Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Armillaria Mellea & Perhaps Some Mushroom Fever!

Here we are, another mushroom post! I had gone to a mushroom workshop a few weeks ago that really helped secure my confidence in identifying fungi. I have, since, brought home many new edibles. The Honey Mushroom is one that was detailed at the workshop. While at our Church meeting this past Sunday, a friend of mine stated that she had some mushrooms growing out back of her garage. I had a look and immediately knew that it was vaguely familiar to me. I noted it's growing medium (obviously stemming from a log and trailing the underground root system, massive clumps growing together, sharing stalk bases) and took a sample home. Once home I recounted my notes, and referred to my handy field guide. Yes. Honey Mushroom. I then, just to be absolutely positive, looked online to compare. As I sifted through the identification info, it became immediately obvious that there were a few look a-likes that I would definitely NOT want to mistakenly throw into my basket. Although my field guide failed to point this out in detail, the only sure fire way to get an accurate id, would be to get a spore print. If it were white, it would confirm my suspicions. If it were brown-or brown like then it could be one of the poisonous look-alikes. I had only taken one sample, which by that time had shriveled to a state that would deem it un-sporable. 

HOWEVER, yesterday I was out on my milk run and decided to take the long way home and detour though a thick dense hardwood forest. I peered from the car to the green carpet dotted with fresh fall leaves. Got out on a few occasions to browse. Scattered here and there I would find mushrooms..many that I was unfamiliar with. Back in the car, I continue to stalk the road side, driving at a turtles pace. STOP! I spied a colony. A huge mass of mushrooms. Quick!, I urged my 9 year old. Get those mushrooms! Haha! There, on the roadside, like a river flowing over the moss covered bank was hundreds of Honey Mushrooms! Obviously they had long ago devoured the stump and tree mass, and now had worked themselves over a grand area and were in full abundance! What a score. AND, I was running terribly short on time to return my car back to my husband. Gosh. Hurriedly, we picked as fast as we could and gathered our basket full, agreeing to leave behind what wouldn't fit for another day. 

Here is our spore print of our harvest.

Honey Indeed.

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