10 January 2010

Mushroom Hunting

We went out mushroom hunting in the Santa Cruz mountains this afternoon. My first trip. Wowza. We saw about a dozen different kinds of mushrooms. I think I can now identify the various features that one uses to figure out what kind of a mushroom (genus if not species) one has.

A lovely white three-inch cap mushroom with a veil forming a skirt we decided was either a death cap, destroying angel, or something sufficiently similar we would treat it as such. I'm not convinced I can reliably pick the vulva of a mushroom in order to tell whether or not it has one.

We took home two beautiful orange California Chantrelles.

We also took two large Milk Caps (Lactarius Argillaceifolius var. Megacarpus).

I was able to identify one mushroom as some sort of Russola, but a reasonable estimate as to species eluded me.

Numerous red mushrooms with green stalks abounded. We tentatively identified these as Witches Hats.

One black, wrinkled, ball shaped fungus was pointed out to me as a false morel.

As we emerged from the oak trees into a small meadow, we encountered a flock of fungi I would have thought were Dung Bells had there been any dung around.

There were a pair of clumps of some slimy white fungus I'll have to identify on a future trip.

And there were numerous brown-gilled fungi that I didn't study long enough to decide how many species were involved.

And this list doesn't count a few fungi growing from dead oak branches that we mostly ignored.

All in all a successful first mushroom hunt. I'm looking forward to the next trip to identify more species and greet old friends.


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