Friday, January 22, 2021

Toothy cat's tongue

The ground in the forest at the Eve River is covered, first, by a layer of duff, consisting mostly of Douglas fir needles, small branches, and the occasional fallen alder leaf. On top of that there's a soft green blanket of moss. Mushrooms sprout from the duff layer, often hidden by the moss.

Many of the mushrooms here this month are the whitish cat's tongues.

Cat's tongue, Pseudohydnum gelatinosum. Aka Toothed Jelly fungus, Quivering spine fungus.

They take their name from the texture; rubbery, with raised tooth-like spines, like the raspy top of a cat's (the animal) tongue. The spines are most noticeable on the underside of the cap and down the stem.

Spiny stem, growing through the duff.

I sometimes find one or maybe two of these in shady, mossy woods. Here, they are everywhere, outnumbering all the other mushrooms I found.

Cat's tongues and Oregon beaked moss.

Another two, with needles and moss.

The cat's tongue mushroom is off-white to slightly brownish, translucent; the cap grows off to one side, spoon-shaped. The books say they're edible, but tasteless, so why would you bother? Leave them be, little lights on the forest floor.

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El suelo en el bosque a la orilla del río Eve está cubierto de una capa gruesa de hojarasca, que consiste por la mayor parte de agujas y ramitas del abeto Douglas, con una que otra hoja caída de aliso. Encima, hay una cobija suave y verde de musgo. Hongos brotan de la capa de hojarasca, muchas veces escondidos bajo el musgo.

En esta temporada, hay muchos de los honguitos "lengua de gato", así llamados por su textura, algo así como hule con "dientes", espinitas que raspan como las lenguas de nuestros compañeros felinos. Aunque el nombre científico se refiere a gelatina, en realidad se sienten más como hule.

El hongo es de un color blanco sucio, o a veces café claro, traslúcido. El sombrerillo crece a un lado; parece cuchara. Se dice que son comestibles, pero que no tienen sabor; ¿porqué pues cosecharlos? Mejor es dejarlos crecer, como pequeñas luces en el fondo del bosque.

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