Mushrooms at Miracle Beach – Part One

This weekend Jocie and I were lucky enough to get a couple of breaks in the weather that allowed us to go for two family walks at nearby Miracle Beach Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. We were searching for mushrooms with the hope of actually identify them conclusively – this meant noting their characteristics in the field and then taking a sample back to the house to make spore prints.

Spore Printing Setup
Spore Printing Setup

Spore printing is best done by placing the cap of the mushroom gills facing down (after removing the stem) so that half of the cap rests on black paper and the other half on white paper. We were unsure if the spores were going to be dark or white in colour so the black and white paper ensures that we’d get a decent spore print on at least one of the sides.

The three mushrooms below are ones that we’re reasonably sure of. I’ll feature some of the unknowns in an upcoming post.

Zeller’s Boletus

Zeller's Boletus | Boletus zelleri showing the distinctive pores that characterize boletes.
Zeller's Boletus | Boletus zelleri showing the distinctive pores that characterize boletes.

Some mushrooms, like the boletes are relatively easy to identify in the field. Their distinctive pores instead of gills separate them from other mushrooms. In the case of this boletus the reddish stalk and dark brown top allowed us to identify it as Zeller’s Boletus (Boletus zelleri). It was growing in appropriate habitat on rotting wood amongst Douglas Fir.

Zeller's Boletus | Boletus zelleri showing the red stem of this species.
Zeller's Boletus | Boletus zelleri showing the red stem and dark brownish cap of this species.

Amethyst Laccaria

Amethyst Laccaria | Laccaria amthysteo-occidentalis
Amethyst Laccaria | Laccaria amthysteo-occidentalis

This mushroom was a little past peak freshness but its colour was noticeable along the edge of the trail. We’re fairly confident that this is the Amethyst Laccaria (Laccaria amthysteo-occidentalis). The colour of the surface of this mushroom is a purplish brown and the gills (shown above) are lavender in colour and well spaced. The spore print for this species is white and matches the spore print that we made.

Amethyst Laccaria | Laccaria amthysteo-occidentalis spore print showing white spores
Amethyst Laccaria | Laccaria amthysteo-occidentalis spore print showing white spores

Deceptive Pholiota

Deceptive Pholiota | Pholiota terrestris
Deceptive Pholiota | Pholiota terrestris

We found this mushroom in two places in the park, one group was located on the road running through the park and another patch was in a campsite in the campground. The physical appearance of the mushroom, its habitat and spore print all strongly suggest that this is the Deceptive Pholiota (Pholiota terrestris).

Deceptive Pholiota | Pholiota terrestris spore print - brown in colour.
Deceptive Pholiota | Pholiota terrestris spore print - brown in colour.

All in all, we had a wonderful day at Miracle Beach Provincial Park and enjoyed finding some really beautiful mushrooms. Bringing back a few (we were careful to collect one representative mushroom only if there was a large number to select from) to the house to make spore prints and attempt to identify them was fun as well.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you a few that we struggled with!