Well, we’ve had a pretty good example of a drought year here in Lake of Bays and Algonquin Highlands. The rain, when we’ve had it, has not been well-timed for the berry crops, but the mushrooms have been having a great time now that the rain and cooler weather is here!
Our Shiitakes had an amazing run this fall, as did many other Fun Guys. The ‘Shrooming since the beginning of September has been fantastic!!
I had a client send a set of mushroom pix to me through email this Thanksgiving weekend, wanting an ID from me, almost convinced that they were Shiitakes.
The mushrooms were growing from what seemed to be a Sugar maple stump that had been cut three inches above grade several years earlier. The mushrooms were twisted, and grooved with smooth, shiny, beige caps, growing in dense clusters, almost like Jack-O’ Lanterns, they could’ve been Honey mushrooms (which would be why the tree needed to be taken down), but were past their prime if they were…
I didn’t have time to ID the subject specimen with any certainty as to whether or not it was edible AT ALL as I was out the door to a memorial, but I knew how to answer the question.
I hastily wrote out my cautionary observations:
“Note the shiny, ‘wet’ caps and the contrast between the caps and the dark, twisty, grooved stem.
Shiitakes are buff, dry, solid, monochromatic through cap to stem, dry, and clean.
Cheers to a great Thanksgiving—and DON’T eat the mushrooms!”
Mushroom identification takes years of study where one becomes very familiar with their fungi before any should be passed over one’s teeth.
I don’t like to I.D. any mushrooms during my botanical walks as edible, it has been a general rule of thumb for me. I do like to point out each specimens key characteristics and encourage the group to familiarize themselves with the look, feel, and smell of each fungi we find.
Let’s run through a quick course of fall mushrooms from Botanigal’s 2016 Fall Travels… These images were taken in Algonquin Highlands, Lake of Bays, and Ottawa, as noted in the captions.
Please read the Ottawa Citizen’s obituary for artist and naturalist John Crosby, dear father to my best friends, and a key role-model to my LOB-Ottawa pals, along with my fellow naturalists and birders.
John regularly haunted Mud Lake as long as he was able.
He was an amazing Canadian artist.
May the forest be with you Joe.