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!
Fly Amanitas, Amanita muscaria, have been known as symbols of good luck. Craig Tooley recently photographed one of these distinctive mushrooms.
Judy Woudenberg also captured a photo of one. They change size rather dramatically as they age. Judy's is younger than Craig's.
Not edible unless parboiled several times to flush away the toxins. I just enjoy seeing them in sunny meadows, flaunting their bold beauty as I walk by.
Thanks to Craig and Judy for allowing me to share their photos with you here. To see much more of Craig's nature photography, here is his website: www.ruffimage.com
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
Christmas morning dawned cold, yet exquisitely beautiful. This mushroom, the Fly Amanita, has been featured in holiday cards and thought to bring good luck. They are abundant now and so lovely to see and photograph. Mel Smith got this lovely photo.
Thanks to Mel for allowing me to share his photo with you here.
What a season we are having this year with wild mushrooms. Hedgehog mushrooms, one of my favorites, are up in abundance, as are Winter Chanterelles and Black Trumpets. One of the most distinctive mushrooms is the Fly Amanita. Jim Garlock recently photographed one.
Rick and I went on a mushroom hunt last week, looking for edibles, of course. We found a treasure trove of Matsutakes! Also found was a Shaggy Man, Candy Caps, Black Trumpets and Hedgehogs.
Finding edible mushrooms in the forest is like finding treasure - a gift from Mother Nature.
Thanks to Jim for allowing me to share his photo with you here.