Dunn Woods Memories

Dunn Woods, Natural Heart of IU

September 26, 2017
by mitch
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Little Puffballs

After a long Aug-Sept draught, we got soaking rain last week, and as a result a few puffballs (Lycoperdon pyriforme) appeared on a rotting log laying just to the east of the Observatory. These are edible as long as the interior flesh is white. They turn greenish-yellow to dark olive-brown with age, then puff out their olive green spores once they dry out.

Lycoperdon pyriforme

Lycoperdon pyriforme

Here is a video of pyriforme in February which show how they spread their olive colored spores.

August 21, 2017
by mitch
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Trametes gibbosa or Trametes elegans?

Is this Trametes Gibbosa, lumpy bracket fungus, or Trametes elegans? Gibbosa, being a bit hairy, often sports an algae surface, as is evident in the photo below. But the pore surface is more irregular like elegans, and it is native to Indiana, whereas gibbosa is an import from Europe.

Trametes gibbosa

Trametes gibbosa is often a host for green algae.

Trametes gibbosa has elongated pores

Trametes gibbosa has elongated pores

Trametes gibbosa, aka the lumpy polypore

Trametes gibbosa, aka the lumpy bracket fungus

June 29, 2016
by mitch
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Inky Caps

Inky Caps

Inky Caps

Coprinopsis atramentaria, and Inky Caps in general, encompass the group formerly known as coprinoid fungi, but which in 2002 were divided into 4 different species (The Shaggy Mane, Coprinus comatas, remained as the type species for Coprinus, in the Family Agaricaceae, while the others were dropped into the Psathyrellaceae Family as Coprinellus, Coprinopsis, and Parasola.)

The common feature that had early mycologists convinced they should all be in the same species was that they all fit the description of “inky cap”, delequising quickly into a black liquid as a methodology for distributing spores.

The ones in the picture above were found in the grass behind Bryan Hall, and are known as the common inky cap, Coprinopsis atramentaria, aka Tippler’s Bane. Inky caps contain a chemical named coprine, which inhibits the body’s ability to break down the acetaldehyde which results from drinking alcohol. This can make you feel very puny, do not drink and eat the otherwise edible inky cap family! (Symptoms include facial reddening, nausea, vomiting, malaise, agitation, palpitations and tingling in limbs, and arise five to ten minutes after consumption of alcohol.)

The three species that I see often in Southern Indiana are the common inky cap the mica cap (Coprinellus micaceus), and the shaggy mane (Coprinus_comatus).

Shaggy Manes, Coprinus comatas

Shaggy Manes, Coprinus comatas

May 13, 2016
by mitch
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Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula

These little guys are pretty common, but so small as to go un-noticed unless you are looking closely. They grow in groups on leaf litter in most Indiana woodlands, and are amazingly beautiful in their symmetry. M. rotula is genetically related to the much larger Scotch bonnet, aka the fairy ring mushroom, Marasmius oreades.

Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula

Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula-The sectioned cap looks a bit lit a parachute explaining half the name

Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula

Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula

Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula

Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula-The gills do not attach to the stem (stipe), but rather terminate in a thin collar that surrounds the stipe, giving it the second part of its common name.

Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula

Collared parachute mushroom, Marasmius rotula-They are all small, with caps from 3/16″ to 3/4″ (5-20 mm) wide.

March 23, 2016
by mitch
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Oysters in Dunn Woods!

Yep, oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) grow in Dunn Woods. I found this specimen in early February during warm spell. They dried out and lasted through the subsequent freeze cycle, they are a cool/cold weather loving species, and quite delicious to boot. There are numerous companies that offer spawn, plugs, and kits for growing oysters at home as they are one of the easiest to grow, and are happy to fruit on a number of carboniferous substrates. So logs, wood chips, newspaper, and even coffee grounds will support mycelial growth and fruiting.

Oyster Mushroom - Pleurotus ostreatus

Oyster Mushroom – Pleurotus ostreatus – on dead tree

Dried out Oyster mushroom

Dried out Oyster mushroom

March 18, 2016
by mitch
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Turkey Tails – Trametes and Stereum

These two mushrooms are often confused with each other as they have a similar appearance, both resembling a turkey’s tail, fan-like and with bands of muted browns, gray-blues, tans, whites and even green (when colonized by algae). Both are common year round on dead and dying wood, and both are white rot decomposers, eating the brown lignons in wood, leaving the white cellulose for other fungi. Trametes versicolor is the true turkey tail, whereas Stereum ostrea is known as false turkey tail. It is not a polypore like T. versicolor, it has no pores underneath the cap, and is classed as a crust fungi.

Sterium ostea, aka False Turkey Tail

Sterium ostea, aka False Turkey Tail

Sterium ostrea underside, note the smooth surface, no pores, ridges or teeth.

Sterium ostrea underside, note the smooth surface, no pores, ridges or teeth.

Trametes versicolor, aka Turkey Tail

Trametes versicolor, aka Turkey Tail

Trametes versicolor pores

Trametes versicolor pores

Phlebia incarnata, Sterium ostrea

Sterium ostrea with Phlebia incarnata being the pink one. P. incarnata is always found growing with Stereum, but Stereum is often found alone. Both are crust fungi, their undersides do not have true pores or gills, but P. incarnata can have folds on the surface that can appear like a toothed mushroom.

March 9, 2016
by mitch
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Morphology of Mushrooms

This is a great chart on the morphology of of mushrooms, there is a mycological jargon that can be very confusing, this helps with the basics of mushroom structure.

Mushroom cap morphology

By debivort GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

October 18, 2011
by mitch
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Giant Puffballs

Giant Puffballs aka Calvatia gigantea, grew in abundance at the edge of Dunn Woods in October 2011. They were large, at least a dozen at the edge, and just a bit into the Woods. They are quite edible when fresh, i.e. before the spores start to form and turn the inter When cut, the interior flesh should be all white and solid all the way through. It can be sliced and breaded, then pan fried to make a large mushroom “steak”, or it can be cubed to be put into a soup or stew. I’ve not done it, but it can be sliced and dried for use in the winter.

I had a number of people say that they grow in abundance in northern Indiana, and as farm kids they were tasked with finding them and bringing them home intact.

Unfortunately they have not fruited again since 2011, the conditions (soil temp, moisture, the moon?) have to be just right to bring out these mushrooms. As most of the puffballs were in or near the landscaping mulch, it is possible that they came with the chips. But they were also found deeper in the woods, away from mulch. So I am thinking there is a mycelial network in this area and that is just growing away, biding its time till conditions are copesetic.

Giant Puffball - Calvatia gigantea

Giant Puffball – Calvatia gigantea – growing at the edge of Dunn Woods in October 2011

Giant Puffball - Calvatia gigantea - great eating mushroom if the insides are solid white.

Giant Puffball – Calvatia gigantea – growing at the edge of Dunn Woods in October 2011

May 16, 2008
by mitch
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Squirrel Perch

Sometimes when walking the paths in Dunn Woods, I encounter a squirrel or three, and occasionally I have a peanut to toss them. This guy grabbed his and scooted up a nearby black locust tree which was colonized by the heartwood parasitic fungi, Phellinus robiniae, which unfortunately speeded up the demise of this tree in Dunn Woods. But before it fell, it provided a perfect ledge for this squirrel to sit and enjoy his unexpected snack.

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