Bioluminescence – Big South Fork

charit 1

October 14, 10:00 a.m., found me standing at the trailhead to Charit Creek Lodge in the Big South Fork National Recreation Area. My mission was to locate and/or collect bioluminescent fungi for Silver Media to use in a documentary on the BSFNRA they were producing for the National Park Service.

Don O’Brien, their President and Director, had been put in contact with me last year by Matt Peterson, a former student interested in mushrooms and working at Charit Creek Lodge. I was to meet the crew that evening at the lodge and take them out for a nighttime filming.

charit bridge

There was a new moon and clear skies that night, and I thought I might find either some Honey Mushrooms, Jack O’Lanterns or Panellus stipticus for them to use. As it turns out I found some Panellus almost immediately on the hike into the gorge as well as several other locations near the lodge. Even with trail hiking and bushwhacking over 5 miles that day and the next, I never came across Jacks or Honeys,but the Panellus was sufficient.

Panellus stipticusThe picture at the left is of a collection made at the NAMA Foray two weeks before.It was quite educational observing the crew set up the photo shoot after dark, in situ, about 100 yards from the lodge. In case you are interested they used an ISO 3200 with a 24 sec exposure.



EMbiolumThe picture to the left is from the web site of Everything Mushrooms in Knoxville (click on picture to go there) which sells Panellus sawdust spawn to those who wishing to try growing their own crop of bioluminescent fungi. I will update this post with the Silver Fir Media images when they become available. What is really cool about theirs is they are in video rather than just still shots. Using a remote/programmable camera mounted on a rail track, a series of over 100 images were taken as the camera tracked. These images are then sequenced to animate a scanning image (10 sec) of the fungus colony. Some soft LED lighting was set up in the surrounding woods so that the substrate (wooden branch they were growing on) can be subtlety distinguished. It’s quite captivating.

This was an especially enjoyable adventure for me because Silver Fir Media also produced the NPS documentary on the Obed Wild and Scenic River which featured my friend Billy Bob Scarborough. My wife and I were long time open boat tandem paddlers, and Billy Bob guided our first descents on the Obed system. He also led a few  memorable trips down the Big South Fork gorge. So, the documentary brings back a lot of good memories and some not so pleasurable, but educational, like flipping at the entrance to Rocking Chair rapid on Daddy’s Creek in high water – a long and dangerous swim. We appreciate his rescue skills.


Aborting Entoloma

Oct 13, 2015. While following a bramble filled deer path through a power line, I trampled entoloma abortivim 1a few of these and then took a better look. Looking closer I recognized them as Entoloma abortivim, so I looked around for a dead stump and there it was. The dead stump because the Entoloma has a relationship with one of the honey mushrooms. Tom Volk explains it well in his Sept 2006 “Mushroom of the Month” post.

I have found this to be a delicious mushroom, although I have not found it in this quantity (3 1/4 lbs) but a few times. entoloma abortivim 2In the second picture you should see a normal Entoloma, a split carpophoid, and two intact carpophoids (superior and inferior views). Carpophoid is the term for the aborted body. Read Volk’s post for an analysis of which is which – Honey or Entoloma – abortee or abortor. :-)

I always cut mine and look inside before eating; the same as small puffballs. Beware the Amanita egg !!!!!

clean abortivim


They clean up well !!!

Rainy Week – Great!!


NOTE: This week’s finds are at the end of the post, so read on . . . .

Cordyceps militaris

Cordyceps militaris

Yep, it has been a rainy week indeed. With Joaquin coming up from the Bahamas and a stagnant Low over South Florida we’ve had plenty here in the Valley, and my friends on the other side of the mountains (Asheville) have had even more. For me, it began Thursday evening at the NAMA (North American Mycological Association)



Pseudohydum gelatinosum

Pseudohydum gelatinosum

annual foray at Black Mountain, NC and continued until I got home on Sunday. Then it began here, and it did not quit until last night (Sat). Ten days is enough!!! For the upside, however,, read on  . . . . .NAMA was cool. Lots of collections (almost 400 species) and excellent lectures/talks. The session on mycophagy was outstanding. A lot of people put in many hours and much effort to put on a gastronomical feast for the attendees. That was Good Eats indeed – eat your heart out Alton Brown. Wow!

Panellus stipticus - Foxfire

Panellus stipticus – Foxfire

I co-led a foray on Saturday. We had 40 signed up, but only three braved the rain and the thought of an all day experience in it. In spite of the low turnout, some cool species were found. Those three foragers were some serious mushroomers.

The rains here began to slack up Friday and over the weekend I found 2 Hen of the Woods (6 lbs total), three Chicken of the Woods (17 lbs total) two small Hericium and a lonely Lobster. Surprisingly, no giant puffballs yet, but the Meadow Mushrooms are showing. Tomorrow, I’m taking two clients to the mountains on a private foray. Hen1Hen2My guess, and hope, is that we will see a variety including T. caligata and Rozites caperata – the Gypsy. In my opinion, this time of year sees a reduction in variety of edibles but good quantities of what you do find. Maybe, because many are saprophytes.


chick2-1chick3Get to the woods !!!