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WET LEAVES

23 Oct

When I was last at the cottage, I spent a few hours walking the property bent over, scanning the ground for mushrooms.  I began to see wonderful colors and patterns and textures in the wet leaves coating the forest floor.  I took a bunch of snaps, here are some of them.  I would have done dry leaves too…if it had ever stopped raining.

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THE BLEWIT

21 Oct

I love this mushroom, everything about it is special.  The color is not ostentatious but it is startling all the same – you don’t often see to much purple in nature. 

BLEWIT - LEPISTA NUDA 3When the blewit is young and fresh it has this lovely purple/mauve color, soon turning to a light tan or flesh tone as it ages.  I like the size too – the blewit is s nice substantial mushroom, easy to spot. 

BLEWIT - LEPISTA NUDA

“The ubiquitous blewit is the quintessential embodiment of spunk and persistence – cut one down and two will grow back!  Decapitated stems will often continue to grow as if nothing had happened – a new cap will not form, and a grotesque (but edible) cancerous looking pale purple growth will take its place.”

~David Arora from “Mushrooms Demystified”

The blewit is supposed to be quite tasty.  I think I’ll try the next one I see that looks new and fresh… do I dare?  Eating a purple mushroom might be an experience…

More mushroom madness in New Brunswick

23 Sep

Andrea and I found such a riot of mushrooms while tromping through the woods at her cottage that I may be posting about them till spring!  I spent some time tonight trying to identify a few more of the many mushrooms we photographed.  Surprisingly, some of the hardest to identify are some of the most distinctive.  Do you have any idea how many little orange mushrooms there are out there?

Here is my latest stab at identifications:

poss KING BOLETE - BOLETUS EDULIS

KING BOLETE – BOLETUS EDULIS

poss KING BOLETE - BOLETUS EDULIS 3

I’m not completely sure of this one, but if it is the king, it is supposed to be yummy. 


YELLOW PATCHES - AMANITA FLAVOCONIA

YELLOW PATCHES – AMANITA FLAVOCONIA

YELLOW PATCHES - AMANITA FLAVOCONIA -side


ORANGE GILL WAXYCAP - HYGROCYBE MARGINATA

ORANGE GILL WAXYCAP – HYGROCYBE MARGINATA

ORANGE GILL WAXYCAP - HYGROCYBE MARGINATA 2


DEAD MANS FINGERS - XYLARIA POLYMORPHA

DEAD MANS FINGERS – XYLARIA POLYMORPHA

Don’t you just love some of the common names?


TURKEY TAIL - TRAMETES VERSICOLOR 2


LACTARIUS PIPERATUS

LACTARIUS PIPERATUS

LACTARIUS PIPERATUS 2


poss RAMARIOPSIS LAETICOLOR

RAMARIOPSIS LAETICOLOR

poss RAMARIOPSIS LAETICOLOR (2)

I have found that once you get interested in hunting and identifying something in nature, be it mushrooms or trees or wildflowers, you begin to see things that you never noticed before.  A whole new world opens up and your senses become heightened.  A simple walk through the woods becomes much more interesting and even exciting – when you find something new and different.

I have lots more mushrooms from New Brunswick, but I’ll save them for another post.

A dearth of fungus

21 Sep

Bad timing.  I was all hyped up about mushroom hunting here at the cottage after the wild abundance at Andrea’s cottage.  The end of a hot, dry summer is really not a good time for mushrooms.  I have had to look high and low to find any fungus at all – a bit of a letdown after tripping over them with every step in New Brunswick.  I did manage to record a few finds on this trip and I am posting the photos now, even though I haven’t identified them yet.

BUT – on the subject of mushroom identification, I’ve just picked up a great book that may help speed up my identifications.  Highly recommended by me – it covers your area too Andrea…

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But I digress… here are the only finds from the cottage this week – ->

cottage fall 2011 -112cottage fall 2011 -111cottage fall 2011 -106

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Above and below is one of my favourites because they are so vibrant and changeable – the POLYPOUR VERSICOLOR.

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The fungus pictured below are HUGE!  I can’t wait to find out what they are…

cottage fall 2011 -100-3

cottage fall 2011 -101-3cottage fall 2011 -102-3

September 16 – The Mighty Naturalist ain’t so smart

29 Sep

Being an armchair naturalist actually takes some work and study – the more you learn, the more need to learn.  I am now in the position of knowing how much I don’t know.  I assumed that since they were all so distinctive, mosses, mushrooms , lichens and fungus would be easy-peasy to identify.  Ho-ho-ho – apparently nothing is easy in the world of identification.  After a session with mum and I both looking through a foot-high stack of nature guides on plants, mushrooms, wetland plants, amphibians and others, we managed to identify the grey frog and brown cockroach (see previous post) as well as the following;

cortinarius cinnamomeus for blog 

polyporus versacolor for blogfalse pixie cup for blog

I really love the false pixie cup – here is a closer look at some.  It is a bit dryer that the selection above so it looks slightly different – fascinating though…no?

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Not much identified – at this rate I’ll have to work all winter on this!

September 15 – Fungus, mmm

26 Sep

Did you know … that there are BILLIONS of spores in a single mushroom and spores can remain dormant for up to 20 years.

Did a bit of washing and gathering of kindling in preparation for rain tomorrow…hard rain…all day.

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It sounds like a day spend under a big woolly blanket  going through several hundred photos taken of trees, plants, mosses, and other species and doing some serious identification.  A day inside will give me the quiet time needed to start organizing some of the main components of the Managed Forest Plan.

In advance of any rain, I made a quick trip to the glade to catalogue some fungi.

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mlf-25mlf-81These stunning fungi are growing in great profusion in the glade on the carcases of some large hardwood trees lying on the forest floor.  The colors change drastically, depending on how wet the fungus is.  The next time I saw this one it had rained and the fungus looked drab and greyish with only a hint of the blue-green you see here.

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OK, here’s a question for you – is this one a lichen or a fungus?mlf-43

Since these pictures are only a fraction of what I have, it looks like I have a lot of work to do with the Mushrooms of North America guide.

By afternoon, Mum and Tim arrived and the rain has not come!

Lichens

24 Sep

Structurally, lichens are among the most bizarre of all forms of life. That’s because every lichen species is actually composed of two, possibly even three,  distinct species of  organisms. One species is a kind of fungus. Usually the other  species is an algae, but sometimes it can be a photosynthesizing bacterium known as a cyanobacterium. Sometimes all three organisms are found in one lichen. 

In this amazing association the fungus benefits from the algae because fungi, having no chlorophyll, can’t photosynthesize their own food. A lichen’s fungal part is thus “fed” by its photosynthesizing algal part. The algae benefit from the association because the fungus is better able to find, soak up, and retain water and nutrients than the algae. Also, the fungus gives the resulting lichen shape, and provides the reproductive structures.  Very cool!

Our property has a number of areas that are resplendent with lichen.  The best lichen spots are the areas with large areas of rock.  Here are just a few examples;

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Think these are lovely?  Just wait until you see the fungus!