Good evening, friends,
This weekend I trekked across the state to Letchworth State Park and participated in the Rochester Area Mycological Association's Both Bolete Foray. What is a foray you may wonder? A foray is a group of people coming together to look for fungi. It can be as simple as a mushroom walk for a couple of hours or, in this instance, comprise a whole weekend of walks, talks, and other activities in between. It was basically mushroom camp. This foray was held in honor of the late Ernst Both - a prominent western New York mycologist and true renaissance man.
As it is in the eastern part of the state, the ground is also parched out there - in fact I think only three boletes were found all weekend - but we still managed to manifest some magnificent mushrooms. Without further ado, let's take a look at some of the coolest finds:
My favorite mushroom that I found this weekend was Loweomyces fractipes (with my finger for scale). While a first for me, this polypore is commonly found in New York City - although the city seems to be the eastern-most extent of its range in North America.
Another fun find was the candlesnuff fungus, Xylaria Hypoxylon. Related to dead man's fingers, the white appearance of this saprobe is actually a coating of asexual spores.
Perhaps the most enchanting mushroom was Chromosera cyanophylla. This was a tiny, inconspicuous LBM (little brown mushroom) until we flipped it over and saw those beguiling gills. Growing on dead hemlock, notice the violet-colored mycelium at the base of the mushroom on the left.
Spinning to the other side of the color wheel we have the orange mycena, Mycena leaiana. This showy saprobe is known for fruiting in dry conditions as it's able to pull water from deep within logs and form large clusters like the one you see below.
A fan favorite, we found some chanterelles (Cantharellus). These suckers were pretty dry, past the point of where it would be a desirable edible, but it was still an exciting find as we were walking out of the woods on the last walk of the weekend.
I was content to end the weekend with the chanterelles, but my friend Rick was not. We had not seen one bolete all weekend when he happened upon this conspicuous mushroom right as we were about to leave the woods.
A bolete at the buzzer? Rick carefully excavated this mushroom and we were both surprised to see the long root descending to entangle with plant roots below. We were informed that this is actually the rooting polypore, Polyporus radicatus and that it was ascending from the dead roots of a tree a few feet away.
In my opinion, the most mind-blowing fungal find from the past weekend is this nondescript, brown, cobwebby mess on the log below.
A slime mold, perhaps? Perhaps not. I was informed by one of the expert mycologists, Garrett Taylor, that this is actually the remnants of a deer truffle (Elaphomyces). This is not a true truffle - the kind that humans covet - but it's certainly one that squirrels, rodents, and even deer desire. Some little critter dug this up, had a nice meal, and then left a whole slew of spores to be carried wherever the winds take them. Just as nature intended.
Hope you enjoyed the scroll. We're in desperate need for a good soak so make sure to get your rain dances in before the isolated storms roll through tomorrow afternoon.
There's a full "Super Buck Moon" on Wednesday,
PS. One of the neater facts I learned this weekend wasn't fungal at all. Apparently you can tell the moon is waxing (growing toward a full moon) if it rises before the sun sets, but if it rises after the sun sets then it's waning (shrinking toward a new moon).