This article was written by guest-author Shane Hanofee is a Botany Technician and Chapter President of Redbud Chapter of the California Native Plant Society based in Grass Valley, CA.
Part 2 – More Sierra Nevada Fungi Finds
What’s Poppin in the Sierras – Fall 2021
Warning: Mushrooms can be toxic when consumed! This is not a guide to edible mushrooms although some mushrooms are edible.
The shaggy mane. Perhaps the most charismatic of the ink caps. Coprinus comatus. But like much beauty, it’s charm is fleeting as it will deliquesce into a gooey-black spore-filled liquid in only a few days. I once tried to make ink from the drippings. I had a real hard time getting the consistency right but I suppose it could work if you don’t mind your ink smelling like putridity. I did try adding peppermint oil to mask the smell but it really just ended up smelling like a candy cane dipped in raw sewage.
Phaeocollybia olivacea with its eye-catching display of stark colorsand interesting textures. The long rooting stipe with reddish colors at the base, deep olive-green cap, brownish gills producing brownish spores. Don’t let the tanoak leaves fool you, it is instead associated with the intermixed conifers whose litter can be seen beneath the broadleaves. That rooting stipe breaks somewhat easily, as I discovered the hard way, and the coloration at the base can be instructive so dig it out carefully. But a break is at least an opportunity to see that the stipe is pithy inside. A lookalike has a hollow stipe.
Leucopaxillus gentianeus. With its size and white colors everywhere except for the well-done pancake cap, it should be easy to recognize. But in case you have any doubt, take a little nibble. It will be strongly bitter and unpleasant!
Ah, the pearl of the forest. Pleurotus pulmonarius here fruiting from alder wood that had fallen across a small creek. I had to be informed this was pulmonarius and was pointed to the warmer colors than the bluish-grays of P. ostreatus. But I suspect more work needs to be done with the complex and things could move around so for now, I’m just rolling with the expert input I recieved.
Sometimes you pull a mushroom out from the base of a rotting tree and it just keeps coming and coming. Like this here Pleurotus dryinus and it’s intensely long stipe. Same genus as the one above but this one has a veil when young. Some small remnants on the stipe are evident of that.