Here are some of the mushrooms types that appeared in my central Florida yard in the very wet, sultry July and August of 2015. All photographs are taken of the individuals found in the yard although many of these were collected for closer examination and photographing. To find many such gems in your yard may require hands-and-knees on the ground and kicking aside leaves and twigs that you’ve allowed to accumulate.
Lentinus crinitus, a saprotroph, usually growing on dead wood but may also appear on lawns in which case the fungal mycelium usually is associated with buried wood. The texture of the Lentinus mushrooms (more formerly, the basidiomata) is dry, similar to leather or cardboard, and the mushrooms persist for a couple or more months. The cap is covered with dense bristle-like scales and the gills are decurrent, i.e., their attachment extends somewhat down the stipe.
Pleurotus ostreatus, the common oyster mushroom, is named based on appearance rather than flavor although it is quite edible. This specimen, smaller than many of the species, appeared on a dead oak branch long on the ground. The mushrooms are soft, pure white and rather short-lived. It is about 6 cm along the long axis. Following are photographs of another oyster mushroom that appeared on a upright still living red maple limb in September. The width of this specimen was 16 cm wide. It appeared a few inches from where another of the species appeared in 2013.
Collybia sp- the species of this abundant mushroom is uncertain but they appear repeatedly in the same area beneath a live oak tree in lawn well enriched by oak leaf and twig litter. The number of individuals was too high to count but was well into the hundreds. Despite the red-brown cap and stipe, the spores are white to cream-colored. This species is somewhat unusual in having hair-like extensions at the base of the stipe and occurs in other seasons as well.
Leucocoprinus– a short-lived species with a conspicuous veil-remnant adhering to the stipe and a fragile cap topped by a central, peaked umbo. Unlike all the other species discussed here, this Leucocoprinus was found in a plant pot.
Amanita sp.- one of the many white (and hard to identify) Amanitas (death-angels) with a conspicuous annulus on the stipe and, in this species, tannish gills. Functionally speaking, the Amanita genus consists of fungi that are mycorrhizal, rather than saprotrophic, i.e., they provide vascular plants with essential mineral nutrients by transfer from the fungal mycelia that penetrate the roots.
Agaricus pocillator? Agaricus is a large genus of gilled mushrooms that often but not always have a large mid-stipe annulus and dark, often chocolate brown-colored gills. The mushroom body is soft, and relatively short-lived. Initially gills may be pinkish, tan or even white but darken with maturity.
Lepiota sp. This diminutive mushroom belongs to a group of small forest Lepiotas that are deadly poisonous and collectively distributed throughout much of the United States. Many of the Lepiotas are known as the parasol mushrooms. Lepiota, like Agaricus, is a large genus (i.e., includes many species) that is commonest in warm temperate climates and is saprotrophic in nutrition.
Geastrum- included are two species that appeared a few feet apart in a shaded area of the yard where there was relatively little grass or leaf accumulation. The genus is closely related to the puffballs (Lycoperdon) but the spore case in the earth-star has two layers, the outer of which splits into rays which assist in exposing the spore case aperture and the spores within to rain drops. Note in the larger species (probably G. saccatum,) the presence of a beaked and fringed aperture through which the dark brown spores escape, while in the small species, a simple opening in the spore case is found.
The last photograph is of a mushroom still unidentified but striking enough to warrant inclusion based on appearance alone. It may be another member of Collybia.