Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Time in the Forest

 Crown Tipped Coral Mushroom - photo by Fanklin Creek

I spent more time in the forest yesterday.  I put on my jeans, hooded sweatshirt, and Vibrams and headed into the muggy, mosquito infested wonderland.  I also brought a basket, some offerings to the spirits, my knife, and a couple field guides.  I found several feathers, a quartz vein as well as a loose piece to take home, and several black raspberry bushes.  I harvested those.  I also found numerous beautiful mushrooms like the ones photoed above*.  

I was outside for awhile.  I feel more confident in this new forest - and more welcomed.  It saddens me to see the litter all over.  I would like to bring a bag up and clean again, but it is depressing to know that it will come back.  Sometimes it feels like litter bugs are in the majority.  I don't really know what to do about that besides clean quietly and live by example.  

*Apparently the crown tipped coral mushroom is edible...but I'm not confident enough to try it.  Someday I would love to take foraging classes and gain that confidence.

*And occasionally yell at people, albeit passive aggressively...

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )


  1. A really good mushroom field guide is David Arora's "Mushrooms Demystified". Although a larger book, it has loads of color photos and a great list of common edible wild mushrooms. A great book for the serious aspiring mycologist!

    (Don't mind me, I'm a college student who did a project on mushrooms. :P)

  2. Thanks for the recommendation!

    When I was in college, I was lucky enough to take a basic biology course with the campus mycologist. He was such a great professor and I always regret not making the time to take a mycology course with him before he retired. What was your project about?

  3. Forgive the technobabble. That being said...

    The project was titled "Investigating the ectomycorrhizal fungal assemblages of two oak hosts in MN savanna: Do fungal communities vary with host?"

    What this all means is that I was looking at how some species of mushrooms that are symbiotic with tree roots vary in an oak savanna based on two factors: host species and burn period. Oak savanna is a fire-dependent ecosystem: without burns on a regular basis, it'll quickly fill in with undergrowth and turn into forest. My grad student boss/adviser and I collected about 30 sporocarps (fungal fruiting bodies, which is what most folks call a mushroom--the part you can eat) from both burned and non-burned areas and I spent months trying to ID them. I used two methods: one was by morphological characteristics (aka the usual way, by how it looks) and one was DNA analysis.

    I managed to ID most of them the normal way, and it was great to learn the DNA analysis methods as well. It was also cool to spend so much time doing things I'm really interested in too :) I'm hoping that I can use this project as a way to figure out what I want to study come grad school.

    and sorry for taking so long to reply, I'll have to keep better tabs on where I comment and when.

  4. Oh you're fine! Thanks for replying and explaining so much to me! There are days I wish I was doing something like that. ;)