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A Fungus Among Us

>> Sunday, August 29, 2010

I mentioned a while back that I was going to do a post or two on the mushrooms of Maine.  The coastal region of Cobscook Bay in Maine is loaded, and I mean loaded, with mushrooms.  Any fungus fans out there?  If so, I highly recommend a little trip.  They're everywhere, in nearly every shape and color imaginable.

It's taken me a while to get around to doing this post because I'm still working hard to identify all the dratted things I took pictures of.  I am far from a fungus expert!  And while I have two separate field guides here, I'm coming up with nothing for a whole lot of these, and only guesses on a bunch of others.

Bottom line: I love to photograph mushrooms, but I stink at identifying them.  But you know what?  I don't think I appreciate their aesthetics any less when I can't put a name to them.

Anywho, here they are.

Tawny Grisette.  I love these.  I don't know why, but something about the delicate gills on the edges and the little cup around the base that makes them look like they've hatched from an egg:

No idea on this next one.  We found these all over the place and they stank like a rotting corpse, but I haven't come up with an ID.  It doesn't help that I think all the ones we found were somewhat past their prime:

One of the challenges of identifying mushrooms in Maine was slugs.  They swoop in at night and devour a lot of the mushrooms, or else leave them looking like these next few - swiss cheesy, and a bit slimy. Sometimes they'd chew off the gills, other times they'd leave perfect holes right through the mushroom. Sometimes they'd eat off only the identifying features, like the gills.  

Although I for some reason didn't take any pictures of slug covered mushrooms this year, this is a shot of the phenomenon from last year (sorry for the poor quality... the old point and shoot left much to be desired):

Honestly, those slimy piles of half-digested fungus made me a bit queasy to examine.  And there is little worse than scrambling up a steep trail and accidentally sticking your hand smack into one.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to get that much slug slime off your hand in the middle of the woods?  Even with soap and running water it would be a challenge.  But I digress.

No idea on this next one.  The only thing I found in the book like it only grows in the Pacific Northwest, but you can see the lovely holes:
Mmm.  Slug slime trails.
I love the perfect hole through the stem of this one.  My best guess is an Emetic Russula, but it was a little early in the year for one, so I'm not certain.  As you can see, it was in a boggy, sphagnum mossy area.

The Russulas in general were popular snacks.  Nearly every one we found had been chewed:

I have no idea what this thing is.  It looks like pizza crust after the slugs got done with it.

This is some kind of Bolete, and I'm guessing King Bolete:

Another Bolete:

There were lots of Yellow Patches around.  I happen to find these particularly appealing, for some reason.  Partly I think it's the bright color.

I love this one that looks like a pancake, but haven't a clue what it is.  I forgot to take notes on what its underside looked like, and therefore can't begin to identify it.  But you can see how big it is compared with my size 8 sneaker.

Non-inky Coprinus, perhaps?  I love how delicate its little ridges are:

I am kind of reaching on this one.  Perhaps Bracelet Cort?  I've got four shots of what I think are all the same variety, or at least related varieties:

A couple of shots of Common Laccaria:

Perhaps a Sphagnum-bog Galerina?

Don't know, but it's cute anyway:

Yellow--orange Fly Argaric:

And the rest of these I've given up on trying to identify.  I'll include them here anyway, just because I found them appealing.  Perhaps some of my faithful readers will have suggestions on a few.

This one looked like dark brown velvet:


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