Different Eyes

It helps to have different eyes on a foray. Yesterday, I took Lee Ann and Brenda (later to adopt the pseudonyms Clavulina and Umbo) on a guided foray, and we found some cool stuff.

M luteopallensThis Mycena luteopallens is a mushroom that specializes in a substrate of walnuts or hickory nuts. It’s worth reading about (click on the link) and looking closer for as you foray in an oak-hickory forest seeking Hens this week. Notice the beautiful symmetry in the way the mushroom arises from the undesurface of the hickory shell like umbrellas gracing a four-poster bed!

Another cool find was a Clavulina cristata, hence the pseudonym. I had seen it at NAMA last weekend so I recognized it immediately.

T alboaterWe found three Tylopilus alboater in a group. This is a beautiful bolete that has an immediate staining reaction on the white pore surface. Color immediately goes to red and then black when touched the least bit.

Brenda’s eyes, as we rode, brought in about 5 pounds of Sparassis crispa, and she also spotted a large Jack O’Lantern cluster. We harvested a couple of Jack specimens, to go along with some Panellue stipticus that we had found, for Clavulina and Umbo to take home and, hopefully, experience bioluminescence.

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 !!!


Hens, Honeys and Lobsters

Last Thursday, Sept 10, I went over to the Brevard, NC area to scout the trails where my “cousin in-law” Ken and I are going to lead an all day foray during the NAMA (North HenAmerican Mycological Association) gathering this weekend outside of Asheville. Ken and I spent about four hours on the trails, and decided on a plan which should give our participants a good experience. Along the way a few good things happened. In mid-Sept, Ken found a small patch of black trumpets, we saw our first Honey mushrooms of the year, and I found a small, and I mean small (10 oz.) Hen of the Woods, Grifola frondosa. We split it :-)

HoneyFriday morning, I got up and figured that if Honeys were up in Brevard, then maybe here too. Sure enough, they were and along the way I experienced something worth sharing. Strange Jack O’Lanterns were around also. Last year I posted a blog picture that showed Honeys and Jacks intermingled at the based of the same large, dead oak., Well, Friday I saw what appeared to be the yellowish honey-colored cap of an Armillaria mellea (top), but they were in fact Jack O’Lanterns, Omphalotus illudens (bottom), unless the name JackHoneyhas been recently changed. Apparently the recent heavy rains had leached the orange pigments out of the Jack. If a novice had been foraging, and not turned the cap over to examine it, and ignored the other ID features,, the could have very well picked one or two it they were in a rush and not mindful. Look at the exposed gills in this picture and notice how whitish they are. To a pro, no prob. To a novice, prob.

Lobster5Today was a dry day; however, I took a flyer on my favorite lobster spot – the one that had that 100 pound yield several years ago. It’s way past mid-August, but Ken and I had found a few small ones on Thursday, so I went in anyway. Bam! As I entered he woods, orange spots appeared and I got about 10 pounds. They had the feel of and size of having come up over the weekend and then sat in the low humidity this week. Pretty good though. So . . . . .  be looking because we re still in the Summer-Fall transition period. Puffballs haven’t shown up yet – any day now.