Mushrooms of the Arboretum
Come and see what's in "bloom",BFS
not a flower, but a friend
of the leaves, 'tis the lowly mushroom.
To when in nature life meets end,
fungi grow in a leaf-pile tomb,
behind every tree, rock, and bend.
Yet don't consider death with gloom,
for in passing's respite it will mend
with life's anew: the lowly mushroom.
As you walk through the wooded trails, take a close look to see if you can spot some of the mushrooms and toadstools in the arboretum. Since fungi do not contain chlorophyll, fungi must obtain their nutrients from other sources: organic matter or living organims.
What is the difference between a toadstool and a mushroom?
There is no difference between the two terms, but mushroom is often restricted to an edible species of fungi. Please note that not all common names that are referred to as mushrooms are edible. For example, the Jack O'Lantern mushroom is poisonous.
Artomyces pyxidatus is a coral mushroom that is found growing on wood, usually hard woods, in Spring, Summer, and Autumn throughout North America; though more rare on the Western Coast. The colors of this fungi range from whitish to yellowish, and the tops of it's branches feature a distinctive "crown" with 3 to 6 points.
Hericium americanum North America's only Hericium species and found only in the east of the Great Plains. It is found growing alone or gregariously, fruiting from wounds from live hardwoods, dead hardwood stumps and logs, and, though quite rare, conifer wood. It is also commonly mistaken for Hericium erinaceus. The white hanging spines grow densely in clusters or rows, discoloring yellowish to brownish with age.
Laetiporus sulphureus, or commonly known as sulphur polypore, sulphur shelf, and chicken mushroom (hen of the woods), produces a mass of overlapping vivid yellow to orange fruiting bodies that grows from a single stumpy base on logs, stumps, and trunks of many types of trees. Found Spring through Autumn.
Leucoagaricus americanus, appears in late summer and early fall in a variety of places. It is similar to the Parasol Mushroom, except that the lower portion of the stem is swollen instead of entirely slender. It can be found as a singleton, in pairs, or groups. The cap becomes scaly with reddish/brownish scales and a smooth reddish/brownish center and with further age the cap becomes very ragged and shaggy.
Lycoperdon pyriforme, or the pear-shaped puffball, is the only puffball on decaying wood, not on the ground, and is found in large groups. The pear-shaped fuiting bodies are off-white to pale borwn and a bit warty at first, but later smooth. At the top is a small orifice where the spores are released. Found Summer through Autumn.
Omphalotus illudens, known as the Jack O'Lantern mushroom, is very similar looking to Cantharellus cibarius, the chanterelle, except that the Jack O' Lantern mushrooms grows in large dense clusters. The mushroom is also known for it's bioluminescence. The blue-green glow of the gills is only observable in low-light conditions when your eyes become dark-adapted.
Phaeolus schweinitzii, or commonly known as velvet-top fungus and dyer's polypore, is a polypore mushroom with brown to reddish brown color and a velvity cap that becomes bald with age. Found near base of conifers, such as loblolly and white pines, the mushroom is parasitic on the roots and lower potions of the heartwood and can also be found on dead wood.