Showing posts with label Fungus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fungus. Show all posts

Chanterelle Mushrooms

Scientific Name(s): Cantharellus cinnabarinus, Cantharellus texensis, Cantharellus lateritius, Cantharellus cibarius
Abundance: uncommon
What: above ground caps and stems
How: cooked
Where: woodlands, near oaks; some yards
When: spring, summer
Nutritional Value: minor
Dangers:

COLLECTING MUSHROOM REQUIRES 100% CERTAINTY. WWW.FORAGINGTEXAS.COM ACCEPTS NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR IDENTIFICATION ERRORS BY ANY READERS.

Cantharellus cibarius.
Mushroom Golden Chanterelle

Mushroom Golden Chanterelle

Note how the gills run down into the stem.
Mushroom Golden Chanterelle

Mushroom Golden Chanterelle

Mushroom Golden Chanterelle

Mushroom - Chanterelle - Cody Hammer

Mushroom - Chanterelle - Cody Hammer

Mushroom - Chanterelle - Cody Hammer

Mushroom Golden Chanterelle

Mushroom - Chanterelles

Cross-section showing the false gills. There is no demarcation between the cap and the "gill" structures, they are all one continuous unit.
Mushroom Golden Chanterelle

Cantharellus lateritius false gills aren't as produced as those of other chanterelles.
Mushroom - Chanterelles Cantharellus lateritius

Mushroom - Chanterelles Cantharellus lateritius

Mushroom - Chanterelles Cantharellus lateritius

Mushroom - Chanterelles Cantharellus lateritius

Mushroom - Chanterelles

Mushroom - Chanterelles Cantharellus lateritius


Cantharellus texensis
Mushroom - Chanterelle Cantharellus cinnabarinus, Cantharellus texensis

Mushroom - Chanterelle Cantharellus cinnabarinus, Cantharellus texensis

Mushroom - Chanterelle Cantharellus cinnabarinus, Cantharellus texensis

Mushroom - Chanterelle Cantharellus cinnabarinus, Cantharellus texensis

Mushroom - Chanterelle Cantharellus cinnabarinus, Cantharellus texensis


Walking through the Texas hard wood forests after several days of summer rain, a forager's eye will invariably spot gold and bright red mushrooms growing up from the forest floor, especially along ravines and washes. Most commonly, they will be near oak trees as these fungi treasures have developed a symbiotic relationship trading needed chemicals with the oak roots. They seem to like daytime temperatures between 80F and 100F. I personally use Mother's Day as the signal to start looking and September 1st as the end date.

There are several key physical traits you need to look for on chanterelles to properly identify these awesome, edible mushrooms. That they grow out of the ground in hardwood forests has already been stated. They do NOT grow on living or dead wood. All chanterelles have false gills, meaning their cap and gill structures are one continuous unit. They don't have gills but rather the underside of the cap is very wrinkled to the point of looking like gills. When cut in half it is easy to see there's no change in between the cap and the false gill material. These false gills will run down and merge into the stem, a term described as "decurrent". The stem lacks any ring or bulb at it's base. Several mushrooms may be joined together at the base of their stems. The caps are shaped like an upside down bowl when very young but soon invert into a funnel (convex) shape. Spore prints will be light gray/white in color.

Chanterelles sautéed in butter with a bit of garlic and a splash of homemade wine is very hard to beat. These mushrooms can be used in all the "normal" ways that mushrooms are cooked. The golden chanterelles has a mild, almost fruity flavor while the red cinnabarinus have a spicy, peppery flavor. They dry well for longterm storage and are usually rehydrated in hot water before use.

There are two poisonous mushrooms in my opinion that a novice might mistake for chanterelles. These poisonous mushrooms are Sulfur Tufts (Hypholoma fasciculare) and Jack O'Lanterns (Omphalotus illudens). Let's look at those, starting with the Sulfur Tuft mushroom.

Sulfur Tufts (POISONOUS!) going off buried pine root.
Mushroom Sulfur Tuft -Toxic

Mushroom Sulfur Tuft -Toxic

Unlike chanterelles, sulfur tufts grow on the dead wood of pines. Their caps will look similar to chanterelle but sulfur tufts have true gills and these gills may start yellowish but turn greenish then darken greatly as spore production gets heavy. The gills come to a sharp stop at the stem. Spore prints will be purple-brown.

Jack O'Lantern (POISONOUS!)


Like the sulfur tufts and again unlike chanterelles, Jack O'lanterns grow on dead/dying hardwood. They are dark orange in color, and have true gills which end at the stem. Jack o'lantern spore prints will be pale, creamy, or yellowish.
Mushroom Omphalotus olearius MIMIC IGFB25
By Antonio Abbatiello [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Buy my book! Idiots Guide Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

Tinder/Hoof Mushrooms

Scientific Name(s): Fomes fomentarius
Abundance: uncommon
What: mushroom
How: infusion medicinally, smoke to repel mosquitos, inner layer to catch a spark
Where: woods
When: winter, spring, summer, fall
Nutritional Value: not applicable
Dangers: not eaten, but infusion is used internally and externally to fight infections


COLLECTING MUSHROOM REQUIRES 100% CERTAINTY. WWW.FORAGINGTEXAS.COM ACCEPTS NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR IDENTIFICATION ERRORS BY ANY READERS.

Tinder (Hoof) mushrooms on a dying tree.
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

Side view. Note the layers and gray color.
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

Top-angled view. The greenish color near the top is from mildew.
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

Looking at the underside, note the tiny holes aka pores. This is in the class of polypore mushrooms.
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

Though oddly shaped, this is still a tinder/hoof mushroom.
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

Cut in half, the lower, dark section consists of hundreds of tightly packed tubes and the upper, brown section is called "amadou".
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof

The amadou layer will catch a spark from flint and steel.
Mushroom - Tinder Fungus Hoof


Tinder hoof mushrooms are one of several different shelf polypore mushrooms found on dead/dying trees. The distinguishing characteristics of these is the layers of grow that result in a thick/tall mushroom rather than a large fan shape. These can be found any time of the year on Texas trees, preferring hardwoods such as oaks, hickories, maples, elms, and sweet gums to pine, cedar, or cypress. The use of these mushrooms can be traced back thousands of years, even being part of Otzi, the Alps caveman corpse's kit.

Hoof mushrooms have several main uses, one of which is medicinal and the others are bushcraft. An infusing made from fresh or dried hoof mushrooms by boiling a tablespoon of chopped-up mushroom in a cup of water produces a strong broth with both antibacterial and antiviral properties. This broth can be drunk to fight internal infections as well as a wash for infected wounds.

This mushroom has some awesome bushcraft use, the first being it's one of the few natural products that will catch a spark, hence the name tinder mushroom. The inner, fibrous "amadou" layer, when dried can be used to start fires from any spark or ember generating source such as flint and steel, flint on quartz, firesteel, or fire-bows. The amadou is pounded into a flat fabric that has lots of fuzzy fiber ends to catch fire.

If you already have a fire going but want to transport the fire elsewhere, hoof/tinder mushrooms will smolder for a long time if ignited. Packed in so moss, you now have a hot coal you can carry with you to start a fire at the next campsite without the effort and uncertainty of making a fire from scratch.

The amadou also has a history of being pounded into a felt-like material used to make clothing and bags. It'll take a lot of mushrooms to get a decent-sized piece of fabric to cover yourself but fewer if you're okay with being indecent. If you look on Etsy.com you can find amadou hats and other gear, though I can't vouch they're made from real amadou.



Buy my book! Idiots Guide Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

Horse Mushrooms

Scientific Name(s): Agaricus arvensis
Abundance: uncommon
What: mushroom
How: cooked
Where: yards
When: summer after rain
Nutritional Value: carbohydrates, minerals
Dangers: mimics include the deadly death cap and destroying angel mushrooms (Amanita species). Choose wisely.


COLLECTING MUSHROOM REQUIRES 100% CERTAINTY. WWW.FORAGINGTEXAS.COM ACCEPTS NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR IDENTIFICATION ERRORS BY ANY READERS.

Horse mushroom top view.
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)

Side view of the mushroom. Note the sheath remains go upwards rather than hanging down.
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)

Underside of same mushroom.
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)

Close-up of stem-gill junction. Note how the gills stop before reaching the stem.
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)

Close-up of bisected cap. Horse mushrooms have true gills.
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)

Another close-up of the gills.
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)

Extreme close-up of gills at cap's edge.
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)

Another view of the horse mushroom.
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)

Top view of a younger horse mushroom. Note the pinkish color of the gills.
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)

Underside of same mushroom.
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)

The gills start pinkish, turn brown, then end a very dark brown color.
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)

Spore print is very dark brown, almost black.
Mushroom - Horse (Agaricus arvensis)

Horse mushrooms are one of the fungi that pop up in people's yards three days after summer rain. Of course, there are several extremely poisonous, look-alike mushrooms that also like yards so proper identification is crucial. I consider this to be an advanced-level mushroom.

The key identifiers of a horse mushroom:
1. Gills start out pink but turn a dark, chocolatey brown color.
2. Gills are true (separate tissue from cap).
3. Gills end just before the stem.
4. Gills don't run the entire length of the cap.
5. The annulus/ring of the veil on the stem runs upwards rather than hanging down.
6. Cap top is white to yellowish with brownish specks of the veil.
7. No volva (cup-like remains of veil) on base of stem.
8. Spore print is dark brown to almost black in color.
9. A cut base won't turn yellow.
10. A scratched cap may turn very slightly pale yellow.

Like other wild mushrooms, always cook horse mushrooms to both kill any insect inhabitants and to destroy some weakly poisonous compounds found in ALL (wild and domestic) mushrooms. As mentioned earlier, these are generally a summertime mushroom in Texas, appearing three days after a good rain.

Now, because I don't want you to die, here's signs you have one of the deadly Amanita mushrooms:
1. Gills are white.
2. There's a volva at the base of the stem.
3. Veil annulus/ring hangs downward.
4. Usually bulbous at base of stem.
5. If the scratched cap turns neon yellow it's likely an Agaricus xanthodermus which is also poisonous.
If you see any of these on the mushroom just let it be.

Once you've properly identified horse mushroom feel free to use it like any store-bought "button" mushroom. Ideally you'll find the horse mushrooms when they're still small and round. Slice them up and sauté them in butter with garlic, throw them on a pizza, add them to stuffing or soup! I'm still trying to find a way to preserve them. The internet suggests freezing them but I personally think that's a terrible thing to due to a mushroom. Pickling them like Chicken of the Woods might be better.


Buy my book! Idiots Guide Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

Morel Mushrooms

Scientific Name(s): Morchella esculenta
Abundance: uncommon
What: mushroom body
How: sauteed, roasted
Where: woods, fields, especially after fires
When: spring
Nutritional Value: carbohydrates, fiber, iron, potassium, vitamin D
Dangers: Beware False Morels (Gyromitra esculenta, Gyromitra carolina, Verpa species, Helvella species)

COLLECTING MUSHROOM REQUIRES 100% CERTAINTY. WWW.FORAGINGTEXAS.COM ACCEPTS NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR IDENTIFICATION ERRORS BY ANY READERS.

Clusters of Morels.
Mushrooms - Morels Courtesy Brandy McDaniel and Jacob Valdez
Photo courtesy Brandy McDaniel and Jacob Valdez.

Close-up of Morel mushroom cluster. Note the yellow color indicating they are ripe.
Mushrooms - Morels Courtesy Brandy McDaniel and Jacob Valdez
Photo courtesy Brandy McDaniel and Jacob Valdez.

Close-up of individual mushroom. Note how ridges circle back to form entirely enclosed spaces.
Mushrooms - Morels Courtesy Brandy McDaniel and Jacob Valdez
Photo courtesy Brandy McDaniel and Jacob Valdez.

Close-up of Morel stems.
Mushrooms - Morels Courtesy Brandy McDaniel and Jacob Valdez FT
Photo courtesy Brandy McDaniel and Jacob Valdez.

Morel mushroom cut in half to show completely hollow interior.
Mushrooms - Morels Courtesy Brandy McDaniel and Jacob Valdez
Photo courtesy Brandy McDaniel and Jacob Valdez.

In the spring just as dewberries flower Morel mushrooms appear. Gray to almost black at first, in just a few days they quickly grow and indicate their readiness for picking by turning a yellowish color. Looking like a conical honeycomb on top of a thick stem, Morel mushrooms prefer growing in areas which had burned the previous year. The highly caustic (bleach-like) sodium and calcium hydroxide leached from the wildfire's ashes seem to trigger Morels' growth after a long winter's nap. Here in Texas Morels are easily found around Dallas and farther north but traveling south they haven't been reported between Waco and the Gulf of Mexico. In the Texas Hill Country look on the ground under juniper/cedar trees. Morels generally require at least six weeks of freezing temperatures to grow but they have adapted to our shorter winters.

Growing up, dad would sautée Morels in a butter or bacon grease with garlic and I find that hard to beat. They can also be grilled or roasted but due to their thin walls cooking them over fire can be tricky. Make sure you have plenty of these mushrooms to practice on open-fire techniques otherwise you'll kick yourself if even one burns up.

Due to the high desirability of these mushrooms, "Morel rustling" is a common crime which results in tens of thousands of dollars in fines being handed out to people picking them illegally in state and city parks. The only public lands you can legally harvest Morels (and all other mushrooms, too) are National forests and grasslands.

Morels are very distinctive but novice hunters caught up in "Morel Fever" may mistake several other mushroom species for the golden prize of Morels. All false Morel species should be considered potentially deadly. Things to remember:
1. Only Morels will be completely hollow from base of stem to top of their conical head whereas false Morel mushrooms will have solid stems which pass through the caps and attach to the top inner surface of the hollow, cup-like cap.
2. The interior and exteriors of Morel stems have tiny bumps while false Morels will have cottony fillings.
3. The indentations of true Morels take the form of pits and ridges forming complete enclosures whereas false Morels will have long, wavy ridges that don't circle back to make enclosed spaces.


Buy my book! Idiots Guide Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.



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