Pear-shaped Puffball

Lycoperdon pyriforme On a hike to the War Spur trail in late September, and then again at Pandapas Pond in late October, I found these mushrooms growing in abundance, on decaying logs. Although the common name of this fungus suggests a pear shape, these can also be round, as seen in the photo gallery below. When they are…

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Hericium erinaceus Just in time for Halloween: Fungi with TEETH! This pure white mushroom is quite the rock star in the fungus world, being both an edible and medicinal fungus.  It grows on recently downed or wounded hardwood trees, which is exactly where I found these! As a mushroom, Lion’s Mane is just a mass of white spines,…

Fly Agaric

Amanita muscaria var. formosa  It is October, and along with yellow leaves and orange pumpkins, there are large, yellowish-orange mushrooms coming up in my yard in Blacksburg! I found four or five of these mushrooms, growing under a group of hemlock trees, and a whole bunch more on my neighbor’s property, coming up under pines. As…

Ravenel’s Stinkhorn

Phallus ravenelii I know this is kind of gross, but I believe in equal opportunity.  So– I found this gray-capped stinkhorn growing in the mulch in my neighbor’s yard in early October.  There were a lot of them growing in the same area, with many lying on the ground “deliquescing” while others were still emerging…

Gem-studded Puffballs

Lycoperdon perlatum This information is taken directly from Wikipedia: “This mushroom, popularly known as the common puffball, warted puffball, gem-studded puffball, or the devil’s snuff-box, is a species of puffball fungus in the family Agaricaceae. A widespread species with a cosmopolitan distribution, it is a medium-sized puffball with a round fruit body tapering to a wide stalk. It is off-white with a top covered in…

Giant Puffballs

Calvatia gigantea Well, it’s officially October!  Where did the summer go?  Weeks have gone by with little rain and fall mushrooms in our area of Virginia have been somewhat scarce lately.  But something tells me that’s about to change!  We’ve had several days of rain earlier this week and now a deluge is predicted for…

Honey Mushrooms

Armillaria Honeys! Here’s another new mushroom for me! There are two honey mushroom species pictured in this gallery—both are parasitic on hardwood trees.  Armillaria mellea has a distinct ring, or annulus on the stipe and a partial veil when new; the gills are attached; the color is typically honey yellow. Armillaria tabescens is ringless; the…

Bradleys

Lactarius volemus The genus name of this mushroom refers to the “milky” latex that quickly flows when the flesh of the mushroom is cut or broken. Locally known in Southwest Virginia as swamps or bradleys, Lactarius volemus is an edible mushroom species. The top of the cap is burnt orange and smooth when young; the rim is…

Conical Waxy Cap

Hygrocybe conica Conical Waxy Cap is also called witch’s hat, and for good reason.  Note the pointed tip on this colorful “waxcap” mushroom that makes it look like a little witches’ hat.  The mushroom cap varies in color from yellow-orange to scarlet red. The gills also vary from white to orange to red. It has…

Coker’s Amanita

Amanita cokeri This very large, poisonous Amanita has white warts on the cap and erupts from a large basal bulb. The gallery below shows two Coker’s Amanita mushrooms before they erupted from the bulb, and then again a few days later.  (The veil is evident on one of the mushrooms.)  The warts on the cap will…

Ornate-stalked Bolete

Boletus ornatipes or Retiboletus ornatipes I love the color of this mushroom! It is mustard yellow! And note the ornate, netted pattern on the stipe (a reticulate stem)!  The ornate-stalked bolete is mycorrhizal on hardwoods, and in fact we found all of these mushrooms in a mixed-oak forest at Pandapas Pond, in Montgomery County, VA…

A Mushroom Foray: August 2012

Pandapas Pond Foray Below is a collection of photos from a mushroom walk that I took with the NRV Mushroom Club.  What a diversity!

Old Man of the Woods

Strobilomyces floccopus Once called the “pinecone mushroom”, this spiky character is certainly an interesting find on a summer’s walk in the woods.  The cap is speckled with black, wooly scales. Old Man of the Woods is a bolete (note the pores on the underside of the cap instead of gills) that is mycorrhizal on hardwoods….

A Mushroom Foray: August 2012

I attended my first “Mushroom Foray” yesterday.  It was held in Waiteville, WV, on a beautiful sunny day, and it was attended by members of the New River Valley Mushroom Club.  Below are some photos of things we found on our 2-hour walk in the woods.  I was astounded by the sheer diversity of mushrooms,…

Spindles, Worms, and Corals: Oh My!

How many shapes can can a mushroom take? Apparently the answer is MANY! The following group of fungi take the form of worms, spindles and corals, and their names reflect the diversity of colors and shapes that are currently unfolding in our local woods. Smokey Worm Corals, Magenta Corals, Beautiful Corals, Orange Spindles…click on any…

The Stinky Squid: A Stinkhorn

Pseudocolus fusiformis Stinkhorns! These foul-smelling fungi are popping up all over in the mulch around my property now that we are in the dog days of summer.  They seem to love the hot and humid weather. Stinkhorns are at once amazing and repulsive. They come up overnight, emerging from a little “egg” sac on the…

Late July Mushrooms

Here are a few unusual mushrooms from a recent walk in the Gateway Trail and Pandapas areas around Blacksburg, Virginia.

Jack O’Lantern Mushroom

Omphalotus illudens No, it is not time for Halloween, but it IS time for bright orange mushrooms to start popping out of the ground to do a little pre-holiday scaring. The Jack O’Lantern Mushroom is pretty distinctive, so you should have little trouble identifying this one.  If a big patch of orange catches your eye…

The Grisette and Tawny Grisette

Amanita vaginata The Grisette is a species in the genus Amanita, a group that contains a number of deadly mushrooms. Unlike most of the other Amanitas, this mushroom lacks a ring on the stem, even though it emerges from a sac-like volva in the ground. Young specimens emerge with an oval cap, which eventually becomes…

The Blusher

Amanita rubescens Here’s a classic mushroom, warts and all. “The Blusher” is a common, colorful mushroom in the genus Amanita that has a prominent ring (and sometimes a full veil) on the stem.  The cap is reddish-brown to yellow-beige and freckled with warts; the stem tends to take on the color of the cap. The…

July Mushroom Foray at Pandapas Pond

So much rain this summer in Southwest Virginia…it is a banner year for fruits and vegetables, and especially for wild mushrooms. Another mushroom foray around the Pandapas Pond area in Montgomery County produced the following fun assortment of wild fungi in our local woods. The best highlight for me was moose antlers ! What we found…

Moose Antlers

Wynnea americana Found July 17th in the Pandapas Pond area of Jefferson National Forest: Moose Antlers! Thanks to John Ford for identifying it right on the spot! From WIKIPEDIA: “Wynnea americana, commonly known as moose antlers or rabbit ears, is a species of fungus in the Sarcoscyphaceae family. This uncommon inedible species is recognizable by…

Shiitake Mushrooms

Although not a Virginia flower, and definitely not a Virginia mushroom, these shiitake mushrooms are something to crow about, so I’m including them on my blog! We inoculated oak logs two years ago in late April, and the following May we had our first mini-harvest.  In early July, we got a second crop, and then…

Black Trumpets

Craterellus cornucopioides Although I’ve heard of edible black trumpet mushrooms before, I was not expecting to find them today. I practically fell over them on my way to pick up a few chanterelles! Once I got a good look at them, I started to find them at just about every spot where I also found…

Mushroom Foray #5

A July 8th mushroom foray with John Ford (can you call a two-person mushroom hunt a “foray”?) resulted in a whole bunch of new species for me.  Here are some of the species we found.  If you can identify some of the “mystery” species, please leave me a comment.  Thanks! Golden-gilled Gerronema And finally, found…

July 4th Mushroom Walk

Here are a few of the interesting fungi I found growing at Pandapas Pond on July 4th.  I know a few of these, but some of them are unidentified. If you know what they are, will you drop me a line?  Thanks! Click on any image in the gallery for a larger view.

Chanterelles in General

Cantharellus If you live here in Southwest Virginia, you’ll know its been raining steadily for most of the summer.  The ground is sopping wet and the streams and rivers are out of their banks. Everyone is getting a little tired of it by now.  But take a walk in the forest and you’ll find some…

Golden Chanterelles

Cantharellus cibarius It’s time to get out in our local forests and maybe find a “pot of gold”: dozens of big, fresh chanterelles crowded into a small patch, yours for the taking. There is not much more to say about this, except “wow, they are mighty fine brushed with olive oil and garlic, and then grilled whole over…

Chicken of the Woods

Laetiporus These orange and yellow mushroom brackets are growing on a dead tree in the woods at Mountain Lake Conservancy in Virginia.  Also called sulphur shelf because of the color, this mushroom does not have gills.  It is a polypore mushroom.  As you can see from the photos, the fungus can produce very large numbers…

Elegant Stinkhorn

Mutinous elegans Now really… elegant stinkhorn?  This is an oxymoron if I ever heard one! The very mention of the word stinkhorn should make you quiver –not make you anticipate something ELEGANT! The best common name I’ve seen for this fungus is probably Devil’s Dipstick.  The structure and color suggest a stick that’s just been…

Devil’s Urn

Urnula craterium I’m not sure about this identification, but these are such neat fungi that I just had to post them. These are cup fungi, or Ascomycetes. This one forms such a perfect cup that it holds water. I found this group in May at Mountain Lake in Giles County, VA.  As you can see,…

Oyster Mushrooms

 I’ve read that you can find oyster mushrooms just about any month of the year in the South.  I’ve now found them on the same dead tree in my yard in November, July, September, and May.  I even found some in early April in another location. So when can you find oyster mushrooms in Virginia?…

Morels

Morels Obviously not a wildflower… but this mushroom character has to be included among my springtime posts because it is such a favorite.  We wait for morel season with great anticipation! So far, our most consistent observation has been that we find morels under dead or dying elm trees and under tulip poplars, but we’ve…