Below are photos of fungi found here and there at our place. I am not a mushroom expert or even a good amateur yet, so do not rely on these tentative identifications, which should all have “probably” or “possibly” appended. Still, fun stuff!
Amanita sp. This beautiful one has the bicycle wheel pattern on the cap and veil remnants at base forming a volva. Found it while walking either on the savanna or in the woods, but oaks were certainly not far, and possibly it was associated with a conifer.
Shaggy Manes/Inky Caps
Coprinus comatus are one of the more entertaining fungi to watch. They disappear rapidly, the cap vanishes as it self-digests, with inky spore-filled ooze at the edges. Found near compost piles (those are the barrels in the background). It turns out, my friend Eleanor informs me, shaggy manes are different from inky caps. The shaggies are the edible-with-care ones, and inky caps are smaller and less shaggy.
Edible when very fresh if you don’t drink alcohol when eating them (what’s the point, one wonders?) and also be sure of the identification by confirming with an expert first. Any mushrooms can make you ill if you are allergic to them or eat too many.
The fungus below is tiny, fuzzy and cute. This BIRD’S NEST fungus was growing on some dead wood and/or soil (the soil is attached by the mycelium. If you look closely you will see a little open cup like a vase, with one of the “eggs” or piridioles (spore capsules). To the right of the open cup are some closed nests. When rain falls on the open cup, the spore capsules pop out to disperse the spores. This one may be Cyathus striatus because of the texture, shape, and cinnamon color; although it does not look as elongated as the photos I have seen. But it does have the pleated/ribbed interior to the nest.
Daedalea quercina (thick-walled maze polypore) is the most romantically named. The genus is Greek for maze; the species name means oak. That is where I found it – this one is rather small compared to some very old ones on very large oak stumps around here. Oddly, it emitted a lovely flowery fragrance indoors for a while. Since it is a perennial and long-lived fungi, It is very tough and durable – corky as it is described in Mushrooms Demystified – besides being very beautiful.
Agaricus sp. 1 and sp. 2
After a long session with the manuals and posts to the Willamette Valley Mushroom Society FB page, I still do not know whether these are (were – they are done fruiting now) delicious A. silvicola or one of the “lose your lunch bunch” as David Arora (http://davidarora.com) likes to call them. I will have to consult an expert who may need to see the spores under a compound microscope to get the species. One of the characteristics is the yellow staining on the cap (see below). The base did not stain yellow or only slightly.
The second Agaricus below is another species, looking very similar, but the stem base stained bright yellow immediately, and then faded maybe a little more quickly than the 1st species. Neither one smelled other than mushroomy, so the keying was confusing at times.
Here is one that was alone in the forest. Note the crooked stem, yellow staining base and not a lot of yellow stain on the cap (the reverse of the one above), but apparently this changes with environmental conditions. It also has a loose ring on the stalk from the partial veil.