We are having a beautiful Friday here at The Hoosier Mushroom Co. There has been a lot of rain over the past couple of days, so I had to get out and see what could be found.
The location of today’s foray is Yellowood State Forest. It is located between our shop in Nashville and Bloomington, IN, with over 23,000 acres on the property. I decided to walk in the area around the dam, at the lower portion of Yellowood Lake. You have to cross a couple of small streams going through the road to get back to it, so if your in a car, you may not want to try it.
To get to the trail, you have to start off by crossing this rock bridge. Literally within 15 seconds of being on the trail I hit a big score - a large amount of Wood Ear’s – Auricularia auricula. These were covering a fallen branch about 20′ from the trail. Since they were so close to the vehicle, I decided not to harvest any yet, and wait until the end of the walk. If you have ever ate Hot & Sour soup at a Chinese buffet, then you are looking at one of the main ingredients. They are very easy to identify, both by their look and texture. They are a jelly fungus that will always be growing on dead wood.
We are primarily concerned with mushrooms, but it is hard to pass up a gathering of butterflies without a second look. We sell a variety of guides in our retail store, including Indiana Butterflies & Moths. According to this guide, these are called Eastern Tiger Swallowtails – Papilio glaucus.
I continued on the trail for a while and then circled back over to the lake.
The photo above was taken from the boat launch. From there, a little trail follows the edge of the lake. This is where I found a small patch of Clitocybe gibba growing in moss. It is also called the Funnel Cap. Notice the decurrent gills (running down the stem) and the funnel shape of this species. Clitocybe species also have white-light spores with no veil or volva. The dark spots you see in the gills are hundreds of very small bugs.
Continuing along the lakeside trail, I spotted a Laccaria species at the precipice of a 10′ drop into the lake. This particular variety is called Laccaria amethystina. Several key features are the purple gills that have a wide spacing and are fully attached to the stem, as well as a white spore print. The final picture shows that as the species dries out, the color of the cap begins to fade dramatically from a purplish hue to a light tan.
Finishing off the descriptions for today is a mushroom that may look like a polypore from a distance. It was sharing a dead log with several other common types of polypores. It does, however, have gills that can be seen in the final 2 pictures. This mushroom is called Panus rudis or Hairy Panus, and can be widely varied in its look. A younger version of this mushroom can take on a purplish hue. Sometimes is could have more of a vase shape. However it comes it will always have the dense velvety hairs that can be seen in the 4th picture. It will usually also have an inrolled margin, as can be seen in the final picture.
And I cant forget the final picture of the Wood Ear haul. Have a good weekend.