Friday, March 3, 2017

Phaeolus schweinitzii (Dyer’s Polypore)


August.  I almost missed this fungus as I walked along the trail. But there it was…


a Phaeolus schweinitzii fruiting body. It looked as if it was growing in the soil. However, these fungi grow in wood. P. schweinitzii has a preference for growing on conifers and it’s very likely that it was growing on submerged roots from the pine stump in the background.


This fruiting body was a simple cap approximately 4.5 inches in diameter. Often, these fungi develop multiple lobes and look much more elaborate than this one. The cap has concentric zones of browns, with a yellow margin; the yellow margin is characteristic of this species. Some caps have more orange tones than this one.


The cap is often depressed in the center as this one was. In fact, it had rained the previous evening and this cap was full of water when I found it. I had to drain it and blot it ‘dry’ to capture some of its surface characteristics.


This close-up of the cap shows the ‘felted’ appearance that is indicative of the velvet surface of the cap when it's dry. It’s interesting that there is a small cream area in the upper right of the image that indicates that the cap may have been beginning to develop another lobe.


I used a mirror to photograph the underside of the cap. The pore surface is a gold color, also characteristic of this species, and also appears to have a velvet texture. The pores are slotted and someone maze-like. The surface of the pores turn brown when bruised, as is evident in the upper part of the lower image. 

This fungus is commonly called the Dyer’s Polypore because it can be used to dye wool. 

Phaeolus schweinitzii is distributed widely in the northern hemisphere, and has also been documented to occur in Europe, Africa, and Australia. 

References: 
Mushroom Expert. Phaeolus schweinitzii 
Discover Life: Phaeolus schweinitzii 
Mushroom Observer: Phaeolus schweinitzii

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Neolentinus lepideus (Train Wrecker)


September.  I’ve seen Neolentinus lepideus, the Train Wrecker, on several occasions along the trail from the picnic shelter A to the Old Fort. These are striking mushrooms. They grow mainly on conifers and, occasionally, on hardwoods. I’ve found them growing on the stumps or fallen trunks of pine trees. Previously, I’d seen them in winter and early spring so I was surprised to find these in late September.


I didn’t see them as I walked north, but I couldn’t miss them on my way back down the trail. It’s easy to see why I couldn’t miss them.


They are impressive from a distance but, up close, these were works of art.


The cap diameter of the largest mushroom was approximately 4 inches. The brown scales that develop on the caps are one of the features for identifying these mushroom.


Views of these mushrooms, from the underside.


Scales are present on the stems are another identifying feature, as are…


the serrated margins on the gills. 

The common name of this mushroom, Train Wrecker, derives from the fact that these mushrooms can grow on, and cause rotting of, treated wood used as railroad ties. Rotting of the ties has resulted in train derailments.

Neolentinus lepideus occurs frequently in the northern hemisphere, but has been documented in Australia.

References:
Messiah College: Neolentinus lepideus 
Discover Life: Neolentinus lepideus

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tylopilus rhoadsiae (Pale Bitter Bolete)


September. The last bolete that I’ve been able to identify, thanks to friends on the Facebook ‘Boletes of North America’ group, was the Pale Bitter Bolete (Tylopilus rhoadsiae).


I spotted a pair of white boletes under a small bush a few feet from the base of a Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda). They were striking because they were almost pure white against the dark background. The caps were approximately 2.5-3 inches diameter and they stood about 3 inches high.



Closer inspection showed that the caps were slightly gray with pure white stems and pore surfaces. The pore surface darkens to a pink-gray color with age due to the color of the spores.


The stems showed delicate reticulation, particularly towards the apex. 

I found several smaller boletes around the base of the nearby pine tree a little way south of the bridge to the Fishing Area. The specimens I photographed were probably associated with roots of that pine. I didn't find them in any other location along this trail.

Tylopilus rhoadsiae is one of the rare white boletes and is also unusual because it is mycorrhizal - associated with the roots – with pines. Most boletes I found in this area were mycorrhizal with hardwoods. 

Tylopilus rhoadsiae­ occurs in the Southeastern United States, Mexico, and Central America.

References 
Mushroom Expert: Tylopilus rhoadsiae 
Discover Life: Tylopilus rhoadsiae