To see these cheery mushrooms poking up after our autumn rains always makes me smile. We have a spot on our property where they appear in great numbers. Here is how Fly Amanitas, Amanita muscaria, look with they first appear.
Then they open up and reveal their true selves.
Here is one with a "baby" underneath.
Our golden retriever, Sunny, does his best not to step on them as he heads down into the forest.
These mushrooms have hallucinogenic qualities. It's possible to parboil the toxins out, I've been told by mushroom expert David Arora. I prefer just to watch them evolve. They make me happy to look at them!
Craig Tooley and Amy Ruegg trained their cameras on a strange-looking black fungus, which turned out to be Velvety Black Earth Tongue, Trichoglossum hirsutum.
Amy Ruegg photographed several Earth Tongues.
In David Arora's book "Mushrooms Demystified," he states that they are common in our area, which doesn't explain why I've never spotted one. He does go on to say they are hard to spot, making me feel a little better. Possibly edible, but Arora says they are much too tough to eat. The velvety texture, Arora writes, comes from hundreds of minute hairs.
Thanks to Craig and Amy for allowing me to share their photos with you here. To see much more of Craig's wildlife photography, here is his website: www.ruffimage.com
Ron Champoux found several Death Caps, Amanita phalloides, growing on The Sea Ranch. They are big, beautiful, and quite deadly if consumed.
Ron's smiling, but he knows not to eat it! I used to be afraid to touch one of the deadly three mushrooms, but at a mushroom forage with David Arora, I saw him handle a Death Cap without a care in the world. So Ron isn't putting himself in harm's way by handling this Death Cap. Still, I'd wash my hands thoroughly to be on the safe side.
We have rain coming in tonight, after a string of six days without the wet stuff. And you know what rain brings - mushrooms, and hopefully they will be the edible kind.
Thanks to Ron for allowing me to share his photo with you here.
I keep looking for this wonderful edible mushroom year after year, but I've never found one. Alex Kun hit the jackpot when he found this bounty of Boletus appendiculatus, Butter Boletes.
UPDATE: David Arora let me know that this mushroom's scientific name has been changed. It's now classified as Butyriboletus persolidus. To read more about these mushrooms, here is a link to Arora's article titled "Clarifying the Butter Boletes" - http://davidarora.com/uploads/Clarifying_the_Butter_Boletes.pdf
Alex wrote, "Behold the elusive and relatively rare Boletus appendiculatus. More specifically, a beauteous bounty of bulbous Butter boletes. Everything goes better with butter!”
These boletes are found in the early autumn under hardwoods like Tan-oak. All Alex would say is he found them south of Gualala within one mile of the Mendonoma Coast. Lucky guy!
Rick and I found this beautiful, big Queen Bolete late yesterday [the cap is darker than it looks in the photo - it's quite dark brown], Coccoras are nearly everywhere, and more Matsutakes are peeking up under the duff. What a great mushroom year we are having!
Thanks to Alex for allowing me to share his photos with you here.
That's the title of David Arora's pocket field guide to mushrooms. And as he lives on the Mendonoma coast, pretty much all foragers here have this guide. Here are some mushrooms that have recently arrived on our property in Anchor Bay.
First I was happy to find a couple of Queen Boletes a few days ago. They have a darker cap than the Kings, and their stem isn't as fat. They are delicious. When I trim them and remove the sponge underneath the cap, I gather up the trimmings and scatter them outside in suitable habitat - yes, I'm hoping for more!
Also fruiting in abundance now is the edible amanita, Coccora. These mushrooms have a deadly lookalike, so you must be extremely careful with your identification. They are nicknamed "Creamy Tops," as one of their characteristics is a cottony-like white top. You can scrape it off with your finger.
The Fly Amanitas are also up in abundant numbers. I love watching these mushrooms evolve as they grow. Arora will tell you they are edible if you parboil them twice, throwing out the water between boiling. I find them in sunny spots here.
In this basket I also have Matsutakes. They are so distinctive, with their cinnamon smell. They grow in sandy soil.
The wonderful rains have brought back mushrooms after five sub-par years. For the many critters in the forest that feast on them, including we two-legged critters, we rejoice in their return.
David Arora has a mushroom event coming up soon. To learn more, here is his website: http://www.davidarora.com/events.html