I just love it when the experts say that something is widespread and common, yet I have just encountered it for the first time in my half-century-plus lifetime. Such is the case with a couple of fungi I encountered over the weekend.
According to Michael Kuo, “Hericium americanum is North America’s only Hericium species with long spines and a branched fruiting body.”
As I surfed around looking for more information about this one I discovered that it has many common names including Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus, Monkey Head, Lion’s Mane, Pom pon Blanc, and Icicle Mushroom. I also discovered that the scientific name has changed recently and you might find it listed as Hericium coralloides, a name that has now officially been given to a different species – a coral fungus that used to be called Hericium ramosum. Yikes, I think I’m glad I’m NOT a mycologist! (Click here for an interestng article about how and why names change. It’s not related to this fungus, but the story is illustrative!)
There are several Hericium species in the northeast woods. Kuo says that H. americanum is sometimes confused with H. erinaceus. So I began to wonder about this one:
H. americanum is branched, H. erinaceus derives from a single clump. I dunno. What do you think? Is the one above a single clump or branched? The spines (or teeth) are shorter, but I think it is younger, too.
Both are “toothed” fungi, meaning that spores are produced from elongated spines or teeth, rather than from gills or pores as in some other fungi.
All of the Hericium species in North America are edible, so They say, and several species in this genus are cultivated for consumption. Indeed, the Hericium species are reported to be quite easy to cultivate.
Have any of you sunk your teeth into these teeth before? How are they?
P.S. Seabrooke blogged about fungi, too: http://themarvelousinnature.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/fungal-growths/
I couldn’t resist going back to the Westside Overland Trail to get some photos of the fungi that I mentioned in a previous post. So last Saturday, I returned. The sun kept peeking out from behind the clouds, so I hoped to be able to get a few decent shots in natural light. I don’t know what any of these are called, but I just had to post them…
All this from a Saturday afternoon walk… And there were several species not pictured here… either too far gone, or too difficult to photograph due to light conditions or location…
This world is so incredibly beautiful and there is such a diversity of life… It takes my breath away.
I didn’t take my camera last Sunday when I walked a section of the Westside Overland Trail. It was just as well, since it rained all the way out. But as I look back on the hike, I wish I had taken the camera… or that I was as talented as Carolyn, or Toni, or Christine and could sketch, draw, or paint what I saw!
What did I see? Fungi. More kinds than I have ever seen in one day in my life. Orange ones. Yellow ones. Pink, purple, tan, red, brown, black, white… Smooth ones. Bumpy ones. Curly ones. Ones with gills, others without. Shaped like cups. Shaped like balls, parasols, fingers, cheetohs, potato chips…
I may have to make time to go back to that section of trail with the camera… Quickly… before the fungi disappear…
In the meantime, I took a walk in a nearby woods to see what might be “blooming” there. I don’t know what any of them are… But aren’t they gorgeous?
(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.
I found mine at Rimrock in the Allegheny National Forest. Here’s what the back looks like:
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.
Gosh. 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 Blurb.com for the time being. But after I make my changes, I’ll put it back up there.
If it is possible for a fungus to be cute, then Mycena corticola is the hands-down winner. If it has a common name, I haven’t found it yet…