Autumn Mushrooms, Oddities & Flowers

pink

I’m recovering… enough to enjoy wandering around the yard and the surrounding woods a bit.

fall bloomersI apologize to all whose comments on my last post I didn’t answer.  Instead of trying to play catchup, just know that I appreciate you and will do better from now on.  🙂

We are debating on whether to get the Casita’s furnace fixed this month, or to try to find some inexpensive camping before really cool weather sets in.  With the federal campgrounds closed, I found several Georgia county campgrounds with water and electric that charge under $20 per night.  The state parks are simply too expensive for us as we like to stay for several days at a time.fall bloomers2

Some of the county parks look nice, although it’s hard to find reviews on them.  Others just don’t look that appealing.   And sitting outside on chilly nights breathing campfire smoke might not be the best thing for me right now.

Maybe I’ll just get the furnace fixed and we’ll head to Florida later — IF the national forest campgrounds open up.

Interesting mushroom. Note the reticulated stalk

[This is where I edited out a biting comment on the government shutdown political shenanigans.]  😀

Our yard has mushrooms everywhere!  Some edible, some sickeners.  But after our drought last year, I am happy to see them all.  The variety is astounding.  I am only posting a small sample of the photos I took.

I was unable to get a spore print on this mushroom because it has a white parasitic fungus on the pore surface.  It doesn't seem to bother the little guy who is eating it.

I was unable to get a spore print on this mushroom because it has a white parasitic fungus on the pore surface. It doesn’t seem to bother the little guy who is eating it.

Edible penny-bun type bolete

Edible penny-bun type bolete

And another!

And another!

I removed the pore layer because it was a little past its prime.  The pores were actually olive green but they show up brown in this photo.

I removed the pore layer because it was a little past its prime. The pores were actually olive green but they show up brown in this photo.

I’m not sure what this is. At first I thought it might be wild quinine, but neither the flowers nor leaves are a match. On edit: it might be eupatorium serotinum aka boneset or late thoroughwort.

lichen

lichen

Edible suilli

Edible suilli

Poisonous pokeweed berries

Poisonous pokeweed berries

Such a pretty face

Such a pretty face

Another suillus

Another suillus

Soggy ground

Soggy ground

Goldenrod

Goldenrod

Red russulas (sickeners) growing by Casita tire.  More are growing under the Casita.

Red russulas (sickeners) growing by Casita tire. More are growing under the Casita.

Hen of the Woods (Maitake) “Bacon”

Hen of the woods mushroom "bacon"

Hen of the Woods "bacon"

I’ve been working dried maitake mushrooms into our menu lately for their awesome medicinal properties.

I reconstitute them for 20 minutes in warm water, then use the tough stalks to make broth, and the more tender tips in other recipes.

The broth is great for cooking brown rice in and for making gravy.  The mushroom itself can be a little chewy, so I cut it in thin strips before cooking.

hen of the woods mushroom broth

Maitake mushroom broth

The other day I wanted something different, so I cut the caps into small strips, then fried them until crisp, sprinkled them with salt, and drained them well on paper towels.  They were very savory — intensely flavored — and would work wherever you would normally use bacon crumbles — over scrambled eggs, in salads, and my favorite–sprinkled over mashed potatoes and maitake gravy!  They are superb, and addictive!

I did one batch in virgin olive oil with a little butter, and other batch in peanut oil with a little butter.  The peanut oil batch was definitely the best!

bolete

Here's the bolete in my earlier post in its mature stage. Inset is when it was younger.

Here’s an update on the bolete I wrote about in my last post.  I found a fully mature version near where the others grew.  The cap has changed to brown.  The only way you can tell it is the same mushroom is by the stalk and the yellow pores.

The interior of the mature mushroom — stalks and cap — were riddled with bugs, though.  I will spare you a photo of the gory details.

I normally stick to chanterelles and boletes, and avoid gilled mushrooms except for a handful of distinctive ones that I know are safe.  There are so many dangerous ones that it’s not worth taking the chance on misidentifying one.  But I thought I really ought to branch out and start trying to learn more about them.

So I photographed these mushrooms in several stages of growth.  They had white spore prints.  I believe they are in the Amanita family — a family that has many fatally poisonous members.

amanitas

Amanita family mushrooms

Our weather is predicted to be in the 90’s for the next two weeks, at least.  So I won’t be out doing  much mushroom hunting until it cools down a little.

P.S. David Fischer has identified these mushrooms for me as Amanita “close to A. rubescens,” as far as he could determine from my small photos.

A New Bolete

Bolete with heavily reticulated white stalk

Bolete with heavily indented white stalk (not true reticulation)

The first picture is a little fuzzy due to condensation on the lens.  Coming from an air conditioned house into 90+ degree muggy temperatures will do that.  🙂

The lemon yellow pore surface and the creamy white heavily indented stalk stumped me.  I went through all my books and spent a couple of days on the net looking at mushroom photos, and I couldn’t find a match.

The velvety cap is 2-1/2″ wide.

Reddish, velvety cap

Reddish, velvety cap which turned true brown after I brought it inside.

The pore surface is bright lemon yellow.  It has a white reticulated stalk (although I am not certain that those indentations qualify as reticulation.)  I found it under pine trees.  The spore print is olive brown.  The white cap flesh darkened over several hours to tan.  There was no hint of bluing anywhere.  The reddish color disappeared from the cap after a while indoors, becoming a true brown.

And, finally, a drop of ammonia on the cap flashed a vivid blue green.

What I’ve been able to deduce so far is that it is definitely not poisonous because it is a bolete, it does not have red or orange pores, and there is no trace of blue bruising.  The cap flesh has a mild taste, so it is not bitter as some boletes are.  So it is safe to eat.

[NOTE:  Some orange capped Leccinum are poisonous.  (A Leccinum is also a bolete.)  If you cannot confidently identify a Leccinum, then you should also avoid all orange capped boletes.]

bright yellow pore surface

Bright yellow pore surface

It is in the mid nineties this week with little chance of rain, so I may not see any more mushrooms for a while.

We have been having the most beautiful summer sunsets lately.  It’s a real treat for us because we are so surrounded by trees that we seldom see the actual sunset.  But sometimes, as in this case, we get the gorgeous colors reflected in the clouds over us.

 

no blue staining

Not a hint of blue bruising anywhere

buttons

Young button caps

spore print

Olive brown spore print

sunset clouds

Pink sunset clouds

The Boletes are Coming

two small boletes with parasitic mold

Two small boletes already showing signs of parasitic mold

These are the first boletes that appear in my yard each summer.  The bad news is that they are always immediately parasitized by a mold that I have tentatively identified as Hypomyces chrysospermus.

The mold starts on the bottom on the pore surface around the stalk, then spreads until the mushroom is completely disfigured.  And it is poisonous.

The good news is that the delectable boletes are on the way.  And the parasitic mold doesn’t affect the other ones.

a larger parasitized bolete

A larger parasitized bolete

I also have seen small puffballs in the yard the past week or so.  David Fischer, in his book Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America, says that many of the small puffballs are edible.  But the ones with tough rinds (that you can’t cut easily with your fingernail) are poisonous.  These little puffballs have a leathery, tough rind, so even though they are perfectly white in the middle, I leave them alone.

[Edited:  I have since identified these puffballs as Lycoperdon Marginatum.]

If you have the slightest interest in learning about wild edible mushrooms, I would strongly recommend that you get Fischer’s book.  I have a small library of mushroom books, but Dave Fischer’s is the only one that gives a set of identification keys that completely rule out poisonous lookalikes — IF you conscientiously follow them.

closeup of mold

Closeup of mold

I am really excited that the bolete season is finally underway.  I hope to have a lot of mushroom photos to share with you before too long!

discolored bolete flesh from Hypomyces chrysospermus

Cross section of parasitized bolete

tough rinded little puffballs

Small, leathery skinned puffballs.

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