Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mushroom identification

Gathering these guys is the fun part. We've been at the computer for hours with a plate of half-mushrooms, narrowing down the possibilities.

Though there is so much info on the web, I haven't found a single site that answers all my questions. So I skip around. I usually start with a website like Northern Bushcraft. That often will give me enough info to try an image search for, say, yellow russula, and narrow things down from there.  Here is a pretty awesome list  of mushroom links. And this PNW key site can be useful. I just looked under "gilled" and through the photos, found Hygrocybe flavescent, a waxy yellow mushroom with yellow gills, and googled the latin name, looking at images and descriptions. I think that's what the yellow ones are, but will try a spore print and look at some of our other specimens. (We try to get young and older mushrooms when we pick – it helps with the identification.) Sometimes I just google "yellow mushroom yellow gills." 

I've just downloaded the MatchMaker freeware program for mushroom identification in the Pacific Northwest here. We'll see how it works.

The results

No. 1 is the saffron milk cap, Lactarius deliciosusa good-sized orange 'shroom that bruises green. Edible. This one is going to be dinner.

No. 2 is the red gill, Cortinaria neosanguineas. It's not edible, but can be used to dye wool and silk shades of red, orange and purple. C. is excited to try it, especially since most natural dyes impart a poopy gold or brown color. And there are lots more of these mushrooms out there. The deep russet-red gills are the key to identifying this guy; all parts of it are rich with color. Apparently the older caps give  the richest reds; young caps and stems give an orange color.

Here's the Old World version of this mushroom, from an old natural history.

C. has the dye pot simmering.

The rest of them are still unidentified. We'll keep at it.

It's pretty nice out – think I'll go work on cleaning up the garden.

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