Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wildflower Wednesday

What do you mean that's not a wildflower?!  It grew there all by itself with no help from anyone.  And it's got lovely colour.
Honey mushrooms and Turkey Tails?  Sounds like an
interesting dinner but I'm not sure I would eat these for
fear of misidentification.

Now that we are deep into fall the mushrooms and fungi are bursting into bloom.  Some of them are extremely eye catching and beautiful to behold.

Meadow mushroom?  Quite possibly, but I still wouldn't eat it.
When I see these lovely specimens I generally drop to my knees and imagine a world of fairies and gnomes.  Despite the fact that this isn't my yard, or my house.  Gosh I hope no one was looking.

Flavivolata I think.  But I could be wrong. 
Some of them aren't as pretty to look at but they're certainly just as interesting.

Morel?  Right shape but highly unlikely.
The mushroom cap in the photo above looks pretty slimey but how about that lacey skirt hanging beneath it.  Beautiful artistry to my eye.

I attempted to identify my finds (as you may have guessed) but after spending an hour perusing the internet and comparing photos I just couldn't be sure.  And that's part of the mystery surrounding mushrooms.  Some of them are very good to eat.  Some of them will make you see things you can only dream about.  How to tell the difference?  Looking at photos on the internet or in books certainly helps but I read over and over and over again that yummy mushrooms and toxic ones often look the same and if you don't know anything about identifying mushrooms then ask an expert.  Where are these mushroom experts?  And where do they learn this coveted information?  Seems like it must be a very hands on type learning experience but learn it where?  A google search for mushroom identification gave me listings for poison control and sites discussing the gathering of magic mushrooms.  Not so helpful.

In the meantime I'm happy to just look at them.  I think what I like best about mushrooms is they always make an interesting photography subject.

If you would like to participate in Wildflower Wednesday please pop on over to Gail's blog, Clay and Limestone, where every fourth Wednesday of the month we celebrate the wild side of our gardens!


  1. Oh, what lovely specimens! I too think mushrooms are very photogenic. I once worked for a group of scientists, and one of them was a mushroom expert...not for a living, mind you, though he was a biologist. The mushroom thing was a hobby of his, and we all thought it was a bit weird. The right person to get lost in the wild with, though.

  2. They are wonderful....Have you by chance caught the TED talk "How Mushrooms can save The World." ? Excellent...So very glad you are a wildflower enthusiast! gail

  3. Floridagirl - Being an expert in mushrooms is a bit weird, simply because there are so few of them I think! But what a diverse subject. I often wish I knew more.

    Gail - Thanks so much for hosting this exciting and informative meme. My husband is a TED enthusiast. Watches it every morning as opposed to news. Says he got sick of all the negative things he heard on the tv every morning. I don't believe he's seen this one though - I'll look for it so we can watch together on the weekend.

  4. An excellent post, Marguerite. Despite my huge interest in mushrooms and other plantlike organisms, I'm not good at identifying mushrooms beyond a very small few.
    Sadly, the mycology professor at Acadia passed away a few years ago. But if you're on Facebook, look up Dinamarca Lorenzen. She and her family were the Lorenzen Pottery in Lantz, NS and she's an amazing identifier of mushrooms. Maybe she can help.
    There's also the NS Museum, where there is an impressive collection of the Lorenzen sculptures.
    Meanwhile, remember the saying: There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold, mushroom hunters.

  5. Beautiful photos. Mushrooms are so underrated. Also lichens can be spectacular in color. I really enjoyed this post.

  6. Jodi - Thanks for the feedback! There are so many plants to learn about, I can't even begin to wrap my head around learning about the hundreds of fungus. Yet every time I see them I'm drawn to them. We're thinking about another trip to Nova Scotia next spring, I'll make plans to visit the museum then.

    Lifeshighway - I had a photo of a lichen I almost included but decided against. They are indeed very beautiful too and just as interesting.