Readers’ wildlife photos

January 24, 2022 • 9:00 am

Today we’re featuring pictures of fungi by reader David Jorling. His notes and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them. The identifications of many of the mushrooms are unknown or ambiguous, so fungus-friendly readers can help. Thanks!

At last, here are some photos I took of mushrooms while taking a walk through Tryon Creek State Park in Oregon last fall.  This park is located on the northern border of Lake Oswego, and there is a trailhead about 200 yards from my house.  The identifications I have listed below are from one of those fold-out laminated plant and wildlife guides that are purchased at the visitor center.  But my identifications should be taken with a grain of salt, as I cannot claim to have any expertise with respect to mushroom identification.

An Overhead shot of what I suspect are “Cluster Coincaps” which grow “In dense clumps on decaying conifer wood”.


I suspect these are “Cat’s Tongues“. (The foldout’s apostrophe, not mine.  I suspect all cats have only one).  The card said, “One surface has short teeth”.  I did not know that when I took the picture so I did not get close enough to inspect. The card also says it grows “On well-rotted wood” which is not the case here, but it is the whitest mushroom on the card and best matches the shape.

I think these are “Deadly Skullcaps” which grow “On wood, often in clusters”.  The card says they are “lethal little brown mushrooms”.

I think this is a “Turkeytail“, which grows “On decaying Hardwood” which appears to be the case here. Look closely and you can see raindrops on the undersides of the edges.

I am really not sure of the identity of the mushrooms in the next four photos, although “sex toys” come to mind for the first two.  These may be “Wine Slimecaps” but the caps don’t match the guide. The other possibility is “Matte Stickycaps”  which the guide says “grow under Douglas Firs”.  In this case, they are growing on one.  The caps match the texture of the caps in the photo, but the guide says they can be up to 51/2″ wide.  None of these came close.

This photo caused some delay in getting these to you.  I tried to magnify it but the result was always a bit out of focus.  Tough call on these.  Possibly “Fairy-ring  Mushroom” (which grows in grass” – but not here), or perhaps “Mower’s Mottlegill”, but the guide says they “grow in grassy areas like lawns”.   Does moss count?

I think this is a “Woodland Lepidella” although the texture of the cap doesn’t quite match.  The guide says it grows “on soil in conifer forests, clearings, and roadsides”, which was the case here.

9 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Very lovely photos. I wouldn’t fee bad about not being certain on the IDs. Apparently there are so many mushroom types/fungi out there (estimated between 2.2 and 3.8 million or so species of fungi) and only about 150,000 have been described as of 2020 that I heard (on QI, admittedly) that once a group of mycologists checked some store-bough mushrooms and found a couple of species among them undescribed by science.

    We need more mycologists.

  2. The UK has well over a thousand species of ‘macro fungi’ so I would guess that the western states of the US have at least that many. A laminated fold-out sheet is therefore probably not going to be a sufficient resource to permit reliable identifications of most of the small species without obvious distinctive features that you come across as I am sure there will be many very similar species. It is still possible to enjoy looking at them without knowing the exact ID and you have provided some lovely pictures to enable us to do just that!

  3. Since these are western US fungi, easterners cant identify them. But in any case you MUST see the underside of the cap! The gills’ color and density and attachment to stem are mandatory for any identification. Some mushrooms are spongy underneath (Boletus etc), no gills. AND: you must
    take a spore print before eating! Color of spores narrows down the field to the particular genus and allows you instantly to eliminate poisonous ones.

  4. An excellent fungus reference is Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora. Over 2,000 species have write ups and several thousand more can be identified (with a little practice) using the keys. It is a valuable tool in most of the United States but west coast fungi receive somewhat better coverage. I am not a mycologist and I find it easy to use most of the time. LBMs still baffle me.

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