Saturday, April 16, 2011

They must be over there

I think this is a Naematoloma disprsum.
Posted by Melissa

Seward Park is on a piece of land that sticks out into Lake Washington in the south part of Seattle.  It is filled with lush ferns and moss and douglas firs that stretch upwards as far as the eye can see.  But the truth is I hardly looked up.  When mushroom hunting your focus is on the ground. Eyes slowly wandering through leaves and fallen branches and then quickly darting here and there hoping, with fingers crossed, that you will stop on the right spot.

Like a roulette table, round and round the eyes are spinning, and I clench my heart muscles and wish that I'll land on the money spot and find a mushroom.  As Amy and I were cracking jokes, walking down the path, (and off path, don't tell on us please) I could feel the hopeful feeling swelling and releasing the tight wishing sensation from my chest outward.  It totally reminded me of  gambling.

I could hear the similar voices yammering in my head.

The certain and intuitive,
"I just know I am going to win, I can feel it.  People have this feeling before they win, and I have it.  This is going to be awesome.  Holy shit, I am going to be flipping loaded" 

To the solemn and defeated,
"Everyone thinks they are going to win, you're wasting your money.  You never win, do you?  What is so special about today?"

And there I was walking through Seward Park, gambling with myself about finding the biggest, fanciest, most amazing mushroom.  And finding nothing.

Mushrooms can be anywhere.  All alone or in a big group that's hard to miss.  And yet there was this part of me that kept thinking, "They must be over there.  Damn it, I am in the wrong spot."  Such a practice of calming down, and just being where I am at.  Just looking down in the five foot radius around my very own feet.  (Hmmm, I feel like I have heard that before.  Isn't it peculiar that I find that lesson with nearly every new thing I take on with this blog.)

An ascomycete mushroom

Turns out we did find mushrooms, and quite a few.  We found a big patch of the same one I found in Interlaken Park the week before.  The one that I thought was Peziza vesiculosa.  I do know it was of the cup variety, which I now know is one of the ascomycetes.   They carry their spores in the top, in the cup, instead of the gilled variety we are more familiar with where the spores fall from underneath the cap.

The winning moment

The moment that matched the feeling of winning a scratch off, you know, when you win more than you spent on the scratch off itself;  that happened when I found the first mushroom of the day.  It was light brown and delicate looking.  The stem had an almost stringy look to it, and now that it is dried, it has fallen apart into strings.  It left a rosy, peachy, brown spore print.  It was gilled and the cap did not come free from the stem when I pulled at it gently.  After looking through my book, my best guess is that we found a Naematoloma dispersum.

Can you tell I am hoping someone that know mushrooms is reading?  And that maybe they can gather from my description just what this mushroom is.

Thanks for reading along, mushroom lovers and non-mushroom lovers alike.  Hope you are enjoying the great outdoors as much as I have been this month.  If nothing else...may this be an inspiration to just get yourself outside, look around...and then let us know what you see!



Melissa Baumgart and Amy Baranski said...

Don't forget Melissa, Danny mentioned in class last week that you can send a picture of your specimen to the mushroom ID list for possible identification. I don't think it's the general Members Yahoo group...Are you hooked up to log on to the PSMS Members only site to get that information? - xo Amy

Melissa Baumgart and Amy Baranski said...

He did say that. I am not hooked up there yet, but I believe there was also a PNW Mushroomers yahoo group that is open to the public. I mentioned that in the post before this one, and left a link to get there.
here it is again...

Anonymous said...

This mushroom is in the Nolanea verna group. What they call Pink spores is really a pinkish brown, or what you call "peachy brown" as you can see from the handout. What they call the "purple brown" of Naematoloma is a very dark colour, almost black.

- Danny

Anonymous said...

Pezizas are notoriously difficult to id, but this is most probably a Peziza of some kind. It could very well be vesiculosa if there was dung nearby.

- Danny

Melissa Baumgart and Amy Baranski said...

Thanks for checking out our blog, Danny. ANd thanks so much for your input on the ID-ing of the mushrooms we found. It is so helpful!