Temperatures at night are expected to fall to near 30 degrees this week, so it looks like we are getting near the end of our mushrooms “season”. There are still some nice edibles to be had however. Friday, I collected a nice young chicken of the woods, honey mushrooms, lions mane (Hericium), wood blewits and oysters.
The honey mushrooms were Armillaria gallica which are smaller than the Armillaria mellea we were finding in September prior to the drought of several weeks. A. gallica tend to grow in small clumps scattered around the forest floor and appear to be growing on the ground. However, if you pick, rather than cut, them you will notice they detach easily from their substrate. What happens is that the rhizomorphs, or boot-lace like structures of the fungus, grow in the forest litter right under the leaves over a large area. In this case about 1/4 acre. Apparently, when they hit a solid obstruction they fruit. Many of the specimens (7 pounds) had a pebble, stick or piece of loose bark with rhizomoprhs attached to the swollen base of the fungus. Notice the rhizomorphs in the collection below. Michael Kuo has a good description on Mushroom Expert.
I also gathered another Hericium from the same tree that I posted about on October 6. It was growing on another spot on the same wound. So, it took three weeks after a harvest to produce another within a couple of feet of the first. That’s a good thing to remmber for next year. This one was a 3-pounder.
I have wriiten before about novices confusing Jack O’Lanterns for Chanterelles. Once you know both species, you might ask, “How could this happen?”. Well, it does. The pictures bellow show how Jack O’Lanterns can be scattered in clumps, in this case in the middle of a Paw Paw patch, such that they aren’t recognized as growing on wood. They are beautiful but sickening.
On the Chicken of the Woods, we left some little knobs on Friday and are going back today to see how they grew. There was a nice steady light rain yesterday also. It’s been fun watching the growth rate on some of these species this fall.
Suillus were flushing abundantly a couple of weeks ago. Below from left to right are S. granulatus, S. americanus and S. pictus. We found these under white pine. In a plantation of loblolly pine we found some other Suillus including S. punctipes, which has nice nice violet color change when a drop of KOH is put on the cap surface. Suillus, as a group, are sort of slimey and don’t do well sauteed, but they dry very well and then are a good addition to soups, stews and gravies that need thickening. Some of the Asheville Mushroom Club members powder them for use in some of the club’s recipes. You can find the club mushroom recipe book through the Asheville Mushroom Club link in my site’s “sidebar” to the right