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

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.

Mushroom Expert: Tylopilus rhoadsiae 
Discover Life: Tylopilus rhoadsiae