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Mushroom of the Month (MOM)

Learn a new mushroom or just refresh your memory! The M.O.M. page is a good source for background intel on mushrooms you may encounter in your wanderings.

Past Mushrooms of the Month

A Bolete by Any Other Name... (by )

Mushroom of the Month: June, 2016

As many of you know the mushroom world has been going through a lot of changes in recent years with the onset of genetic sequencing. One of the main impacts of this has been the renaming or reclassification of not only singular mushrooms, but in some instances whole genera (heck, Suillus got its own family!). It sometimes seems that just about every mushroom we see in our local woods now has a new name or spot in the myco tree of life. And one of our most prized groups of local mushrooms, the boletes, is no exception. With the recent publishing of scientific papers some of their names have changed as well. So let’s dive in at the first official wave of name changes to impact our beloved Boletus.

Sorry, it's a Suillus (by )

Mushroom of the Month: May, 2016

Suillus luteus One of the most common remarks I get from eager beginners in the fall and winter is, "look at all these Boletes!" Excited that they have just hit the mother load of culinary excellence, I remark (as many before me), "sorry… it's a Suillus". As what a Suillus is and why it is not on par with a "true" Bolete is explained, you can see the disappointment set in. Just one of those mushroom "rights of passage" we all have to go through. You spend an hour in the woods collecting what you think is going to be the meal of the year, only to find out you have the culinary equivalent of a wet sponge, and a maggot riddled one at that! With a little time and experience however Suillus is one of our easier local fungi to ID at the genus level simply by sight.

Hygrocybe laetissima (Waxy Caps) (by Noah Siegel)

Mushroom of the Month: March, 2016

Hygrocybe laetissima 
 
As deep winter settles on the Redwood Coast, you’ll begin to notice many small red, orange and yellow Waxy Caps (Hygrocybe)sprinkled through the understory of redwood forests; beacons of color in the dark duff. California enjoys a great diversity of Waxy Caps, many of which have special affinity for Coast Redwood, California Bay-laurel and Monterey Cypress habitats. Unfortunately, we are using 'borrowed' European names for many of these lovely waxy caps, and as we continue to learn about our mycoflora, we are realizing that many of our species are distinct, and deserving of their own names.  

Wavy Caps (Psilocybe cyanescens) (by Christian Schwarz)

Mushroom of the Month: February, 2016

The specimens in this photo show somewhat faded specimens. Note the wavy caps and blue stains on the stipe. Spore deposit is dark purplish-gray to very dark reddish-brown.

 

Psilocybe is primary genus of hallucinogenic mushrooms, containing such famous species as Liberty Caps (P. semilanceata), Cubes (P. cubensis), and the topic of this month’s article, Wavy Caps (P. cyanescens).

Almost always encountered on woodchips, Psilocybe cyanescens is an aggressive ruderal species, fond of disturbance in urban areas. It is especially common in the cold, wet winter months around the San Francisco Bay. Through a combinatin of unintentional and intentional transplantation by humans and natural dispersal, it has spread widely throughout the United States. In California, it occurs at least as far south as San Diego County, although it is fairly rare south of Santa Cruz County.

Honeys - Armillaria mellea (by Mark Benson)

Mushroom of the Month: January, 2016

(Reposted from posting on google groups with photos courtesy of Hugh Smith)

How about all this rain! 

Those were a beautiful display of Honey Mushrooms, Hugh!  Tight and turgid and just the right time to harvest.

Seeing them prompted me to write a few lines about Honeys not from any formal knowledge...but from my work experience and from 'experts' with whom I consulted for my clients in my work with trees.  I hope it is helpful to some of you.  I am not a scientist...just an observer.

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