Weird ‘Shroom

(hahaha…  I just found this post in my “Drafts”.  Took the photos July 23.  Guess I forgot to hit “publish”…)

I believe this is the the same kind of mushroom that Tom posted about here.

Very Weird 'Shroom

I found mine at Rimrock in the Allegheny National Forest.  Here’s what the back looks like:

Very Weird 'Shroom - Back

Fungi Book

Winter Fungi Book Cover


OK, this is the last time you have to hear about this…  I finally put the finishing touches on the Winter Fungi book that I self-published.

You can order your millions of copies by clicking on the photo of the cover at left.

I promise I’ll never mention this again.

My Book!

Winter Fungi Book CoverGosh.  In all the excitement about the owls on Saturday, I nearly forgot that my book arrived.  I’m pretty impressed with the quality of the printing and binding.  However, always the perfectionist, I found a couple of things that I would like to change…  And, since I’ve learned a couple more fungi, I’ll add a few more pages, too.  I’ve taken it off for the time being.  But after I make my changes, I’ll put it back up there.

One Branch

The Paved TrailFor several years in a row, the naturalists at Audubon have challenged themselves to create a new themed exhibit each year.  The entire building is transformed to interpret topics under a common theme.  Raptors, mammals, wetlands, insects,…  With each exhibit, we create new educational programs, which forces us to be learning all the time.  And the theme focuses our learning.  I read so many books on mammals during the mammal exhibit… looked at so many skulls and pelts, learned so many tracks and signs…  You get the idea.

Our current theme is Biodiversity.  We’ve kept it local.  With our displays, we show visitors the tremendous diversity of species that you can find right here in Western New York.  So… my mind is primed to look for diversity.  And if you’ve been reading this blog, you know my current fascination is fungi…  Specifically species that show up in Winter.

Continue reading

A Book!

Winter Fungi Book CoverOk, folks… you can rush to the Blurb site to order millions of copies of my book now!  (Just click on the picture at left…)

I’ve ordered myself a copy, but have not received it yet…  When I do, I’ll post again to let you know what I think of the quality of Blurb books.  It was a fun process putting this one together, anyway… Kept me out of trouble!

UPDATE (2/11/08):  I received my copy of the book and am mostly please with it.  I made it “private” on Blurb for right now as I want to make a few edits.  When I’m done, I’ll put it back up on Blurb.  It’s pretty exciting!!!

Mysteries in the Woods – Part II

That Orange FungusIt was a mystery to me, until this morning.  A Flickr member helped me find the correct identification!  (Thanks PeteAndNoeWoods.  <– Click that link to see some awesome nature photos!)

This is Cinnabar-red polypore, Pycnoporus cinnabarinus.

That Orange Fungus

Bright Orange Bracket Fungus

Pycnoporus means “with compact dense pores” and cinnabarinus “bright red”.  It’s usually found on dead deciduous wood, though can sometimes be found on conifers.  The top will fade to white-ish with time; the underside fades, too, but not as much.  I guess it’s not strictly a winter fungus… it can be found year round.


Singular Tastes

Daedalia quercina only likes oakWhen my brother was in school and my mom was still making his lunches, he ALWAYS carried a bologna sandwich.  Every Day.  No Exceptions.  As he approaches 50, I think his palate allows for more variety, but as a kid it had to be two slices of bread with butter and a slice of bologna.  (Yeah, you heard right:  he didn’t even want mustard!  Weird kid.)

There are a couple of fungi in my recent winter collection with similar, singular tastes.  One is the Daedalia quercina that I wrote about hereQuercus is the genus name for oak and D. quercina apparently only likes oak.

Another had me stumped for a bit…  I found what I thought was a positive ID at Messiah University’s Fungus-On-Wood website.  The pictures seemed to match…  Still, the text…  They claimed that Silky Parchment only grows on the dead twigs and branches of “blue beech.”  I began to doubt the ID because I had never heard of blue beech and was pretty sure we didn’t have such a tree around here.  I finally got around to looking up the Latin name listed on the site (Carpinus caroliniana) and discovered this tree also goes by the names “American Hornbeam” and “Ironwood” and “Musclewood”.  Yeah!  We have that.

Silky Parchment Fungus

Silky Parchment fungus (Stereum striatum) can be found year round – only on Carpinus caroliniana.

Silky Parchment Top   Silky Parchment Underside

Sometimes the underside of the caps fuse into a single mass.  Silky Parchment is a saprobic fungus, meaning the branches you find it on are already dead.

Uh oh… If my brother reads this, will he think I’m comparing him to a fungus?  No, Scotty!  Despite all that bologna, you’ve turned into a rather nice person and a truly fun guy!

Why I Love Flickr – Revisited

Orange Fungi on ElmI wrote a couple of days ago (or was it only yesterday?) about how Jayne got me started working on a book.  In doing research for it… cuz I wanted to list the names of all the species… I found myself stumped by one of the fungi.  Once again, I turned to’s ID Please group.

It wasn’t long before “Rhizopogon” answered my question:

Velvet Stem Flammulina velutipes

I was skeptical at first.  None of the websites I visited seemed to have pictures at all resembling my specimen.  The more I read, though, the more convinced I became.

Orange Fungi on Elm CloseupTom Volk lists Winter Mushroom and Velvet Foot as additional common names.  Michael Kuo must have been feeling a little punchy when he listed my favorite common name:  “At Least Something’s Out in January Mushroom.”

It seems this ‘shroom can be either saprobic or parasitic:  it can be found on dead wood or living trees.  It is particulary fond of elm, which is where I found it.

Enoki Mushrooms - borrowed from Michael Kuo's Article... Click me to read it.Get ready for the most fascinating thing I learned:  I’ve eaten this ‘shroom, though it looked NOTHING like the above pictures when I did.  Have you ever had a Japanese dish, such as Sukiyaki, that has clusters of long-stemmed white mushrooms with small button caps on top?  Cooks call them Enoki mushrooms.  Well… it’s the same species!

When cultivated in jars in the dark, the stems continue to elongate as the organism tries to find a way out into the open where spores can be released.

Flammulina velutipes by Tom Volk - Click on me to go to his article...I borrowed the Enoki photo above from Michael Kuo’s site.  Be sure to click on it and read Michael’s article – especially the part about attempting to cultivate Enoki in space.  I love a fellow cynic.  The photo at left from Tom Volk’s site shows a colony where the bark is peeled away.  Notice the enoki-like, long-stemmed, pale mushrooms growing below the orange fruits that have found their way out into the world.

WARNING:  It is VERY important that if you decide you want to eat this mushroom you get the cultivated variety from the grocery store!  There is another species (Galerina autumnalis) that is very like this and has been reported growing side by side with this.  Galerina autumnalis is highly toxic!!!!

People ask me all the time how I know so much about nature.  It’s really quite simple.  This is how it happens… I snap a picture.  I ask a question.  The answer leads me to read and surf the ‘net… Suddenly, I know something I didn’t know before.

Thanks to Rhizopogon for pointing me in the right direction for this identification!

Ain’t life fascinating?

Forest Floor in Winter: Sans Snow – Part II – Lines and Shapes

Sometimes it is color that draws my eye… other times, it is just a line or a shape or a pattern.  Here are a few from my walk on Sunday:

How many trees can you identify from this picture?

Still no snow, but at least the puddles are frozen…

Black Stuff on Beech Bark Armillaria mellea
Beech Bark; and… Do you remember this fungus?  (Mouse over it for name.)

Pattern on a barkless branch

Pattern on a barkless branch
The last two images are closeups of the patterns on the same barkless branch.

Tomorrow:  Textures!