Friday, 10 October 2014

Fairy Rings and Fungi

I know nothing about mushrooms.  Well, I do know the ones presented to me on trays in the supermarket and I have broadened my slim knowledge to include in my diet the large portebellos  from time to time.  So many different kinds of mushrooms have sprouted seemingly overnight around the property that I couldn't help notice and wonder about them.  After taking a few photos but not picking any samples, I am still at sea about their names.  I found a book in the hall bookcase called Mushrooms of North America by Orson K. Miller, Jr.  and attempted to pin names but found it very complicated.  This book's fly leaf, by the way, contains a recommendation from the New York Times that actually includes this sentence "I can't find any fault with it at all" which seems an odd choice of words to get people to buy the book.

I was able (I think) to rightfully name this one, mostly because it had formed a characteristic fairy ring under the old pine tree.  It is a molybite and common and poisonous.  I know now why Murphy hasn't eaten it when she seems to nibble on most things.

This one was easier to spot because at first I thought I had found one of the dog's balls we play with each day.  We use the hard white balls used for lacrosse because it is the only ball we found that Rex's teeth can't penetrate and destroy.

A close up of Calvatia Gigantea which my book says is actually a delicious edible.  I am very tempted to try it.  There were three of them near each other, enough for a meal, I'm thinking.
The book, like most written material about mushrooms, contains warnings about eating any mushroom you are unsure of.  There is a possibility that even a small amount of certain ones will cause visual hallucinations (think  LSD).  I have never had such an experience.  I wonder what it would be like; what form would my hallucinations take.  I'm not afraid of spiders.

This small foray into the mushroom world makes me appreciate them and understand better why people would want to make them their field of study.
 Their simplicity of form belies the power they contain.