Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A few Iowa fungi and mushrooms

On my recent May hiking trips through Iowan woodlands I cam across a few interesting fungi.  Being Iowa has had a very cool and wet spring there is an abundance of certain types of mushrooms and an absence of others. 

An unknown bracket or polypore fungus growing on dead wood.  I believe this is Polyporus squamosus, or Dryads Saddle, but never positively identified it. 

I came across an abundance of a bracket or polypore fungus growing on dead wood throughout the woodlands.  Bracket fungi are shelf shaped and almost always grow on dead wood.  They are also called polypores because of the small holes or pores they contain on their underside.  Most familiar fungi that you might see in the grocery store have gills, or lines of fleshy material on their undersides, instead of the pores found on these mushrooms.  This fungi also had brownish scales on their top side and a very short stem.  I believe (I don't know for sure!) the particular type I found in the greatest abundance is known as Dryads Saddle or Polyporus squamosus.  This particular mushroom is generally not considered edible being it toughens up considerably as it ages.  It is not poisonous and some people do eat before it toughens up.  I didn't positively identify this fungus so I was not about to eat it, and neither should anyone else if they do not positively identify it! 

I also came across a slimy orange/white fungus growing on a dead grape vine.  I have no idea what it was.  Was the orange/white stuff on the surface of the vine mycelium the root like structure of mushrooms?  Or was this the immature fruiting body?  I would have had to come back at a later date to figure it out.  But even so, it was pretty interesting. 

An unknown orange/white fungus growing on a dead vine.

In very short supply were the Morel Mushrooms this spring.  Unusually cool weather apparently has prevented them from popping up in the woodlands this spring.  Hopefully slightly warmer weather will cause some to come up soon.  I however, am not a skilled Morel hunter...  so it may just be me...

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