Fundamentals of Fungi: Triple Fall Fungi

I just realized I missed Amanita muscaria season this year. Sigh. Perils of moving to a new place: when I lived in Bothell, I couldn’t miss them because they were these enormous red things popping up under the oak trees beside the road.

My move to the west side hasn’t been completely fungi-free, of course. This is western Washington. We have fungi everywhere. And I have new places to look at them.

Pipa and I found several specimens in Warren G. Magnuson Park. There was this large white one bounding up through the grass.

Image shows a large disc-shaped mushroom poking up through bright green grass and weeds. It's mostly white with a little bit of beige tint.
Mystery Fungi I

It may not be super-exciting and colorful, but it is large. Here is my hand bracketing it for scale.

Same shroom with my hand in an L beside it. It's almost the same size as my hand.
Mystery Fungi II

Even after eight years (!) in the Pacific Northwest, I’m still fascinated by fungi. Finding one of these was a rare treat in Arizona, and I used to get super-excited when it happened. So I do a lot of stopping and wowing around here.

Pipa and I got a chance to see some particularly colorful wood mushrooms when we stopped by one of the ponds in the wetland area.

Image shows a log end jutting out over the water. It's got moss and several bright orange wood mushrooms growing on it. My finger is in the foreground, but I couldn't reach the log, so it's not great for scale.
Mystery Fungi III

How colorful is that? Like a little slice of sun fanned out and glued to the log. Here’s a close-up version where you can see it’s also fuzzy.

Close crop of the wood mushrooms showing more detail. The concave surface of each shroom is furry.
Mystery Fungi IV

Wood mushrooms are among my favorites now. Many of them have lovely color schemes, and they look so soft and squishy! But if you touch them, they’re actually quite hard. They’re quite different from most shrooms I encounter.

On a different day, in a different park, B and I came across a veritable crowd of shrooms that seemed to be going wild with joy at the wet and cool conditions.

Image shows many clusters of creamy orange-brown mushrooms scattered on the ground under some cedar and fir trees.
Mystery Fungi V

Some fungi are solitary growers, while others pile up together like baskets of kittens. These are obviously the latter.

Image shows a cluster of the mushrooms. They have gently convex caps and tend to pile together, overlapping.
Mystery Fungi VI

They’re also fairly large, although not quite as big as our white one.

Image of the cluster with my fingers for scale.
Mystery Fungi VII

Whatever. Great and small, I love them all.

Fundamentals of Fungi: Triple Fall Fungi

7 thoughts on “Fundamentals of Fungi: Triple Fall Fungi

  1. 2

    I love mushroom season. I used to gather them with my aunt when I was little. They really are a marvel of nature – every imaginary texture, every imaginary color – they have it all.

    The 1st one looks like Amanita verna, but it’s hard to tell. Find someone you dislike and have them taste it to find out. Someone you reaaaalllllly dislike.

    (that was a joke – never eat unidentified mushrooms)

  2. 4

    Just be very careful and don’t eat any wild mushrooms. The ambrosia mushroom, whose taste is so good it’s been known to cause orgasms in the unwary (it also cures acne), and the darkstalker, the only mushroom which can kill at a distance (up to four metres), look almost identical.

  3. 5

    @ ^ Al Dente : Wait what? Er, really? How?

    Hmmm ..Gotta wiki-check that :

    The page “Darkstalkers mushroom” does not exist.

    Using the singular form didn’t exist either (only suggested the plural form instead) and Google just gave me a list of video games for some reason. So, umm, more information e.g. botantical name please?

    Or was that some type of joke? If so, then, ya got me with it.

    PS. Not sure if I’ve shared this before but reckon the Fungi song :

    might be appropriate here?

  4. 7

    It would help to see the undersides. Last ones look like genus Suillus maybe, some of which are good, but I can’t tell for sure if they have gills or pores. In MI I eat S. pictus, S. granulatus, but many others are too mushy to bother with. The one before that looks like genus Ganoderma, some of the ones near me can be used to make durable art on the undersides (artist’s fungus), but are too woody to bother with in the kitchen. First one is hard to know the genus of, without color of gills (if there are gills), attachment of gills to stalk, whether there are remains of universal veil (like Aminitas have), etc.
    Anyone living in wet parts of WA might consider studying, if they like to cook.

Comments are closed.