Today’s photos of various plants and fungi come from reader Rik Gern. His notes and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them:
These pictures from Wisconsin’s Northwoods. There are two sets of mushrooms, one of fern and moss, and another of wildflowers and miscellany. All of the pictures in this series were taken in northern Wisconsin in late August.
These (photos 1-7) were all growing in close proximity. At first I thought there were several types of mushrooms in the area, but after going back and forth comparing these pictures to some online I came to the conclusion that they are all White pine bolete, or Chicken fat mushrooms (Suillus americanus) in different stages of growth. If these are indeed Chicken fat mushrooms, then they are edible, but I don’t trust my amateur identification efforts nearly enough to put that to the test!
The first one is young and smooth, but in the next picture you can see that it’s right next to a larger mushroom that’s got a slight brown crackling on the cap.
I would guess that these are in between the ages of the two mushrooms in the previous picture.
(The caps are really turning here. These mushrooms are said to be associated with pines, and sure enough, they’re surrounded by tiny little pinecones!
Underneath the cap there are pores rather than gills or blades, and this gave a clue as to the identity.
Another identifier is a scaber stalk which can be seen here (and another pine cone for good measure).
Nature conveniently left this cross section!
Last three photos: I believe these are all the same type of mushroom, the beautiful but deadly Destroying Angel (Amanita bisporigera). The first one looked like a pale ghost by the side of the road, and the last two pictures are of the same mushroom from different angles. It was growing on a tree stump, popping up thru a thick mat of moss and pine needles.
12 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos”
It’s been a long time since I’ve been up to the north woods. Beautiful place as long as you don’t have to deal with Packer fans.
Ssssshhhh…I’m related to quite a few!! I know what you mean though; the whole cheese head thing is weird, but we’re from Chicago and remember crazy fans of “da Bears”!
Very nice and educational intro to mushroom changes in appearance during growth, Rik. Thanks!
Lovely mushroom photos! The top Destroying Angel mushroom photo is so delicate. The name doesn’t seem to fit the architecture of it.
Find the elves.
Very cool! And you know how fun it is to go sprawling out on a forest floor, just to get nice pictures like this. Dignity be darned.
That never even occurred to me until I was taking pictures with a friend. When we were finished and comparing notes he showed me a bunch of pictures of myself looking like my nose was sticking in the dirt!
People should know that Amanitas have permanently pure white gills that never change color. This is important for mushroom gatherers. These photos do not show the gills as pure white however, though all the other field marks and mushroom shape are correct (stem ring and veil remnants) and tall thin stem. Common meadow mushrooms (Agaricus) do look somewhat similar but their pale gills turn color from white to pink to brown. Always take spore prints! on a dark piece of paper! If the spores are white, stay away from the mushrooms! (And take care regarding one Lepiota species which resembles Amanitas somewhat). Get a good mushroom ID book before you start gathering wild mushrooms. Don’t rely on friends or gossip.
I used to collect and eat mushrooms, and it’s very important to recognize Amanita. Fortunately, their traits are unmistakable. They also have an annulus (ring) at the top of the stalk and a cup or “vulva” into which the stem inserts underground. DO NOT EAT MUSHROOMS UNLESS YOU CAN RECOGNIZE THE POISONOUS ONES.
I went back to the original picture to see if I may have altered the color in the editing, but it’s also not pure white. I wonder if the tan/brownish color is due to the light coming from above and being filtered thru the rest of the mushroom though?
I would most definitely not trust myself to identify which mushrooms are safe to eat!