In case you were wondering what the first reason was, check my previous post on moss. I have many other reasons, but today I want to talk about fungi! Yay!
While driving along U.S. 101 near the Oregon Coast, we stopped at a scenic vista to see sand dunes. Were they impressive? Eh… The sand dunes in Death Valley are significantly more magestic. But what was impressive was this giant group of mushrooms growing near the the public restroom:
Hopefully the presence of the blades of grass can help you understand the size of these suckers. I have never seen mushrooms so large growing in nature. I took this as an opportunity to nerd out yet again. My first thought was, “If I only picked up that mushroom field guide I saw at Powell’s Books in Portland. Alas, there’s there’s always the internet.” So yes, I took a picture and planned on looking it up later online when I had reception on my phone again. I did, but as usual, without an actual sample of the fungus, keying it out was very difficult. I did come across a great fungus key for the Rockies and Pacific Northwest from Fungal Jungal. According to the key, there are approximately 2000 species of fungi amongst these two areas but the key only accounts for 400. I searched but could not find anything that looked enough like the fungus in the picture above.
So, are there any mycological heroes out there who know what fungus I found in the forest?
On a side note, this little diversion did renew my interest in mushrooms again. My mind was blown the day my horticulture teacher told us that a mushroom is only the fruit of a fungus. Underground, it is a spreading network of web-like mycelium. Soon after that epiphany, I read Mary Gray’s great review of Paul Stamets’ book Mycelium Running, titled “My Fungi are Smarter than Your Honor Student.” I was instantly appreciated the humorous title, and reading her review inspired me to go out and buy the book. It’s still sitting on the table next to my bed for me to read before going to sleep, along with a book about the plight of oaks living in urban settings, several field guides, Botanical Latin, and much, much more. If only there was ever a time period of wakefulness long enough to read anything after my head hits the pillow.
After teaching all day, some occasional after-school tutoring, answering peoples’ questions about their street trees or performing emergency care, and verifying that my bourbon still tastes the way it should, I have difficulty finding the time to read for fun. This must change soon.
- Paul Stamets on 6 ways mushrooms can save the world (ritholtz.com)
- Cool Little Coastal Town ~ Florence, OR (paintyourlandscape.wordpress.com)
- Mushrooms: A Wonderful World Of Fungi. (greatgreths.wordpress.com)
- New Danish fungal species discovered (esciencenews.com)