Mushroom Monday: Our First Foray 🍄

Recently I joined my local mycological club and yesterday was my first opportunity to join them on a foray. There was a huge turnout (perhaps in part due to the recent Netflix special 'Fantastic Fungi') and the weather was gorgeous. We even had two other new members carpool with us. We didn't know what to expect.

I learned that the way forays work is that the group meets at a specified location and time, usually with a guide from the property or a guest expert. There is a short discussion of the trails and where to look, and proper mushroom excavation technique (many need the 'root' or volva intact to identify). Then the group sets off, and like a mycelium, spreads out through the woods into small clusters or individuals going their own way. This method was to our liking, and our new carpool friends soon ventured out on their own as well. After 1.5hours the group returns with their findings and the club discusses our haul for the day.

Let the Hunt Begin!

Right off the bat, we spot an Amanita and pop it in our basket. We couldn't walk 5 feet without stumbling into a mushroom. They were so abundant and diverse, it really was amazing.

Next up, was a stinkhorn (genus Phallus). Little did we know that we should have left this one for last! Whoever named these bastards was not kidding because it stank in our basket the whole time. I figured it was almost a rite of passage, "Hey look at the newbies carrying around a stinkhorn!".
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While we were excavating it, some American Carrion Beetles (Necrophila americana) escaped from the top of the tube, adding to the gross-out factor. Also, very cool and it was a new beetle species for my list! The stinkhorn attracts insects with its rotten smell and relies on them to spread its spores after they touch the spore surface (gray/brown mass at the top). Below, you can see the beetle poking its head out.
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This particular species is Ravenel's Stinkhorn (Phallus ravenelii). We were the only people to bring back a stinkhorn which we took pride in. A small consolation prize for dealing with the smell >.<

Gray Coral Fungi (Clavulina cinerea) and Old-Man-of-the-Woods (Strobilomyces strobilaceus) were other early additions to our basket.

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A shot of our basket so far.

A Leccinum species on the left, and a small bolete on the right. iNaturalist gives Chestnut Bolete as a possibility.

A type of coral fungi, and a type of large milkcap or Russula? Family Russulaceae I reckon.

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A young Amanita, I'm not sure which species.

I finally got to see a purple mushroom in real life! Viscid Violet Cort (Cortinarius iodes). There were so many of these around the woods. They are mycorhizzal with oaks in the eastern United States. There is also another Cortinarius species that is indistinguishable by sight but could be differentiated by the taste of its slime...Bitter for Cortinarius iodeoides and mild for C. iodes. Or you can measure their spores if you aren't into licking mushroom slime.

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Painted Suillus (Suillus spraguei) made an appearance, mycorhizzal with White Pines (Pinus strobus)

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I'm thinking this is Trametes...hirsuta? Based on the amount of hairs?

I learned that this beauty is called the Surprise Webcap (Cortinarius semisanguineus) because of its stunning red gills under its plain light-brown cap.

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We also found our first Black Trumpets (Craterellus fallax). There was a big pile of these when we got back to the table. It is a choice edible and they were all taken by the time we got in the car to leave. Might grab some to try next time.

The Table

At the end of the 1.5 hours, we made our way back to the club's tables with a full basket (sorry forgot to snap a shot). The table was arranged by type of fungi, Polypores, Gilled Mushrooms, Boletes, Coral Fungi and other strange/small fungi.
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The trip leader began to explain the major differences between the groups and then answer any questions from the crowd.

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One thing I'll know for next time, is to ask questions on my specific specimens before putting them on the table. I couldn't relocate them in the sea of fungi afterwards!

And I'll grab more photos of the tables to show you all in more detail :)

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