Split Balls and Flaccid Fungi

There are probably less than a handful of fungi that are immediately recognisable. The oyster mushrooms, puff balls, fly agaric, shaggy inkcap and stink-horns . . . these last have become quite rare, at least in my neck of the woods. But this week . . . bonanza time!

stink-horn 2

Stink-horn, alas not caught in its prime. But interesting, that honeycomb structure of stipe seen clearly as it disintegrates.  Photo 8th Nov 2017

stinkhorn

Is that a puff ball beside the stink-horn (there were some near)? Or is it the ‘egg’ from which the fruiting body erupts, as can be seen in the previous photo? All I can say for certain is it was empty and when prodded behaved like a split tennis ball.  Photo 8th Nov 2017

Ysterling

And the oyster mushroom (first time seen in the wild, and such a delicate pinkish colour) climbing a silver birch tree: Photo 8th Nov 2017

About crispina kemp

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12 Responses to Split Balls and Flaccid Fungi

  1. Joy Pixley says:

    Great finds! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mushroom in the wild that I could actually identify (although to be fair, I’m lousy at that). But my favorite recognizable mushroom would be morel. I’m biased because I grew up looking at one of my mother’s woodblock prints of morel mushrooms and it’s still one of my favorite prints of hers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joy Pixley says:

      As an example of how lousy I am at remembering the names for nature things, I recently told a friend that birds were coming to eat the new bird food I put out on my balcony, and successfully amusing my cat (she’s stuck inside — the birds are totally safe). My friend asked what kind of birds they were, and I said, “The small brown chirpy kind.” 😉

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      • crimsonprose says:

        Love it. And on to have small chirpy birds around me. But I live by the sea, in a gull-breeding colony (they nest on rooftops, around chimney tops, wherever there’s a ledge, thinking them cliffs!) While it can be interesting watching the parents gulls feed the chicks, those chucks set up a piercingly discordant din 24/7, not to mention the parents fighting. Also, those parents are highly protective of their chick and just going outside can be hazardous . . . like my neighbour wears a hard-hard to put out his washing. It’s always a relief when the breeding season ends. Then we only have the magpies to contend with.

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      • Joy Pixley says:

        Those do not sound like nice birds to have so close by. I like to watch the water birds near the shore (I live about 4 miles from the Pacific) but then, I don’t have them in my yard Definitely prefer the small brown chirpy birds. Sometimes I get some that are a little yellow. I suggested to my friend later that they might be sparrows, based on some photos I found online, and she pointed out a detail that now reminds me of your mushroom identification problem — I had been thinking only of what they look like, not what they eat. She tells me sparrows are insectivores and wouldn’t be eating my fancy songbird birdseed! So I’m back to thinking they’re finches.

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      • crimsonprose says:

        Yea, I’d say finches as first guess, though any of the seed-eaters. I’m guessing they had sturdy beaks. Insectivores tend to have long pointy beaks, for spearing the bugs. If it were an English bird I might attempt an identification but American birds are an entirely different collection.

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    • crimsonprose says:

      I’m not exactly an expert on fungi identification, Last year I set myself the task of identifying all those I took photos of only to discover the photos didn’t record all the necessary identification factors . . . like smell, and what colour it ‘bleeds’ when cut. This year I’m just going for what looks interesting. But there are a few that are so ‘different’ they’re easily named. A bit like flowering plants, really

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      • Joy Pixley says:

        You definitely found some that look interesting! I wouldn’t have thought of noting down the smell either — even if I could find a way to describe the smell, or differentiate it from other mushroom smells. Nope, if I’m ever lost in the woods, you can vote me as “most likely to die by eating poisonous plants”!

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      • crimsonprose says:

        You wouldn’t be tempted to eat a stinkhorn; they are aptly named, and the smell wafts far through the woods, very distinctive. Unlike many of the others. But as to eating them, the real nasty ones wouldn’t pass your palette; you’d spit them out in disgust. Danger comes when someone mistakes them, and picks them, and stick them into a stew with others. Spices, herbs, camouflage their bitterness and ‘not-right’ flavour.

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      • Joy Pixley says:

        That’s a relief, honestly. Now, what about poisonous berries? I’m definitely in danger of eating those too. Hopefully they also taste bad! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • crimsonprose says:

        Bitter. Pah! Nasty! Spit it out. Though I suppose some might be palatable. I had that problem during the summer when I came upon a long lane lined with fruiting trees. At the time I didn’t know what they were. They looked like small plums. And where they’d fallen on the road and passing traffic had squashed them (the road only took about 3 car a days and maybe a delivery van) they smelled deliciously sweet. But I still wouldn’t touch them until I had a positive id on them. Which I duly did. I then spent the next month picking ‘cherry-plums’ from the hedgerows (they were everywhere’. I could only eat the ones fully ripe, Even slightly off ripe and they were bitter. In all my roaming days I had never seen them, yet my father knew of them from his child-days. Apparently they need a really hot summer to fully ripen, and generally England’s too cold. While it bothers me how much a Nature’s free harvest goes untouched, everyone shopping at supermarkets, I do understand anyone’s reluctance to take that plunge. So easy to pick the wrong thing. E.g. some of the umbellifers are edible (the carrot which grows in our gardens can be found within a mile of me, in its wild variety). But make a mistake and pick the hemlock . . . death by nerve-paralysis.

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      • Joy Pixley says:

        I think it’s fear of picking hemlock — or even less toxic options — that keeps people on the safer track of the grocery store.

        I hope you mean that the berries are really quite bitter, though, for my own safety. I was just yesterday reading an article about foods that other people don’t like because they’re supposedly too bitter (like kale, black coffee, radicchio, even broccoli) and I realized that none of those foods taste bitter to me at all. Just yummy. Which I guess makes sense, since my favorite liquor is Campari, and I make every other drink taste better by putting bitters into it. So apparently you have to get pretty dang bitter for me to mind! Still, I would prefer my berries to be sweet — so I’ll keep that in mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      • crimsonprose says:

        WELL, i would hate to be responsible for someone getting accidental poisoning, so the best advice is to keep it out of your mouth unless you’re 100% certain. But if you want to harvest the wild foods, invest in a good field guide! Happy cropping.

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