Jug Bay: mushrooms

from the deckWe were assembled before 9:00 this morning (and before staff had opened the entrance gate!) at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, situated on the east bank of the Patuxent River in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, for our first field trip in David Farr’s introductory mushrooms (and other macroscopic fungi) class.

work tableAs with Don Messersmith’s insect life class, the field trip procedure is simple: go find some specimens, bring them back to the table, and then everybody gets to see everything at once while the instructor leads the ID. David started us off with a particularly fine large (25 cm tall) poisonous Amanita, visible at the lower right corner of the table.

decurrent gillsboleteAt left, Omphalina chrysophylla is our teaching example of decurrent gills (that is, the lamellae [gills] extend down the stipe [stalk]). The specific epithet means “gold leaf,” and the gills are somewhat that color. Alex found this striking yellow Gyrodon meruloides: you’re looking at the fine network of tubes and pores on the underside of the pileus (cap). Alex didn’t report any Fraxinus in the area where he found this bolete, but the book says that these trees will be around. I had my best luck with easy-to-find wood substrates: on 1-cm sticks I found some nice Schizophyllum commune, easily grown in the lab and hence well-studied.

In my first field and desk test of Miller and Miller’s field guide, I am frustrated that the index doesn’t always include entries for genera, only species—to me, this is like trying to find a name in an Icelandic phone book.