Posted by: Anne Murray | October 8, 2010

A great time for fungi

Fly Amanita - Amanita Muscaria - under birch trees in Ladner

They pop up mysteriously in the night. Even kilometres apart, tangled underground mycelial threads push up their fruiting bodies at the same moment, surprising us with clumps of scarlet toadstools, rings of honey brown mushrooms, and pliable fingers of fungi poking from the ground.  Some are edible but many are not, and some are highly poisonous, like the Fly Amanita above. I was interested to see how many different kinds could be found.

Here are a few that I saw last weekend on the BC Naturalists’ Fall General Meeting walks around Langley:

Carbon Antlers on a well-rotted log on the ground

Bleeding Mycena - Mycena haematopus - on a fallen, mossy log

Pink Coral Mushroom sp. - Ramaria formosa complex

I consulted Duane Sept’s book, Common Mushrooms of the Northwest. He says that this species group is poisonous and there are several look-alike species.

Sulphur Tuft - Hypholoma fasciculare - on decaying stumps

Sulphur Tuft is another poisonous and common mushroom that grows in big clumps.
Fungi can look different when they are freshly emerged and when they have been up for a few days and the caps have opened. The Bristly Pholiota below illustrate the contrast between young and mature fruiting bodies.

Young Bristly Pholiota - Pholiota squarrosoides

Mature Bristly Pholiota - Pholiota squarrosoides

Wood Woollyfoot - Collybia peronata - a common fungus of the woodland floor

We also found: Fircone Cap, Strobilurus trullisatus, a small white fungus that grows on Douglas-fir cones, Pacific Yellow Chanterelle, Cantharellus formosus, Pear-shaped Puffball, Lycoperdon pyriforme, Questionable Stropharia, Stropharia ambigua, and various bracket fungi on rotten wood, including Tinder Polypore, Fomes fomentarius, Turkey Tails, Trametes versicolor, and Red-belted Polypore, Fomitopsis pinicola.

An opportunity to learn more about fungi: Sunday October 24 is the Vancouver Mycological Society’s annual Mushroom Show at Vandusen Botanical Gardens.

Anne Murray

Nature Guides BC

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