with just their roots alone.

These cute little orange fungi are growing out of the side of a log with moss and lichens.
I'm starting to get bored with the whole mushroom thing. We found at least half a dozen others, but the photos didn't turn out so great. This stick is starting to look more fun to play with.
Besides mushrooms, there's also berries out this time of year. This one is called bunchberry. It is related to dogwood and is one of the fastest plants on the planet (the pollen is released by a little trigger when a bee lands on it.) MamaT insists I include the Latin names. That's Cornus canadensis.
Here's something to pucker you up. It's Oregon grape (Mahonia or Berberis repens). We tried making lemonade out of it once. Started with 10 berries and it took about 10 teaspoons of sugar before it wasn't too tart anymore!
Now Patrick is just exploring without looking for plants--walking along a rotting nurse log here.
Do you think anyone will think I'm holding this big log up on my shoulders? I didn't think so either, but it's fun to imagine.
This hollowed out stump is kind of fun to play in. I think there's a red squirrel who hangs out here shelling pine cones all summer.
Gregor showed you all kinds of hidey holes like this earlier this summer. I'm finding some cool critter haunts too.
Just a swinging in the trees. That little branch doesn't look quite strong enough to hold me, but it did!
I like all the different colors of rocks you can find around here--red, yellow, and green for starters.

And finally a trip to the dock where I got to look a large mouth bass in the eye. How cool is that? Thanks for sharing my little autumn adventure with me. See you later.
--Patrick Terrance (a red-headed Gregor)