Cordyceps and other oddities

Yesterday (May 13) I went up to Lone Mountain State Forest in Morgan County with David and his Dad, (Michael). The predicted rain let off and it turned out to be a nice day. I thought a few pictures could illustrate the diversity of the woods as well as some things you don’t see every day.

cordycepsFirst off is the Cordyceps we found. In this case, the parasitic fungus seems to be on a large white grub that tried to pupate. I was able to see the mandibles and legs of the grub. I sent the picture to Mike Hopping and he suggested checking out Ophiocordyceps melolonthae for the fungus. The beetles in the genus Melolontha are large grubs so maybe that’s it. I am a Cordyceps dilettante, so anyone who has other ideas on a clear I.D., send it to me.



Next up is Xylocoremium flabelliforme. I rarely see this little anamorph of Xylaria (as I understand it), and it has always been sporulating at the time. This was a chance to catch it early and Mike got an excellent macro shot of it.


IMG_1119IMG_0037I love slime molds, and Tubifera ferruginosa, is one of the prettiest in its plasmodial stage.. However, I have never seen it like this – working hard at covering all the small bracket fungi (I failed to ID them because I got too excited about the “raspberry mold” already dwelling on the fallen limb). Oh well, you tell me.  :-)

Sweeet KnotFour days ago,on Monday, Derek and I turned up a “Sweet Knot” , Globifomes graveolens, near to where I parked today so I thought I might see it; however, we missed it. Probably because we got to admiring the white, chalky residue of a humongous Chicken of the Woods on the other side of the road. Anyway, it was my first sweet knot ever so here it is. It’s an older specimen, so it’s black rather than brownish or sienna. Apparently, old timers used to split them and use them as deodorizers in their outhouses. Legend or fact? Let me know,

IMG_0033I’m also interested in insect galls,but I had never seen/noticed,/been aware of the aphid gall on witch hazel shrubs. This particular individual was covered in them.




IMG_0035IMG_1281Some sweet shrub and Indian cucumber blooms topped off the day. Of course, we found a number of other cool mushrooms along the way.


Birthday Morels

IMG_1235Derek’s been working hard, and for the past few years he has been a creative director for Knoxville’s Rhythm & Blooms music festival. So, he’s pretty much tied up during the first two weeks of April. I have missed ‘shrooming with him, but the way things turned out this year I was able to take him to a spot I knew about to hunt yellow morels on his birthday.

It rained heavy all morning, which was just a prelude to the IMG_1233deluge that occurred that night and the next day. It was bad enough that Derek helped wet vac the basement after dinner. The next day it reflooded, and I wet vacuumed around 500 gallons out of Ellen’s sewing room. We had around 6+ inches of rain over the weekend. Derek’s shop/studio in Knoxville flooded also. Was there any good news? The pictures tell the story. Check Derek’s bag sag . .

We ate the small, weak and lame mushrooms on a ribeye IMG_1236steak, mixed in with peppers and fresh ramps. Ellen and I kept a dozen to fry tonight, and Derek took the rest home. We had 170 all together, in all sizes and conditions. Even with the flooding, Derek and I agreed the experience remained a great , and certainly memorable, birthday. A great father & son foray !!!!!

Morels 2017






400Last year’s drought began in mid-July and lasted until Jan, and there has been little mushroom news. January was wet and March warmed up early, ramps came up and, fortunately, we never had the typical “late freeze”. As a result, or maybe as a reward for patience, the black morels started popping around April 1st. Yellows came later and lasted shorter as the daytime highs went to 80 degrees 5 days straight with no rain. Rain has returned this week (Apr 18) so maybe  there are still some to be had. Here are a  few pictures from April.