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.

Messiah College: Neolentinus lepideus 
Discover Life: Neolentinus lepideus

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