The Fungus File

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From a quick trip up to northern Sonoma County with my friend John. We spent about an hour traipsing through the woods to find mushrooms for his dinner tonight; we (he, really) found some black chanterelles in a couple spots that he and his wife know about. There were other fungi everywhere, though; my operating assumption is that very few of the species I was seeing were edible; but they sure are colorful, some of them. [Checking a couple of mushroom sites, this looks pretty definitively as if it’s an edible fungus called Witch’s Butter (Tremella mesenterica); there’s a very similar species (Dacrymyces palmatus); but Mr. the giveaway appears to be that Witch’s Butter is actually a parasite of those leafy little brown fungi you can see up and down the bare, downed tree limb on which all this stuff is growing.]

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2 Replies to “The Fungus File”

  1. The profusion of stuff in that logged-over second- or third-growth woods was amazing. Makes me want to take a hike through one of the old forests that’s still standing to see what the floor life there is like. Not that I’m a huge fan of mushroom hunting; the words “liver transplant” are always in my head when I see these things. (Maybe that’s unduly cautious or paranoid; I know there are plenty of fungi out there that are perfectly edible; including these, I think; the rap against Witch’s Butter is that it doesn’t taste like much of anything.)

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