Big laughing gym at Seal Bay

From an email by Jocie to the Botany Group on October 24.

There are some spectacular displays of “big laughing gym”, also known as “western jumbo gym” (Gymnopilus ventricosus) at Seal Bay Park. You can find it about 3/4 of the way down the main beach trail (on the right) that descends down the ravine. Just before the beach, fork to the right and just past the little bridge (just before the beach) there are several more clumps on the left.

The common name comes from the hallucinogenic properties that some other members of this genus have. However, Gymnopilus ventricosus is actually not psychoactive.

This shroom grows in bright yellow clusters on rotting logs, snags and stumps. Older specimens have a distinctive ring.

[Click a photo to enlarge it.]

Posted in Botany | Comments Off on Big laughing gym at Seal Bay

Lobsters and corals

From an email by Jocie to the Botany Group on October 23.

Lobsters & corals bring to mind sea creatures, but these are actually just strange, exotic-looking fungi!

My Mom, Betty, and I were having a great time looking at shrooms in the Buttle Lake area last weekend, and happened upon a patch of lobsters, all with their own unique character (see photos #1-4). The bright salmon-colour is quite a knockout!

[Click a photo to enlarge it.]

Note that the lobster is a combination of  two fungus species: Hypomyces lactifluorum, which is a parasite that forms an orange crust on Russula brevipes (a rather boring looking white shroom). Young lobsters are considered a good edible.

In the same area there was an array of colourful corals (photos #5-8), including one that formed a large mass (last photo). 

Posted in Botany | Comments Off on Lobsters and corals

Greens, blues and purples (Alison’s fungi notes, part 3)

Note by Alison M. to the Botany Group, distributed by Jocie on October 20.

Notes on shades of green, blue and purple in gilled mushrooms

Still in the category of gilled shrooms, shades of greens and blues are not commonly found in the world of fungi and are often fast fading. [Click a photo to enlarge it.]

A couple of examples have appeared in the past month, one up in Paradise Meadows:  Clitocybe odora var. pacifica – blue-green anise clitocybe (photo  #1)  and the other down in the valley on Tsolum River Road:  Stropharia aeruginosa – no common name (#2–#4).  The former, as its name suggests, is recognisable by  its anise-like odour as well as by the blue-green tinge. This Stropharia ends up looking very much like the common Stropharia ambigua with a yellowish cap, as well as the distinctive cottony remnants of its veil around the rim of the cap and on the stipe, and its purple/charcoal spore. It is only in the semi-opened shroom that the blue-green is visible.

Another green-capped fungus is the elusive Hygrocybe psittacina – parrot mushroom (#5), which I have found once in the past 10 years, near the confluence of the Browns and Puntledge Rivers.  It lost its brilliant green within a day. 

(5) Hygrocybe psittacina

Deeper blues include Arrhenia chlorocyanea (#6 ) from Kin Beach a few years ago, and Polyozellus multiplex – blue chanterelle (#7), which we found in late June on the Elk River Trail. It can be closer to black than blue, depending on age.

Popping up at the moment on the purple end of the spectrum is Laccaria amethysto-occidentalis (#8), which appears without fail on the edge of our field. 

(8) Laccaria amethysto-occidentalis

There are many members of the genus Cortinarius that have lilac or purple caps, or lilac stipe and gills with a beige cap (#9 & #10), the latter showing the typical cortina or cobweb-like remnants of the veil, from which the genus gets its name, and the typical cinnamon brown of the spores.

Finally the deep purple Cortinarius violaceus violet cort, stands out stunningly against the green leaves of the Luetkea pectinata – partridgefoot (#11 and #12). And #12 shows the artistic endeavours of a red squirrel.

All these examples come from the subalpine.

Posted in Botany | Comments Off on Greens, blues and purples (Alison’s fungi notes, part 3)

Coral fungi

From an email by Jocie to the Botany Group on October 17.

There are many coral fungi fruiting just now…this is a strangely beautiful group of fungi, often arising mysteriously from the forest duff. Amazing!

Corals, often in the genera Ramaria or Clavulina, are characterized by being highly branched, with tips that point upward.

According to one of my books, “identifying coral fungi can be a truly difficult endeavour.” With that in mind, thus far I’ve just been looking at and admiring the forms and colouration of the corals, without many attempts at identification (note that any identifications here are questionable, because I’m really not sure of the ID, and don’t have the time to fully investigate!)

Here are a few from my collection so far [click photo to enlarge]. If any of you have seen corals on your walks, send your photos to add. If you are sure of the identification of any of these, let me know!

  1. This subalpine coral is from the Lake Helen Mackenzie area in Strathcona Park. It could be the upright coral Ramaria stricta.
  1. A bright pink coral from Miracle Beach Park (from last fall), could be the neon pink coral Ramaria araiospora var. rubella.
  1. A pale pink coral with yellow tips. It might be the yellow-tipped coral Ramaria formosa.
  1. A light grey, twisting coral, from the Cumberland forest.
  1. A pale yellow coral, also from Cumberland forest.
  1. An elegant whitish coral, might be another example of the upright coral Ramaria stricta.
Posted in Botany | Comments Off on Coral fungi