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…

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!

Destroying Angel

 Amanita bisporigera  One of many poisonous mushrooms in the genus Amanita, the destroying angel is probably the most poisonous of all.  It appears in summer, first as a white “egg” that will form the base.  As the mushroom grows, the cap appears conical. When the cap eventually opens, the surface of the cap is smooth…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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, this mushroom character has to be included in my springtime blog 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, although we’ve found them growing in the…