Last weekend Jocie and I collected some mushrooms and made some spore prints. We were lucky to identify a few reasonably conclusively. Today I’m going to introduce you to some of the mushrooms that we struggled to identify. Even though I can’t tell you what these mushrooms are I think that you’ll enjoy them as much as we did!
We struggled with this small mushroom. Initially we thought that it was the Cinnamon Cortinarius (Cortinarius cinnamomeus) but also considered C. croceus. The two species are hard to separate – many of our sources pointed to a difference in gill colour as one characteristic to tell them apart. C. cinnamomeus has gills that are more orange in colour than C. croceus. Looking at the image below, I’m now starting to lean back to C. cinnamomeus. What do you think?
This is the point in mushroom identification when you start to doubt yourself! Before you comment on the gill colour Google both C. croceus and C. cinnamomeus to see the wide range of interpretation on identifying these two species of Cortinarius. I think that we’ll just have to leave this one as a Cortinarius sp. Regardless, it did have a beautiful spore print that was a rich cinnamon brown in colour.
Unknown Yellow Mushroom
Despite the fact that this little yellow mushroom did not appear to be growing on rotten wood it totally stumped us – we’re not even sure of the genus. I didn’t take a photograph of the top of the mushroom but it is visible in the spore print photograph on my previous post. It’s the little yellow mushroom on the far right hand side of the image. The spore print is a beautiful bright rusty colour (see below).
Unknown White Mushroom
Our final mystery mushroom was a beautiful white with fine gills. The cap was greyish white and viscid (slimy) when wet. It was growing in a mossy area underneath some Douglas Firs. The spore print of this mushroom was also white but unfortunately that didn’t help us to identify it even to genus.
The neat thing about starting to look more closely at mushrooms is that with time you start to recognize some of the species (or at least the genus). It’s not an instantaneous process and does take some analytical work but that’s part of the fun. We’ll probably take another look at these mushrooms when we find them again, make more notes, and try to find the diagnostic features that we missed this time. The other aspect of mushroom hunting is that it puts a whole new twist on walking in the woods and an appreciation of the diversity of life in the forest. Mushrooms are everywhere – you just have to look for them!