Posts Tagged Mushrooms

Teasel Season

Teasel Season . . .

Thistle Season For Teasel
(pencil on paper)
(NYC 10 2017)

I have been drawn, pun there yet unintended; I have been drawn to draw, sketch, the crown of the teasel this season.

family Caprifoliaceae

Along the way, to consistent degree in scope and scale, still bloom the:

Mallow

Mallow
(NYC 10 2017)

Lady’s Thumb

Lady’s Thumb: A Wild Buckwheat
(NYC 10 2017)

White Snakeroot

White Snakeroot
(NYC 10 2017)

Seaside Goldenrod

Seaside Goldenrod
(NYC 10 2017)

Ganoderma

Ganoderma
(NYC 10 2017)

Autumn Highlights Here, Now.

– rPs 10 24 2017

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October Ghosts Are Not Green

October Ghosts Are Not Green . . .

Amanita Which One? (NYC 10 2015)

Amanita
Which One?
(NYC 10 2015)

There is a brief hour or so in morning and in evening both where a walk in the park feels shadowed. Time good to run.

Darkness, the simple absence of sun, comes at a quicker pace in October. The bluebird sky with cirrus vapor trails glowing goes dim in almost a blink when our star dips rather than slides below the horizon. Branches above remain leafy, block the darkening sky, and make a roof. You find yourself feeling enclosed in the outside, feeling fun scared outdoors. Imagination takes the macabre, perhaps Gothic, trailing path within the confines of nature’s haunted house.

The space below the branches is a more quiet place. Scattered yellowed leaves grace the ground. Single crickets scrape out a weak, woody, tonal rhythm like a single string lonesome and slower in step with the cool temperature. The tremulous vibrato creates the scare soundtrack. Some wind in the tree tops helps as well. The leaves will always carry voices.

Progress forward and happen to contemplate how this year a space probe from Earth, New Horizons, encountered Pluto and Charon and revealed their faces. The Ferryman? He of Hades? Spooky times as we drift down a line through the days toward Halloween.

Ghosts along the way do appear more resolute now upon colder, damper, ground. The chilled white caps of the Amanita, the Death Angel, may appear. Perhaps that trio clustered at the base of the ivy? Huddled, it seems, around something hidden?

Jogging along now, faster of foot, find bracketing the paths (in a way that just demanded pun dropped), the shelf fungi. Bracket fungi like the Ganoderma sport high contrast stripes that act as reflectors when spotted and passed by head lamp. Trametes, known also as Turkey Tail, rippled and lined in white like the fins of the brook trout, the inner bracket concentric rings in a range of brown true to the bird. Equally; Autumnly: the match for any tale of spectres encountered along the path lit low.

Bracketed Path (NYC 10 2015)

Bracketed Path
(NYC 10 2015)

Turkey Tail (NYC 10 2015)

Turkey Tail
(NYC 10 2015)

That October evening run in the Manhattan green, remember it formed a loop, a circle, haunted by ghosts lost to the living, uplifted anyway by the living still. Like those white caps, which turned out to be Amanita citrina, the False Death Cap, an edible mushroom spared the table because it so closely resembles its fatal fellow.

New York City harbors paths, routes where ghosts remain to roam, and where that Earthy symbol from ghost stories, a kind of flowering not green, grows.

Ghostly Fungi Gravestone Log (NYC 2015)

Ghostly Fungi
Gravestone Log
(NYC 2015)

– rPs 10 14 2015

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More Fungi of the West Village

More Fungi of the West Village . . .

Lingzhi Mushrooms soak up the evening rain on West 13th Street. (photo taken 09 07 2011)

Hurricane Irene appears to have brought on an early beginning to the autumn season. The bright sun and steady heat of July and August switched to sustained gray skies, high humidity, and cool temperatures once the storm passed through the region. NY1 news reports that over four inches of rain have fallen on Central Park during the first week of September 2011. One result of this inundation has been has been a continued bloom of fungi species in the West Village.

A stretch of low light with damp weather is an essential element of mushroom growth. Another ingredient is abundant food, in this case organic material, and the urban environment provides a rich source of nourishment from two sources. The first is the mulch and wood chips people use to cover the bare soil of their tree pits and stoop gardens. The other is dog dung, which also usually ends up on or around the base of trees. While I do not condone the laziness of irresponsible canine managers, what gets left behind does often foment the new and sometimes unusual appearance of fungi.

One type of Agaric or gilled mushroom, which grows well on wood mulch, is the delicate little Fairy Bonnet, Coprinellus disseminatus. This variety can be identified by its ash gray cap, ribbed like a sea scallop shell, and pale thin stem that reaches only one or two inches in height. What this mushroom
lacks in stature can be made up for in numbers. Dense clumps will take over a spot where dead wood is available and when conditions are right. I found mature individuals as well as one such cluster beginning to push through wood chip mulch on Bethune Street.

A single Fairy Bonnet (Coprinellus disseminatus) grows on wood mulch along Bethune Street. (photo taken 09 07 2011)

A cluster of Fairy Bonnets beginning to emerge from the mulch along Bethune Street. (photo taken 09 07 2011)

Another group of Agarics common to urban areas is the genus Inocybe. Members of this group are somewhat larger and thicker and can be identified by the cap, which is usually fibrous and umbonate. The umbo is the raised knob at the cap’s center that gives the organism a tented appearance. I found one stand-out example soaking up the rain beside Christopher Street. I returned the next day with my camera. Although it had begun to deflate, the mushroom’s general appearance remained intact enough for a positive identification: Corn Silk Inocybe, Inocybe fastigiata (also listed as Inocybe rimosa).

A single Inocybe mushroom stands out in a tree pit along Christopher Street. (photo taken 09 07 2011)

The Lingzhi Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidem, has been thriving in the rain, too. I returned to the stump along West 13th Street where I found the example I wrote into the essay “’Conked’ on the Head.” That tree gravestone is now completely ringed by new growth. The conks, deep red edged with white, look particularly attractive when wet and shiny, reflecting the silvery light of a September evening.

Mushroom identification, as I have discovered, can be challenging at best. Many species do not even possess popular names and are known only by their Latin monikers. Determining whether or not an example is edible adds another exercise in uncertainty. I have left out the subject of edibility for safety reasons. There are comprehensive resources both in print and online that can provide more authoritative information. To start, here is a trio of websites with a connection to the city environment:

Mycologist Gary Lincoff – “NYC Mushroom Survey”

http://garylincoff.com/?page_id=101

NEMF: The Northeast Mycological Federation, Inc. – “Central Park in NY”

http://www.nemf.org/files/lincoff/centralpark/index.htm

Urban Mushrooms

http://urbanmushrooms.com/

– rPs 09 08 2011

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