Following are seven of the more conspicuous fungi that appeared in the yard following a long rainy period in mid and late September 2014. In most cases I give only the genus because species identification is uncertain (to me!) or is based on small technical differences. Besides the following, several or more other species also occurred but most were very small, and difficult to identify even at the genus level. Also present were other species sometimes not regarded as true mushrooms because they lack typical fruiting bodies. Some of these will be presented in an upcoming posting.
Gymnopilus dryophila?- note the bright rusty to orange-brown color of caps, gills and spores. The fungus, which is brittle and dry in texture, produces rusty spores which are visible in the second photograph. The genus consists of about 75 North American species. A colony has developed in the same location on the same live oak log about 5 or 6 times in the past year!
The same colony as in the previous photo 3 days later, Note heavy spore dusting on the log.
Russula- a genus of about 200 North American mycorrhizal fungi species many of which occur in the southeastern states. Many species are red(dish) as in the first photograph. Members of this genus around here (central Florida) tend to be small but stout with thick, short stipes and a dry pileus. In many species the cuticle can be peeled away from the pileus and how far the skin can be peeled is a trait that helps in species identification. Red Russulas frequently turn up in the yard.
Here is a second Russula ( probably R.mariae) that is purple rather than red and produces yellowish spores. It is uncommon here.
Leucocoprinus- a small genus of especially fragile gilled species. In the one appearing in our lawn beneath an oak (photograph), there is a thin, yellowish to creamy-colored cap with a darker yellow center and well-spaced, thin gills. Note the very slender stipe with an annulus ringing the stipe halfway up. Mushrooms of this genus last only about 2-3 days and often are damaged by fungivores the first evening of emergence.
Boletus- the major genus of the Boletaceae, representing the big group of pore-bearing mushrooms. Note that in the second photo, caps have grown together, an atypical tendency. The boletes are mostly ectomycorhizal (undoubtedly with oaks given where the species occur in the yard). There are about 130 species in the genus worldwide. Reddish caps with yellowish pore walls and surfaces is a pattern common to many species of the genus. In contrast to Russula and some others, the boletes tend to be soft, moist and rather heavy and usually with olive to brown spores. Many species turn brownish or bluish if damaged, a species identification feature.
Gyroporus castaneus– representing another genus in the Boletaceae, this species is common in the yard and has an orange to yellowish or tawny color to the pileus. The species grows in the shade on leaf material and probably is ectomycorrhizal with oaks. This species is considered highly edible in Europe and the US.
Amanita- in this genus there are many species that are deadly poisonous and even lethal to humans if ingested and yet, some that are edible. A misidentification could prove to be a fatal error as edible and harmful species often are hard to distinguish. The so-called “death-angels” include a number of white species that are hard to distinguish but should all be recognized as seriously poisonous if eaten. Many of these are found in the southeastern states but elsewhere as well. Here is one that occurred beneath a live oak tree in the lawn. Note the apron-like annulus encircling the stipe and the bulbous base of the stipe with remnants of the universal veil that once enclosed the entire immature mushroom. Interestingly, although most of the other mushrooms discussed showed some signs of herbivore damage rather quickly , the “death-angel” stayed undamaged.