Sunday, October 02, 2016

Mighty miniatures

The forest along the south bank of the Campbell River is made up of mixed evergreen and deciduous trees, mostly alder, big-leaf maple, and Douglas fir. Beneath them, moss-blanketed fallen trees and branches crumble softly into the soil, helped along by clusters of miniature mushrooms.

It gives some perspective on the importance of fungi when we consider that without them the world's forest ecosystems would collapse. (From Trees for Life)

Tiny, fragile, long-stemmed grey mushrooms.

Yellow mushrooms, with red-eyed fly.

Another branch, another cluster.

I picked one to see the gills. They're a pale cream colour, with a greenish tinge.

Witches butter. Almost every clump of moss had a dab or two.

Unidentifiable mushroom, so loved by slugs that only a few scraps of cap are left. With a baby banana slug, just leaving.

The underside of another slug delight in the same clump.

A bolete with a striped red stalk, and yellow tubes. Note the fly: red eyes, black thorax, orange abdomen. Compare to the one above: red eyes, orange thorax, black abdomen.

Except for the witches butter, which is unmistakable, I've given up trying to make a precise identification for these. I explained why in 2007.

How many different mushrooms are there in British Columbia? Nobody knows for sure, but the number of species is in the thousands, not hundreds. ... There are many more mushrooms out there than we imagined. If you cannot identify your shroom after carefully looking in a mushroom book, do not feel discouraged. Even the experts cannot identify a large number of them, because there are many that have yet to be named. Of those which are named, a large percentage require microscopic study before they can be distinguished from their close relatives. (From Terry Taylor's Ecology Notes)

Shelf polypores tomorrow.


  1. The interesting thing to me is that mushroom identification is identifying an organism by its gonads. I have to remind myself that 99% of this thing is invisible.

  2. the baby banana slug is a treasure


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