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Featured Mushrooms

This page contains a record of the mushrooms which were formerly featured on the front page of the website.

What's up in December, 2012?

 

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Copyright ©2012 Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2010
Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Poronidulus conchifer
Photographers: Walt Sturgeon
Dan Molter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
Additional Images: @Google
   
   
   

From the Mushroom Expert:

Poronidulus conchifer (often called Trametes conchifer in field guides) starts out as a tiny, bowl-like thing that looks for all the world like a cup fungus or a bird's nest fungus without its eggs. Later, a polypore develops as an extension of the cup, often engulfing it with a pore surface or flesh. At maturity the cup can sometimes be detected as a swallowed-looking lump or disc at the base of the cap, or as a pore-covered lumpy structure that looks like a lateral stem.

What's up in November, 2012?

 

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Copyright ©2012
Walt Sturgeon

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Copyright ©2012
Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Schizophyllum commune
Photographers: Walt Sturgeon
Dan Molter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   
   
   

Schizophyllum commune is a very common species of mushroom in the genus Schizophyllum. It is the world's most widely distributed mushroom, occurring on every continent except Antarctica.

Although European and US guidebooks list it as inedible, this is apparently due to differing standards of taste rather than known toxicity, being regarded with little culinary interest due to its tough texture. S. commune is, in fact, edible and widely consumed in Mexico and elsewhere in the tropics. The authors explain the preference for tough, rubbery mushrooms in the tropics as a consequence of the fact that tender, fleshy mushrooms quickly rot in the hot humid conditions there, making their marketing problematic.

The gills, which produce basidiospores on their surface split when the mushroom dries out, earning this mushroom the common name Split Gill. It has more than 28,000 sexes.

It is common in rotting wood, but can also cause disease in humans.

Hydrophobin was first isolated from Schizophyllum commune.

What's up in October, 2012?

 

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Copyright ©2011
Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2010
Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Phlebia incarnata
Photographers: Walt Sturgeon
Dan Molter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
Additional Images: @Google
   
   
   

Phlebia incarnata, is saprobic and commonly found growing in clusters on hardwood logs and stumps, especially near white oak, beech, maple, and birch.  This mushroom was formerly known as Merulius incarnatus and is found in the Mississippi watershed and eastward.  Michael Kuo at the Mushroom Expert indicates that in his experience this mushroom is almost always found alongside Stereum ostrea.

Fresh specimens have overlapping, coral pink caps with a white undersurface characterized by wrinkled veins which create the illusion of being porus.

What's up in September, 2012?

 

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Copyright ©2010
walt sturgeon

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Copyright ©2012
walt sturgeon
Scientific Name: Entoloma abortivum
Common Names: aborted entoloma
Photographers: walt sturgeon
ember erebus
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   

Entoloma abortivum, commonly known as the aborted entoloma, is an edible mushroom in the Entolomataceae family of fungi. First named Clitopilus abortivus by Miles Joseph Berkeley and Moses Ashley Curtis, it was given its current name by the Dutch mycologist Marinus Anton Donk in 1949.

Michael Kuo at the Mushroom Expert describes Entoloma abortivum as having two masks, Dr. Jeckell and Mr. Hyde.  The reference highlights that this mushroom can be found in two very different forms which can lead to problems with proper identification.  This mushroom is currently believed to be parasitic on species of Armillaria, and possibly also saprobic since it is found growing on or near decaying hardwoods.

What's up in August, 2012?

 

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Copyright ©2011
Martin Livezey

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Copyright ©2010
Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Tylopilus alboater
Common Names: Black velvet bolete
Photographers: Walt Sturgeon
Martin Livezey
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   

Tylopilus alboater, commonly known as the black velvet bolete, is a bolete fungus in the Boletaceae family. The species is found in North America east of the Rocky Mountains, and in eastern Asia, including China, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. A mycorrhizal species, it grows solitarily, scattered, or in groups on the ground usually under deciduous trees, particularly oak, although it has been recorded from deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forests.

The fruit bodies have a black to grayish-brown cap that measures up to 15 cm (5.9 in) in diameter. The caps of young specimens have a velvety texture and are covered with a whitish to gray powdery coating; this texture and coating is gradually lost as the mushroom matures, and the cap often develops cracks. The pores on the underside of the cap are small and pinkish. The stem is bluish-purple to black, and measures up to 10 cm (3.9 in) long by 4 cm (1.6 in) thick. Both the pore surface and the whitish cap flesh will stain pink to reddish-gray, and eventually turn black after being cut or injured. The mushroom is edible, and generally considered one of the best edible Tylopilus species.

What's up in July, 2012?

 

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Copyright ©2011
Bill

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Copyright ©2010
Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Tylopilus plumbeoviolaceus
Common Names: Violet-grey bolete
Photographers: Walt Sturgeon
Bill
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   

Tylopilus plumbeoviolaceus (formerly Boletus plumbeoviolaceus), commonly known as the violet-grey bolete, is a fungus of the bolete family. First described in 1936, the mushroom has a disjunct distribution, and is distributed in eastern North America and Korea. The fruit bodies of the fungus are violet when young, but fade into a chocolate brown color when mature. They are solid and relatively large—cap diameter up to 15 cm (5.9 in), with a white pore surface that later turns pink, and a white mycelium at the base of the stem. Like most boletes of genus Tylopilus, the mushroom is inedible due to its bitter taste. A number of natural products have been identified from the fruit bodies, including unique chemical derivatives of ergosterol, a fungal sterol.

What's up in June, 2012?

 

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Copyright ©2011
Hamilton

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Copyright ©2012
Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Pleurotus pulmonarius
Common Names: Indian Oyster, Phoenix Mushroom, or the Lung Oyster
Photographers: Walt Sturgeon
Hamilton
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   

Pleurotus pulmonarius, commonly known as the Indian Oyster, Phoenix Mushroom, or the Lung Oyster, is a mushroom very similar to Pleurotus ostreatus, the pearl oyster, but with a few noticeable differences. The caps of pulmonarius are much paler and smaller than ostreatus and develops more of a stem. P. pulmonarius also prefers warmer weather than ostreatus and will appear later in the summer. Otherwise, the taste and cultivation of the two species is generally described as largely the same.  In North America, P. pulmonarius also closely resembles Pleurotus populinus, which is restricted to growing on aspen and cottonwood (genus Populus).

What's up in May, 2012?

 

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Copyright ©2012 Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2010 Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Polyporus arcularius
Photographers: Walt Sturgeon
Dan Molter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
Additional Images: @Google
   
   
   

Polyporus arcularius is found in the spring, and is often encountered by morel hunters and turkey hunters. It is fairly small, and has a central stem--unlike the other oft-encountered spring polypore, Polyporus squamosus. Polyporus arcularius is recognized by its brown cap color, its whitish pore surface, and its finely hairy ("ciliate") cap margin.

What's up in April, 2012?

 

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Copyright ©2011 Walt Sturgeon

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Copyright ©2011 Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Gyromitra korfii
Common Names: Snow morel, Snow false morel
Photographers: Walt Sturgeon
Dan Molter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia
Additional Images: @Google
   
   

Gyromitra gigas, commonly known as the snow morel, snow false morel, calf brain, or bull nose, is a fungus and a member of the Ascomycota. G. gigas is found in Europe, western North America where it is common in mountainous areas in coniferous forests, and eastern North America where it is found with both conifers and hardwoods. It is referred to as one of the false morels, due to its similar appearance and occurrence in the spring and early summer in similar habitats to true morels (Morchella ssp.). It is edible if properly prepared but should be avoided due to variability and similarity to other more toxic species of Gyromitra.

The scientific names G. montana and G. korfii have been made synonymous with G. gigas based on an analysis of spore morphology.

What's up in March, 2012?

 

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Copyright ©2011 NAMA

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Copyright ©2010
Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Fomitopsis pinicola
Common Names: Red Banded Polypore
Photographers: Walt Sturgeon
NAMA
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   

Fomitopsis pinicola, in English sometimes known as Red Banded Polypore, has a hoof-shaped or triangular cap which is hard and tough texture and up to 30-40 x 25 x 10 cm. Its surface is more or less smooth, at first orange-yellow with a white margin and later dark reddish to brown and then frequently with orange margin. The pore surface pale yellow to leather-brown, 3-4 pores per mm. It grows on live and dead coniferous or (less common) deciduous trees.

The fruiting body of Fomitopsis pinicola is called the conk. It is a woody, pileate fruiting body with pores lined with basidia on its underside. As in other polypores, the fruiting body is perennial with a new layer of pores produced each year on the bottom of the old pores.

This mushroom is inedible due to its woody texture, but it is useful as tinder.

What's up in February, 2012?

 

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Copyright ©2011
Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2010 Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Lenzites betulina
Common Names:  
Photographers: Walt Sturgeon
Dan Molter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   

Lenzites betulina is a plant pathogen. Although a member of the Polyporales order, it has gills instead of pores, which makes it distinguishable from the superficially similar Trametes versicolor or Trametes hirsutum. Research has shown that it has several medicinal properties, including antioxidant, antimicrobial, antitumor, and immunosuppressive activities.

What's up in January, 2012?

 

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Copyright ©2009
Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2010
Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Leucocoprinus birnbaumii
Common Names: Plantpot dapperling
Flowerpot parasol
Photographers: Walt Sturgeon
Dan Molter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii is a species of gilled mushroom in the family Agaricaceae. It is common in the tropics and subtropics, but in temperate regions frequently occurs in hothouses and flowerpots, hence its common names of plantpot dapperling and flowerpot parasol. Basidiocarps (fruit bodies) are poisonous, if consumed.

What's up in December, 2011?

 

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Copyright ©2010
Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2008
Dan Molter
Scientific Name: Trametes versicolor
Common Names: Turkey Tail
Photographers: Dan Molter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   

Trametes versicolor - formerly known as Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor - is an extremely common polypore mushroom which can be found throughout the world. Versicolor means 'of several colours' and it is true that this mushroom is found in a wide variety of different colours. T. versicolor is commonly called Turkey Tail because of its resemblance to the tail of the wild turkey. T. versicolor is recognized as a medicinal mushroom in Chinese medicine under the name yun zhi. In China and Japan T. versicolor is used as in immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer.

What's up in November, 2011?

 

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Copyright ©2010
Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2010
Dan Molter
Scientific Name: Panellus serotinus
Common Names: Late Fall Oyster
Olive Oysterling
Photographers: Dan Molter
Hamilton
Additional Information: @RogersMushrooms.com
Additional Images: @Google
   

Panellus serotinus is found in North America and Europe and is normally 5-15cm in diameter with a kidney shaped yellow or green cap.  It's flesh is slimy or sticky and it has a white, creme, or yellowish spore print.  It is typically found on fallen trunks or branches.

What's up in October, 2011?

 

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Copyright ©2007
Alan Rockefeller

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Copyright ©2010
Paul Derbyshire
Scientific Name: Armillaria ostoyae
Photographers: Paul Derbyshire
Alan Rockefeller
Buddy
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@WikiPedia
Additional Images: @Google
   

Armillaria ostoyae is a species of fungus in the Physalacriaceae family. It is the most common variant in the western U.S., of the group of species that all used to share the name Armillaria mellea. Armillaria solidipes is quite common on both hardwood and conifer wood in forests west of the Cascade crest. The mycelium attacks the sapwood and is able to travel great distances under the bark or between trees in the form of black rhizomorphs ("shoestrings").

In most areas of North America, Armillaria solidipes can be separated from other species by its physical features. Its brown colors, fairly prominent scales featured on its cap, and the well-developed ring on its stem sets it apart from any Armillaria. (Herink, 1973)

It is known to be one of the largest living organisms, where scientists have estimated a single specimen found in Malheur National Forest in Oregon to have been growing for some 2,400 years, covering 3.4 square miles. Armillaria solidipes grows and spreads primarily underground and the bulk of the organism lies in the ground, out of sight. Therefore, the organism is not visible to anyone viewing from the surface. It is only in the autumn when this organism will bloom “honey mushrooms”, visible evidence of the organism lying beneath. Low competition for land and nutrients have allowed this organism to grow so huge and become arguably the largest living organism. [1]

Armillaria ostoyae in the news:

What's up in September, 2011?

 

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Copyright ©2010 Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2010 Dan Molter
Scientific Name: Armillaria mellea
Photographer: Dan Moulter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
Additional Images: @Google
   
   
   

Armillaria mellea is a plant pathogen and a species of Honey fungus. It causes Armillaria root rot in many plant species. The mushrooms are edible but some people may be intolerant to them. The fungus produces mushrooms around the base of trees it has infected. As the fungus causes root rot, symptoms also appear in the crowns of infected trees as death and dieback of the branches. This species is capable of producing light via bioluminiscence.

The classic honey mushroom, Armillaria mellea, turns out to be limited to roughly the eastern half of North America, from about the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast and the East Coast--and perhaps to northern California, where it has been reported. It usually grows in clusters on hardwoods, but is occasionally found on conifers. It has a fairly smooth cap, a sturdy ring on the stem, and fused stem bases that are tapered to points. Under the microscope, it has basidia that are not clamped at their bases.

What's up in August, 2011?

 

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Copyright ©2010 Walt Sturgeon

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Copyright ©2010 Dan Molter
Scientific Name: Boletus hortonii
Photographer: Dan Moulter, Walt Sturgeon
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
Additional Images: @Google
   
   
   

Boletus hortonii is a fascinating bolete which is relatively common in eastern North America's oak forests. It has a tightly wrinkled cap surface that turns green with ammonia, a yellow pore surface, and a stem that appears bald and unadorned but on close inspection features tiny scabers. The flesh and pore surface occasionally bruise slightly bluish, especially in older specimens.

Boletus hortonii is mycorrhizal with oaks and perhaps with other hardwoods; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously (sometimes densely so); early summer through fall; northeastern United States and eastern Canada.

What's up in July, 2011?

 

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Copyright ©2010 Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2010 Dan Molter
Scientific Name: Boletus frostii
Photographer: Dan Moulter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   
   
   

Boletus frostii, commonly known as Frost's bolete or the apple bolete, is a bolete mushroom first described scientifically in 1874. A member of the Boletaceae family, the mushrooms produced by the fungus have tubes and pores instead of gills on the underside of its cap. The fruit bodies may be recognized by their dark red sticky caps, the red pores, the network-like pattern of the stem, and the bluing reaction to tissue injury. Another characteristic of young, moist fruit bodies are the amber drops exuded on the pore surface.

Boletus frostii is a mycorrhizal species, and the fruit bodies are typically found growing near hardwood trees, especially oak. Boletus frostii is distributed in the eastern United States from Maine to Georgia, Mexico, and Costa Rica. A subspecies, Boletus frostii ssp. Floridanus, has been described and differs from the typical species in the color of the fruit body, and texture of the cap. Boletus frostii mushrooms are edible, but generally not recommended because of the risk of confusion with other poisonous red-pored boletes.

What's up in June, 2011?

 

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Copyright ©2010 Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2010 Dan Molter
Scientific Name: Megacollybia rodmani
Photographer: Dan Moulter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
Additional Images: @Google
   

Megacollybia rodmani is one of the first mushrooms to appear after the end of Morel season.  It is a medium to large sized mushroom with a grey-brown or olive-brown cap and white spore print which is typically found on rotting or buried hardwood east of the Rocky Mountains.  This species was formerly known as "Tricholomopsis platyphylla" and was assumed to be the same species across North America, but DNA analysis has changed that perspective.  Megacollybia rodmani must now be identified either by molecular sequencing, or by considering its range and ecology (east of the Rocky Mountains, decomposing the deadwood of hardwoods) and then eliminating two contenders with as-yet limited ranges.  See the key to Megacollybia at the MushroomExpert.com for details.

What's up in May, 2011?

 

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Copyright ©2011 Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2011 Dan Molter
Scientific Name: Polyporus squamosus
Common Names: Dryad's saddle
Pheasant's back mushroom
Photographer: Dan Moulter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google

Polyporus squamosus is an basidiomycete bracket fungus, with common names including Dryad's saddle and Pheasant's back mushroom. It has a widespread distribution, being found in North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe, where it causes a white rot in the heartwood of living and dead hardwood trees. The name "Dryad's saddle" refers to creatures in Greek mythology called Dryads who could conceivably fit and ride on this mushroom, whereas the pheasant's back analogy derives from the pattern of colors on the bracket matching that of a pheasant's back.

This organism is common and widespread, being found east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and over much of Europe. It is also found in Australia and Asia. It commonly fruits in the spring, occasionally during autumn, and rarely during other seasons. Many mushroom hunters will stumble upon this when looking for morels during the spring as both have similar fruiting times, and this fungus can grow to a noticeable size of up to 50 cm (20 in) across. It plays an important role in woodland ecosystems by decomposing wood, usually elm, but is occasionally a parasite on living trees. Other tree hosts include ash, beech, horse chestnut, lime, maple, planetree, poplar, and willow.

What's up in April, 2011?

 

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Copyright ©2010 Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2011 Dan Molter
Scientific Name: Morchella semilibera
Common Names: Peckerhead,
Half-free Morel
Photographer: Dan Moulter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
Additional Images: @Google

Half-free morels are easily separated from other morels by cutting them in half, lengthwise. The cap of the half-free morel is attached to the stem half way (more or less; "one-third to two-thirds" might be more accurate), so that a substantial portion hangs free like a skirt. Other true morels have caps that are (again, more or less) completely attached to the stem--while false morels in the genus Verpa have caps that hang completely free, like a thimble placed on a pencil eraser.

What's up in March, 2011?

 

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Copyright ©2010 Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2011 Dan Molter
Scientific Name: Exidia glandulosa
Common Names: Black Witches' Butter, Black Jelly Roll, or Warty Jelly Fungus
Photographer: Dan Moulter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google

Exidia glandulosa is a jelly fungus in the family Auriculariaceae. It is a common, wood-rotting species in Europe, typically growing on dead attached branches of oak. The fruit bodies are up to 3 cm (1.2 in) wide, shiny, black and blister-like, and grow singly or in clusters. Its occurrence elsewhere is uncertain because of confusion with the related species, Exidia nigricans.

According to the MushroomExpert.com website Exidia glandulosa is commonly encountered in most areas in spring and again in fall, but not infrequently appearing during summer cold spells or winter warm spells and is widely distributed in North America.

What's up in February, 2011?

 

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Copyright ©2010
Hamilton

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Copyright ©2008 Dan Molter
Scientific Name: Fomes fomentarius
Common Names: Tinder Fungus, Hoof Fungus, Tinder Polypore or Ice Man Fungus
Photographers: Dan Moulter & Hamilton
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google

Fomes fomentarius is a species of fungal plant pathogen found in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. The species produces very large fruit bodies which are shaped like a horse's hoof and vary in colour from a silvery grey to almost black, though they are normally brown. It grows on the side of various species of tree which it infects through broken bark, causing rot. The species typically continues to live on trees long after they have died, changing from a parasite to a detritivore.

Though inedible, F. fomentarius has traditionally seen use as the main ingredient of amadou, a material used primarily as tinder, but also used to make clothing and other items. The 5,000-year-old Ötzi the Iceman carried four pieces of F. fomentarius, concluded to be for use as tinder. It also has medicinal and other uses. The species is both a pest and useful in timber production.

What's up in January, 2011?

 

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Copyright ©2010
Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2010 Dan Molter
Scientific Name: Ganoderma applanatum
Common Name: Artist's Fungus
Photographer: Dan Molter
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   
   

Ganoderma applanatum (syn. Boletus applanatus, Fomes applanatus, Fomes vegetus, Ganoderme aplani, Ganoderma lipsiense, Polyporus applanatus, and Polyporus vegetus) is a bracket fungus with a cosmopolitan distribution.

The spore bodies are up to 30-40 cm across, hard, woody-textured, and inedible; they are white at first but soon turn dark red-brown.

It is a wood-decaying fungus, using primarily dead heartwood, but also as a pathogen on live sapwood, particularly on older trees. It is a common cause of decay and death of beech and poplar, and less often of several other tree species, including alder, apple, elm, horse-chestnut, maple, oak, walnut, and willow.

A peculiarity of this fungus lies in its ability to be as a drawing medium for artists. When the surface is rubbed or scratched with a sharp implement, it changes from light to dark brown, producing visible lines and shading.

What's up in December?

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Copyright ©2010 Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Flammulina velutipes
Common Name: Winter Mushroom, Velvet Stem
Photographer: Walt Sturgeon
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   
   
   

Enokitake are long, thin white mushrooms used in Asian cuisine. (see Cuisine of China, Cuisine of Japan, Cuisine of Korea). These mushrooms are cultivars of Flammulina velutipes also called golden needle mushroom. Wild forms differing in color, texture, and sliminess are called winter mushrooms, velvet foot, or velvet stem among other names.

The mushroom is available fresh or canned, the fresh mushroom being preferred. They are traditionally used for soups, but can also be used for salads and other dishes. They have a crisp texture. The mushroom can be refrigerated for about one week. When purchasing fresh enoki, look for specimens with firm, white, shiny caps; avoid those that have slimy or brownish stalks.

What's up in October?

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Copyright ©2010 Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Pleurotus ostreatus
Common Name: Oyster mushroom
Photographer: Walt Sturgeon
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
@Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   
   
   

The Oyster mushroom, or Pleurotus ostreatus, is a common edible mushroom. It was first cultivated in Germany as a subsistence measure during the Great War and is now grown commercially around the world for food. However, the first documented cultivation was by Kaufert There is some question about the name Pleurotus corticatus, but no question that he cultivated an oyster mushroom. It is related to the similarly cultivated "king oyster mushroom". Oyster mushrooms can also be used industrially for mycoremediation purposes. The Oyster mushroom may be considered a medicinal mushroom since it contains statins such as lovastatin which work to reduce cholesterol.

What's up in September?

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Copyright ©2010 Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Grifola frondosa
Common Name: The Hen of the Woods
Photographer: Walt Sturgeon
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
  @Wikipedia.org
Additional Images: @Google
   

Grifola frondosa is a polypore mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of trees, particularly oaks. The mushroom is commonly known among English speakers as Hen-of-the-Woods, Ram's Head and Sheep's Head. In the United States' supplement market, as well as in Asian grocery stores, the mushroom is known by its Japanese name "Maitake", which means "dancing mushroom". G. frondosa should not be confused with Laetiporus sulphureus, another edible bracket fungus that is commonly called chicken of the woods or "sulphur shelf". The fungus becomes inedible like all polypores when they are older, because it is too tough to eat.

The fungus is native to the northeastern part of Japan and North America, and is prized in traditional Chinese and Japanese herbology as a medicinal mushroom, an aid to balance out altered body systems to a normal level. Its taste and texture are enormously appealing, though the mushroom has been alleged to cause allergic reactions in rare cases.

Like the sulphur shelf mushroom, G. frondosa is a perennial fungus that often grows in the same place for a number of years in succession. It occurs most prolifically in the northeastern regions of the United States, but has been found as far west as Idaho.

G. frondosa grows from an underground tuber-like structure, about the size of a potato. The fruiting body, occurring as large as 60 cm, is a cluster consisting of multiple grayish-brown caps which are often curled or spoon-shaped, with wavy margins and 2-7 cm broad. The undersurface of each cap bears approximately one to three pores per millimeter, with the tubes rarely deeper than 3 mm. The milky-white stipe (stalk) has a branchy structure and becomes tough as the mushroom matures.

In Japan, the Maitake can grow to more than 50 pounds (20 kilograms), earning this giant mushroom the title "King of Mushrooms." Maitake is one of the major culinary mushrooms used in Japan, the others being shiitake, shimeji and enoki. They are used in a wide variety of dishes, often being a key ingredient in nabemono or cooked in foil with butter.

What's up in August?

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Copyright ©2010 Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Omphalotus illudens
Common Name: The Jack O'Lantern
Photographer: Walt Sturgeon
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
Additional Images: @Google
   
   

Omphalotus illudens, commonly known as the Jack o'Lantern mushroom, is an orange- to yellow-gill mushroom that to an untrained eye appears similar to some chanterelles, and is most notable for its bioluminescent properties. Unlike the chanterelle, the Jack o'Lantern mushroom is poisonous. While not lethal, consuming this mushroom leads to very severe cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. Complicating its toxicity is the fact that it smells and looks very appealing, to the extent that there are reports of repeat poisonings from individuals who were tempted to try them a second time.

Its bioluminescence is only observable in low light conditions when the eye becomes dark-adapted. The whole mushroom doesn't glow — only the gills do so. This is due to an enzyme, called luciferase, acting upon a compound called luciferin, leading to the emission of light much as fireflies do when glowing.

Unlike the chanterelle, the Jack o'Lantern has true, sharp, non-forking gills; this is possibly the simplest trait for distinguishing between the two.

There is some debate about whether this mushroom and its western companion Omphalotus olivascens are simply North American forms of the European Jack O'Lantern, Omphalotus olearius.

Further Online Information:

Omphalotus olearius at Tom Volk's Fungi
Omphalotus illudens at Roger's Mushrooms
Omphalotus olearius at Roger's Mushrooms
Omphalotus olearius at Fungi of Poland
Omphalotus olivascens at MykoWeb

What's up in July?

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Copyright ©2010 Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Cantharellus lateritius
Common Name: Smooth chanterelle
Photographer: Walt Sturgeon
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Cantharellus lateritius, commonly known as the smooth chanterelle, is a species of edible fungus in the Cantharellaceae family of mushrooms. Their fruit bodies are brightly colored yellow to orange, and usually highly conspicuous against the soil in which they are found. At maturity, the mushroom resembles a filled funnel with the spore-bearing surface along the sloping outer sides. The fertile undersurface (hymenium) of the caps is a distinguishing feature as unlike the golden variety these are nearly smooth. This species is found in North America, Africa, Malayia, and India. The specific name lateritius means "bricklike", and refers to the smooth hymenium.

What's up in May?

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Copyright ©2010 Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Morchella esculenta
Common Name: Yellow Morel
Photographer: Walt Sturgeon
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Morchella esculenta, (commonly known as morel, yellow morel, common morel, true morel, morel mushroom, and sponge morel) is a species of fungus in the Morchellaceae family of the Ascomycota. It is one of the most readily recognized of all the edible mushrooms and highly sought after. Each fruit body begins as a tightly compressed, grayish sponge with lighter ridges, and expands to form a large yellowish sponge with large pits and ridges raised on a large white stem. The pitted yellow-brown caps measure 2–7 cm (0.8–2.8 in) broad by 2–10 cm (0.8–3.9 in) tall, and are fused to the stem at its lower margin, forming a continuous hollow. The pits are rounded and irregularly arranged. The hollow stem is typically 2–9 cm (0.8–3.5 in) long by 2–5 cm (0.8–2.0 in) thick, and white to yellow. The fungus fruits under hardwoods during a short period in the spring, depending on the weather, but it is also associated with old orchards, woods, disturbed grounds and burnt areas.

Habitat and ecology of morels:

Recent studies indicate that morels are sometimes mycorrhizal with elm and apple trees.  Trees commonly associated with morels include ash, sycamore, tulip tree, dead and dying elms, cottonwoods and old apple trees (remnants of orchards). Yellow morels (Morchella esculenta) are more commonly found under deciduous trees rather than conifers, and black morels (Morchella elata) can be found in deciduous forests, oak and poplar. Morels in western North America are often found in coniferous forests, including trees in the genera Pinus, Abies, Larix, and Pseudotsuga, as well as in cottonwood riparian forests.

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Copyright ©2010
Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2009
Dan Molter

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Copyright ©2010
Dan Molter

What's up in April?

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Copyright ©2010 Walt Sturgeon
Scientific Name: Morchella angusticeps
Common Name: Black Morel
Photographer: Walt Sturgeon
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
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Morchella, the true morels, is a genus of edible mushrooms closely related to anatomically simpler cup fungi. These distinctive mushrooms appear honeycomb-like in that the upper portion is composed of a network of ridges with pits between them.  These ascocarps are prized by gourmet cooks, particularly for French cuisine. Commercial value aside, morels are hunted by thousands of people every year simply for their taste and the joy of the hunt. The American state of Minnesota has adopted the morel as its state mushroom.

The Mushroom Expert website describes Morchella angusticeps  is a rare morphological species with the stature of a black morel and the colors of a yellow morel, not documented since Peck's collection (Bulletin of the New York State Museum (1882; 2: 19)).  The site also features a section on Classic Black Morels, and another name for black morels is Morchella elata.

Habitat and ecology of morels:

Recent studies indicate that morels are sometimes mycorrhizal with elm and apple trees.  Trees commonly associated with morels include ash, sycamore, tulip tree, dead and dying elms, cottonwoods and old apple trees (remnants of orchards). Yellow morels (Morchella esculenta) are more commonly found under deciduous trees rather than conifers, and black morels (Morchella elata) can be found in deciduous forests, oak and poplar. Morels in western North America are often found in coniferous forests, including trees in the genera Pinus, Abies, Larix, and Pseudotsuga, as well as in cottonwood riparian forests.

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Copyright ©2009 J.H.

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Copyright ©2002
Darvin DeShazer (darv)

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Copyright ©2009 J.H.

What's up in March?

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Copyright ©2008 lqdtrance
Scientific Name: Sarcoscypha austriaca
Common Name: Scarlet Elfcup
Photographer: Brennen
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Sarcoscypha austriaca is the eastern cousin of Sarcoscypha coccinea.  Macroscopically they appear to be the same, but microscopically they are distinct.  The fruiting body consists of a cup with a smooth scarlet red upper surface which fades with age and a whitish underside with tiny hairs that can be observed with a hand lens.  The cup is broad shaped and can range from 2-5cm in diameter.  The specimen may have a rudimentary stem up to 3cm in length, or it may be absent.

Sarcoscypha austriaca is present in hardwood forests east of the Rocky Mountains whereas Sarcoscypha coccinea is found in the Pacific Northwest.  These saprobic fungi grow on decaying branches in damp spots on forests floor, and their fruit bodies are usually found during cooler months like winter and early spring.

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Copyright ©2008 lqdtrance

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Copyright ©2008 lqdtrance

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Copyright ©2009 Dan Molter

 

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Scientific Name: Hygrocybe appalachiensis
Common Name: Appalachian Waxy Cap
Photographer: Walt Sturgeon
Additional Information: @GoogleBooks
   
   
   

 

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Scientific Name: Laetiporus sulphureus
Common Name: Chicken of the Woods
Photographer: Walt Sturgeon
Additional Information: @MushroomExpert.com
   
   

 

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Scientific Name: Nolanea murraii
Common Name: Yellow Unicorn Entoloma
Photographer: Walt Sturgeon
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