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Mycofest 2023

Good evening, friends,


Whoa, what a weekend at Mycofest. This year the festival was at Rhoneymeade Arboretum in Centre Hall, PA. What made this rendition especially neat was it was at the residence of a friend I made during my first Mycofest in 2021. Thanks for hosting, Cam. Perennially one of my favorite weekends of the year, it’s always inspiring to share passions and ideas with friends that feel like family and meet some new ones along the way.


Now instead of sitting with and integrating all of these good vibrations, I violently descended back into reality as I fought through rain and traffic to drop Ciara off at Newark Liberty International Airport this morning (both ways, rain and traffic both ways as I was quick to remind her). I followed that up by forgetting the gate code to get into work this morning. A five digit code I’ve been typing in multiple times a day for a year and a half, just gone.*


All this to say my brain is mush(room). So today we’re going to do a picture recap of all the fascinating finds from the weekend - many of which were a first for me. Just pictures, no citations. Playing the hits, if you will. We’ll start with my favorite fungal find, the White Saddle (Helvella crispa):


Helvella crispa
Look at that ornately reticulated stipe

Nearby I found another ascomycete from the same genus, Helvella macropus or the “Long-stalked Gray Cup”:


Helvella macropus
Notice the white fuzz on the stipes (stems). That’s actually a parasitic fungus, Hypomyces cervinigenus, that only infects species in the genus Helvella

A fan favorite, Green Elf Cups (Chlorociboria spp.). If you see turquoise-colored dead wood (usually on birch), that’s the mycelium of this fungus discoloring the wood. The small, cup-shaped fruiting bodies aren’t found nearly as often as the turquoise wood, but when they are it’s after rain in the summer and fall:


Chlorociboria spp.

Pinewood gingertail, Xeromphalina campanella. If they’re on dead conifer they’re X. campanella, if they’re on hardwood they’re X. kaufmanii:


Pinewood gingertail

No common name for this one but handsome nonetheless. Entoloma luteum:


Entoloma luteum

Tricholomopsis flammula, related to plums and custard (T. rutilans) but less common:


Tricholomopsis flammula

Goblet Waxcap (Hygrocybe cantharellus):


Hygrocybe cantharellus

The Spotted Bolete (Xanthoconium affine):


Xanthoconium affine

Another fan favorite due to their edibility, Black trumpets (Craterellus fallax):


Black trumpets

And quite possibly my favorite find of the weekend wasn’t fungal at all. Our Sunday morning foray found American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) growing right alongside the trail. The latin quinquefolius denotes the five leaflets per leaf. Also cool to see this vulnerable species producing seeds.


American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

All in all an incredible weekend. I’d like to write up a longer article that chronicles each day of the festival - perhaps for the New York Mycological Society newsletter. I’m toast but if you’re up for it there’s another mushroom festival starting this week in VT. Check out New Moon Mycology Summit. I’ll pick one of the above species to do a regular Mushroom Monday with next week, but right now I’m going to bed.


Goodnight everyone,

Aubrey


*I found out after writing this that thunderstorms actually broke the gate and to my knowledge I still know the code. On the positive, I thought I might’ve incurred some unknown brain injury that resulted in memory loss but hopefully we can now rule that out. On the negative, it doesn’t make for as good of a narrative. As they say, “don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story”

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