Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fun with Fungi

Cinnabar Red Polyphore
Recently the Springfield Chapter of MOMS (Missouri Mycological Society) completed its second foray.  We had a whopping 35 members spread out through the woods.  May is not the most prolific month for fungi species but we collected and identified 14 species.
Ken Olson was on hand to provide expert identification, supplementing other knowledgeable members.  While we are working at keying species having someone to point us in the right direction is invaluable.   Several species were particularly interesting.

Cinnabar Red Polyphore- Pycnoporous cinnabarinum can produce a yellow dye.  Ken and his wife use this to dye fabric.  It's one of many species which can produce a variety of colors.

Dead Man's Fingers
Dead Man's Fingers - Xylaria polymorpha is found on decaying wood and changes color with age.  Starting with a white to bluish color, it darkens with age to give a spooky dark appearance of, guess what-- a dead man's finger.

King Alfred's Cakes
King Alfred's Cakes - Daldinia concentrica, also called coal fungus and carbon balls, are found on living or dying wood.  The name comes from an old English legend.  According to legend, King Alfred reached the low point in his career, alone and running from the enemy, and hid out in a countryside homestead.  The housewife put him in charge of removing baking from the oven when it was done. He fell asleep and when she returned the cakes were burned.  She scolded him, not knowing he was the king.   Daldinia concentrica is said to resemble a cake left to this fate.

More pictures are at this Picasa site.
Interested in joining MOMS?  Check out

For an article on the "growing trend" of growing mushrooms at home, see this Wall Street Journal site.

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