Like most autumn mornings, the appointed day of the 2009 Fungi Blitz on Oct. 3 started out wet and foggy but soon dissolved into a clear fall day. More than 30 saprophyte enthusiasts sprang up like, well, mushrooms, at the Five-Span Bridge in Pakenham and headed off to the nearby Spicer Farm. After a lovely drive along a forest road that wound its way higher and higher, we arrived at the farm in the rolling hills. Our resident mycologist, George “Fun Guy” White, began with a brief introduction to the main groups of fungi, an almost impossible task given their diversity of forms and life cycles.
George also had tips for a successful fungi hunt. There are two ways to look for fungi. One is to keep walking, on the lookout for obvious specimens. The other is to stop anywhere and look closely at your surroundings and you’ll probably find just as many species.
Some hunters had recently completed a multi-day course in mycology. They were the ones with sturdy baskets and collection bags, knowingly nodding in recognition at words like “Basidiomycota” and “Myxomycota.” As well, we had some of our own naturalists along, including Gord Vogg, Mary Marsh, Joel Byrne, and folks from the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club.
We split up into three collecting groups and marched into the woods, intending to rendezvous back at the farmhouse for lunch and an identification session. Ken Spicer had cleared an extensive path through the overgrown trails for our hike but, to his chagrin, everyone followed George’s dictum, and we did not range widely, preferring to squat down to study a promising patch, and then finding more and more to look at.
The Young Macnamaras, with eyes closer to the ground, excelled at spotting fungi in nooks and crannies, although a few Wood Frogs elicited the most youthful enthusiasm.
There were surprises, including the famous but uncommon Oil Beetle (Meloe violaceus) which turned up dead but still resplendently violet.
There were few large, showy fruiting bodies on view, but many smaller but intriguing fungi absorbed us, figuratively speaking.
All too soon, grumbling tummies drove us back to the farmhouse for lunch, where specimen bags were emptied in warm sunshine. Surrounded by fall asters and other wildflowers, our happy gang of naturalists pored over field books and labelled the specimens spread out on the porch like a witches’ market of spells and potions. Although identification of some species requires spore prints and microscopes, we did pretty well.
Charles Macnamara would have approved.
Gord Vogg’s knowledge and diligence are primarily responsible for the following list of species, which he compiled.
Subdivision ASCOMYCOTINA (Sac Fungi)
Chlorociboria aeruginascens (Blue-Green Stain)
Trichoglossum hirsutum (Velvety Earth Tongue, Hairy Earth Tongue)
Ascocoryne sarcoides (Purple Jelly Drops, Brain Jelly-drop Cup)
Bisporella citrina (Yellow Fairy Cups, Lemon Cup)
Gyromitra infula (Saddle-shaped False Morel, Hooded False Morel)
Scutellinia scutellata (Eyelash Cup)
Elaphomyces granulatus (Common Deer Truffle)
Cordyceps capitata (Headlike Cordyceps)
Daldinia concentrica (Carbon Balls, King Alfred’s Cakes)
Hypoxylon multiforme (Birch Hypoxylon)
Xylaria hypoxylon (Candlesnuff)
Xylaria polymorpha (Dead Man’s Fingers)
Subivision B A S I D I O M Y C O T I N A (Club Fungi)
Lycoperdon perlatum (Gem-studded Puffball, Gem Puffball, Devil’s Snuffbox)
Lycoperdon pyriforme (Pear-shaped Puffball, Pear Puffball, Stump Puffball)
?Bolbitius vitellinus (Yellow Bolbitius, Manure Mushroom)
Coprinus sp. (Ink Cap)
Psathyrella candolleana (Common Psathyrella, Fringed Crumblecap)
Psathyrella ?delineata (Wrinkled-cap Psathyrella, Artist Crumblecap)
Galerina autumnalis (Deadly Galerina, Autumn Skullcap)
Gymnopilus penetrans (Little Gym, Showy Flamecap) [Flammula penetrans]
Gymnopilus spectabilis (Big Laughing Mushroom, Showy Flamecap)
Entoloma Abortivum (Aborted Entoloma, Aborted Pinkgill)
Hygrophorus eburneus (White Waxy Cap, Ivory Waxy Cap)
Hygrophorus russula (Russulalike Waxy Cap, False Russula) [Tricholoma russula]
PLuteus cervinus (Fawn Mushroom, Deer Mushroom)
Lactarius deliciosus (Orange-latex Milky, Saffron Milkcap)
Armillariella mellea (Honey Mushroom) [Armillaria mellea]
Clitocybe gibba (Funnel Clitocybe, Forest Funnelcap) [Clitocybe infundibuliformis]
Collybia dryophila (Oak-loving Collybia, Forest Friend)
Laccaria laccata (Common Laccaria, Waxy Laccaria, The Deceiver)
Lepista irina (Blushing Bowlcap) [Clitocybe irina]
Marasmius rotula (Pinwheel Mushroom, Horsehair Mushroom)
Panellus serotinus (Late Fall Oyster, Olive-brown Panellus) [Pleurotus serotinus]
?Tricholomopsis decora (Decorated Mop, Yellow Rider) [Clitocybe decora]
?Clavariadelphus ligula (Strap-shaped Coral) [Clavaria ligula]
Penophora rufa (Red Tree Brain) [Stereum rufum, Cryptochaete rufa]
Hericium americanum (Bear’s Head Tooth, Coral Hedgehog) [Hericium americanum]
Hydnellum caeruleum (Bluish Tooth, Blue Spine)
Daedaleopsis confragosa (Thin-maze Flat Polypore, Blushing Bracket) [Daedalea confragosa]
Favolus alveolaris (Hexagonal-pored Polypore) [Polyporus mori, Favolus canadensis]
Fomes fomentarius (Tinder Polypore, Horse’s Hoof)
Ganoderma applanatum (Artist’s Conk, Artist’s Fungus)
Gloeophyllum sepiarium (Yellow-red Gill Polypore, Dry-rot Polypore) [Lenzites sepiaria]
Ishnoderma resinosum (Resinous Polypore) [Polyporus resinosus]
Piptoporus betulinus (Birch Polypore, Birch Conk) [Polyporus betulinus]
Polyporus varius (Blackfoot Polypore, Elegant Polypore) [Polyporus elegans]
Trametes versicolor (Turkeytail, Many-coloured Polypore) [Coriolus versicolor, Polyporus versicolor]
Trichaptum biforme (Violet Toothed Polypore) [Hirschioporus biformis, Polyporus pargamenus]
Tyromyces caesius (Blue Cheese Polypore) [Postia caesia, Polyporus caesius]
Tyromyces chioneus (White Cheese Polypore) [Oligioporus chioneus, Polyporus albellus]
Plicaturopsis crispa (Crimped Gill) [Trogia crispa]
Stereum ostrea (False Turkeytail) [Stereum fasciatum, S. lobatum, S. versicolor]
Chalciporus piperatus (Peppery Bolete) [Boletus piperatus]
Dacrymyces palmatus (Orange Jelly, False Witches’ Butter)
Subdivision M Y X O M Y O C O T I N A (Slime Molds)
Lycogala epidendrum (Wolf’s-milk Slime)
Hemitrichia ?clavata (Yellow-fuzz Cone Slime)