Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Fungus Among Us

With all our recent rains, we are getting a nice crop of mushrooms of an amazing variety. We are not tempted to try to identify edible varieties, but I'm just amazed at the range of structures. Like the butterflies I photographed a month ago, I've found that identification is difficult too, so mostly these are presented with a short description for your viewing pleasure. All were photographed within 30 yards of the house here in St Charles.

These little guys were only seen once in a shady area. I don't know if the reddish color and splitting of the cap is an indication of them just being "past their prime" of if they are normally this color.

These fellows extend over quite an area, almost turning the ground white in some spots. They do not last long, however, just a day or two (as with most mushrooms), turning brown quickly.

This giant puffball is from my stay here 2 summers ago. They are edible, but so huge we were hesitant. The Internet guide said to fry up quarter-inch-thick slices in butter... This was the biggest I saw this summer (or since) - over 10" diameter!

This assemblage has individual mushrooms that look like common toadstools, but I've never seen them in a hi-rise structure like this.

These were growing out of a stump (again, in the shade) that we use for holding some flower pots. They have nice color and structure...

I just took these this morning, down where our lawn was flooded by the recent river rising. I'm working on a daily photo sequence showing the trees changing color (something to look forward to!) and happened to see this in the dewy grass. The heads were less than an inch in diameter and were gone this afternoon when I went back looking for them.

These Bird's Nest mushrooms were seen away from the house down on a trail in the forest preserve near here. Growing on the downed branch of a tree, I didn't notice till after taking the photo that there is a slug checking out one on the left...

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