Merville Woods Mushrooms – Part One

We took advantage of good weather last week to get out to Merville Woods, just north of Courtenay, British Columbia. This is an area that is characterized by sandy soil, mixed pine and other conifer forest and a thick under story of salal. It’s prime mushroom habitat and many commercial pickers go there for both chantrelles and salal. We found some very cool mushrooms, many of which we were able to identify.

Pungent Cortinarius

Pungent Cortinarius | Cortinarius traganus - light brown gills.
Pungent Cortinarius | Cortinarius traganus - light brown gills.

Like the name suggests, Pungent Cortinarius (Cortinarius traganus) has a strong fruity odor. Its colour is a striking lilac that stands out in the darkness of the forest. The spore print of this mushroom is rusty brown in colour.

Pungent Cortinarius | Cortinarius traganus - striking lilac in colour.
Pungent Cortinarius | Cortinarius traganus - striking lilac in colour.

Western Red-capped Cortinarius

Western Red-capped Cortinarius | Cortinarius phoeniceus var. occidentalis - showing gorgeous rich red gills.
Western Red-capped Cortinarius | Cortinarius phoeniceus var. occidentalis - showing gorgeous rich red gills.

We found a second Cortinarius at Merville Woods, the Western Red-capped Cortinarius (Cortinarius phoeniceus var. occidentalis) growing alongside the trail. This mushroom has a satiny reddish brown cap but its distinctive feature has to be its rich reddish gills. The spore print of this Cortinarius is rusty brown in colour.

Western Red-capped Cortinarius | Cortinarius phoeniceus var. occidentalis
Western Red-capped Cortinarius | Cortinarius phoeniceus var. occidentalis

Dotted-stalked Slippery Jack

Dotted-stalked Slippery Jack | Suillus granulatus showing viscid gray/brown cap.
Dotted-stalked Slippery Jack | Suillus granulatus - showing viscid gray/brown cap.

I’m reasonably certain that this is a Dotted-stalked Slippery Jack (Suillus granulatus). The cap was a slimy/slippery gray brown in colour and dried to a varnished brown. This boletus will sometimes, but not always, stain cinnamon when bruised – this one did not stain at all. The spore print was a dingy cinnamon brown colour. The Dotted-stalked Slippery Jack grows in association with pines so the habitat was definitely appropriate.

Dotted-stalked Slippery Jack | Suillus granulatus - non-staining or light cinnamon brown stain when bruised.
Dotted-stalked Slippery Jack | Suillus granulatus - non-staining or light cinnamon brown stain when bruised.

I’ll feature several other mushrooms from Merville Woods including a very cool Hydnellum and a revisit with the Rosy Gomphidius in an upcoming post. Of course there’ll be a few unknowns thrown into the mix as well!