Even though we’ve had some rain in the valley this past week, it’s been scattered. The leaf layer on the forest floor is damp in places, but scratch around and you can see the soil is still quite dry. That’s why I switched gears and went up on the Cumberland Plateau to join the Cumberland Mycological Society on a foray yesterday. Turns out, it was quite a bit wetter there, especially along the creek trail that I hiked. In fact, it got even wetter, as did I, before I returned to the shelter.
Along the way, I found several fresh patches of honey mushrooms (Armillaria mellea), three very nice Spariassis crispa (pictured above) and one patch of small hedgehogs (Hydnum repandum). There were quite a few other species found, but these were the choice edibles. One mushroom that was in great abundance during the entire 2 miles I forayed was Lactarius speciosus (below) which is an interesting mushroom. When cut or bruised, the latex stains the gills a beautiful lilac color. That plus the ochre zoning makes it easy to identify. Edibility is questionable – I don’t eat them.
It also rained here in the Valley yesterday, so I’m hoping that there will be mushrooms to gather on Monday when I go out. I hope so because a writer is going with me. She’s doing a feature about our mushroom cooking class on Tuesday night, and she wants to experience the thrill of the hunt so to speak. I’m hoping it’s going to be fruitful. Based on yesterday, it appears that the fall season is coming in. I’m excited about that because Friday I will be headed to Oconee State Park in South Carolina for the annual foray with the Asheville, South Carolina and Georgia mushroom clubs. There is always great variety and a lot of fun.
Some of the other edible mushrooms on Saturday were Fistulina hepatica, beefsteak fungus (too old to eat), painted boletes (Suillus pictus),and granulated boletes (Suillus granulatus).