What to see during autumn and winter: Keep an eye open for a wide range of interesting fungi including scarlet elfcup, fly agaric (right), red-cracking bolete
and shaggy scalycap that thrive in this diverse woodland.
North American Boletes
: a color guide to the fleshy pored mushrooms.
Zhang et al., "Identification of different parts of edible bolete
mushrooms by UV fingerprint," Mycosyst, vol.
I was raised in Cohoes, NY by a first-generation Polish American who hunts primarily two to three species of "bolete
" mushrooms for his culinary purposes.
Like a table service they stood ranged on the meadow's linen: the round-edged russulas, silvery, yellowish, or ruby-red, like goblets brimming with various vintages; the yellow boletes
, their caps dimpled like the bottoms of upturned cups; the funnel clitocybes, slender as champagne stemware; the fleecy milk cap, round and white, broad and flat, like cream-filled teacups of Dresden porcelain; and the spherical puffballs, squat as pepperpots, replete with a powdery black spore mass.
Coverage includes edible species of new York, such as the boletes
, chanterelles and their allies, coral fungi, gilled mushrooms, giant puffballs, hypomyces, morels, polypores and tooth fungi; and the inedible and poisonous species amongst the boletes
, false morels and gilled.
Then oyster mushrooms, chicken of the woods, boletes
, parasols, meadow mushrooms, and hedgehog fungus.
Soon I could distinguish broad families--the fringed-tooth mushrooms, the spongy-bottomed boletes
, the self-describing coral fungi, the puffballs blowing spore smoke.
His research delved into four areas: (1) forest tree diseases, especially white pine blister rust, (2) decay in building timbers and toxicity of creosotes to wood-destroying fungi, (3) language of mycology, and (4) taxonomy of boletes
and hydnums (types of mushrooms and fungi).
Because certain mushrooms have a symbiotic relationship with certain types of trees, you are more likely to find, for example, bay boletes
(Xerocomus badius) under pines, tacky-green russules (Russula aeruginea) tinder beeches, or larch boletes
(Suillus grevillei) under latches.
Examples include the field mushrooms, the inky caps (so-called because they turn into a black, inky-like substance when they decompose), oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus, so-called because they taste remarkably similar to cooked oysters), fairy ring mushrooms (Marasmius oreades, which always grow in circles), chanterelles, boletes
(especially the giant bolete
, Boletus edulis, which tastes like eggplant when cooked), puffballs, morels and chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus, which really does taste like chicken).
Certain edible mushrooms of commercial value, principally boletes
and russula, have a symbiotic relationship with the cork oak on Sardinia, and researchers are attempting, so far with only limited success, to establish the black truffle, Tuber melanosporum, in the forests.
The two mushrooms in the photographs belong to the group of decomposers of ligneous compounds, namely Copri-nus disseminatus, in a forest in Gloucestershire (England, above), and polyporaceous stump boletes
, in a forest in Virginia (USA, below).