Posts Tagged ‘Trametes versicolor’

Since I did a post about turkey tail fungi last year and, since I have a few photos of some that I’ve seen recently, I thought I’d do another post about them this year.

 1. Turkey Tails

Not that I’ve learned that much more information about them than I knew last year, but I do know that they are one of the most colorful fungi in the forest. They are also one of the easiest to find, because they grow in nearly every state in the country and throughout Europe, Asia. and Russia.

 2. Turkey Tails

Turkey tail colors are described as buff, brown, cinnamon, and reddish brown, but “versicolor” means “having many colors” and as you can see by the photos, they also come in many shades of blue and purple. One of the important things to look for when searching for turkey tails is the concentric banding of colors. Another important feature is the porous underside. If you see gills, it isn’t a turkey tail.

 3. Trametes pubescens

Most turkey tails have hairs or fuzz on their upper surface but some are very fuzzy, as this photo of Trametes pubescens shows.”Pubescens” means hairy or downy and these certainly were. This fungus is often various shades of white, with very weak zoning, but it can also have tan and brown in its color scheme.

 4. Trametes pubescens

Here’s another look at Trametes pubescens, showing how it is often various shades of white and gray.

 5. Possible Blushing Bracket aka Daedaleopsis confragosa

This fungus is not a turkey tail, but I wanted to show it as an example of “weak zoning,” where the difference in colors of the various bands is almost imperceptible. I think this might be a blushing bracket (Daedaleopsis confragosa). This fungus gets its common name from the way the white pores on its under surface “blush” pinkish red when it is handled.

 6. Blue Turkey Tail

For years now I’ve wondered what determines the colors that turkey tails display. Why are some brown and others blue? Or orange? Or purple?  If the question has an answer I haven’t found it. Most of the ones I’ve seen this year are shades of blue and purple like last year, but three years ago they were shades of tan and brown.

 7. Bluish Turkey Tail

This is another example of the purple / blue shades that I’m seeing so much of this year.

 8.Turkey Tails

These look much more like the ones I saw three years ago, in various shades of brown and sometimes just a hint of purple or gray.

 9. Ocher Bracket Fungus

I think this might be the ocher bracket fungus (Trametes ochracea), which is much less flexible than true turkey tails (Trametes versicolor.) It can be very dark like the example in the photo or a much lighter, tan color.

 10. Stereum 

This is another example of a false turkey tail and another good example of weak zoning. This Stereum fungus is more of a crust than a bracket fungus and it has no pores. Some varieties of this fungus are hairy and others “bleed” red latex when they are cut.

 11. Turkey Tails

Other than their beauty, the thing that amazes me most about turkey tails is their value in cancer research. They have been used medicinally by the Chinese, Japanese, and Native Americans for thousands of years and the FDA has recently approved them for trials on cancer patients. It makes me wonder what else is in the forest, just waiting to be discovered.

 12. Logged Hillside

Places that have been recently logged off are an excellent place to search for turkey tails because they grow on stumps and logs. Searching for them is a good way to burn off some of that Thanksgiving meal, too. When I visited the logged hillside in the above photo I saw hundreds of them in just a small area, so you don’t have to search very hard.

Mushrooms are miniature pharmaceutical factories, and of the thousands of mushroom species in nature, our ancestors and modern scientists have identified several dozen that have a unique combination of talents that improve our health. ~Paul Stamets

Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Thanks for stopping in.



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Another group of mushrooms are bracket or shelf fungi. They can be just as colorful as the mushrooms in the last post and are usually easier to find because they usually grow up off the ground on trees, stumps, and logs.

In my last post I told how I had stumbled upon the biggest mushroom I had ever seen, which was a chicken of the woods (Laetiporus Cincinnatus.) The very day that I wrote that, I found another chicken of the woods growing at the base of a tree not 10 feet from the road. This one was even bigger than the first-easily as big as a car tire-so I put a quarter on it to give you an idea of scale. You have to look closely-this one is so big that it makes the quarter look like a dime. I think these are hairy stereum bracket fungi, also called hairy curtain crust (Stereum hirsutum.) The common name comes from the way these fungi are covered with fine hairs on their upper surface when young. As they age they lose the hairs and become smooth like other bracket fungi.  Colors can vary but the hairs and very wavy edges help with identification. They like to grow on fallen deciduous trees and are one of the false turkey tail fungi. False turkey tail fungi are a polypore, which basically means they have pores instead of gills. This mushroom was growing on a stump and it was quite large. I think it might be a tiger sawgill (Lentinus tigrinus.) Apparently the name refers to the scales on the cap that are supposed to resemble a tiger like pattern.  Tigers have stripes and to me the scales look more like spots, so shouldn’t it be a leopard sawgill? The Lentus part of the scientific name means tough or pliant. When this mushroom grows on a living deciduous tree it causes white rot, and that means the tree is finished. I think this might be another hairy stereum (Stereum hirsutum) bracket fungus just getting started. It’s interesting to see how it seems to flow out from under the bark almost as if it were liquid rather than solid. I’m not sure what its little friend wanted, but he might have been looking for some lunch. I think these might be white cheese polypores  (Tyromyces chioneus.) This is another bracket fungus that causes white rot. They start life soft, watery, and velvety and then yellow slightly and become hard and smooth. When very old they look shriveled or wrinkled. Their common name comes from their scientific name- Tyromyces means “with a cheesy consistency,” and chioneus means “snow white.” I’m not sure if these had a cheesy consistency, but they were certainly snow white. Some bracket fungi have gills on their undersides, some have pores, and some are “toothed” with many tiny spines. True turkey tail fungi (Trametes versicolor) have pores and false turkey tails have a smooth brown surface. That’s the easiest way to tell the two apart. The Stereum ostrea pictured here (I think) is a false turkey tail. These fungi live on hardwood logs and cause white rot. The one pictured here was quite young. Often age and even where the fungus grows will cause variations in size, shape and color in bracket fungi.   The thin dark strip before the white edge leads me to believe that this is a Ganoderma applanatum, which is called artist’s fungus, artist’s conk, or artist’s polypore. The art comes in when the white flesh is scratched and the scratches turn a light brown color. I have one that I drew a picture on over 30 years ago. I can’t be positive that’s what it is though because the colors vary so much and I didn’t test this one to see if its flesh was brown / cinnamon colored. This one was quite big-about the size of a dinner plate. These look orange brown to me. Identifying them has proven much harder than it should be, but I think they might be another example of hairy stereum bracket fungi (Stereum hirsutum.) These fungi have such variable colors and shape that it’s hard to know for sure. I got a little frustrated at not being able to see the colors of these fungi accurately so I just this minute found a shareware program called “What Color.” You just put the cursor on a color and it tells you what it is. So far, it seems accurate. In these turkey tails (Trametes versicolor) it sees tan, dark khaki, thistle (purple,) plum (darker purple,) light slate gray, olive green, dark sea green, steel blue, light steel blue, rosy brown, and sienna.  That seems like an awful lot of colors. I think tan with light purple edges would do. This bracket fungus reminds me of those old balloon tires with wide white walls. I think this might be called the red banded polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola.) If it is, the top reddish part of the fungus will become one in several bands of yellows, reds, orange-reds and finally black nearest the tree.  Rust red is the band color farthest from the tree. Its white flesh turns yellow when bruised. Red banded polypore is said to grow on over 100 species of trees.  Another very similar fungus is the resinous polypore (Ischnoderma resinosumThese horse hoof shaped fungi are called tinder polypore (Fomes fomentarius)because of their age old use as tinder to start fires. In the middle ages strips of these fungi were used in flintlock rifles. A spark from a flint would ignite the tinder polypore, which in turn would ignite the gunpowder. The Cree tribe of Native Americans also used these fungi to carry coals from one place to another. Tinder polypores produce huge amounts of spores; measurements in the field have shown that they release as many as 800 million spores per hour in the spring and summer! They grow on dead deciduous trees and logs. I found 30 or more marching up a dead maple one day. The shareware color finding program sees dark salmon pink in these turkey tails, along with greens, browns, and grays. I would have said brown with a white edge. Many of the turkey tails I saw last winter had a lot of purples and blues in them but so far this year they lean more toward browns and tans. I wish I could find information on what causes the colors in bracket fungi-I wonder if cold affects color. My color finding software says saddle brown nearest the tree, then 100% gray on the body, and then white on the outer edge. I can agree with that.  I can’t find this mushroom in either of my books, which illustrates how sometimes the most common looking mushrooms are the hardest to identify. According to the color finding software the colors found in these are light blue, lavender, light steel blue, saddle brown, sea green, olive green, slate gray, light cyan, Alice blue, azure, tan, and sienna. I’m amazed how many colors can be found in turkey tails (Trametes versicolor.) And these are the plain ones!

Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom ~ Thomas Carlyle

Thank you for having a look.



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In my last post I promised you colors without flowers. There are rare moments in the forest when I stumble upon something so beautiful that it isn’t hard to imagine all of creation crying with joy at its sight. I think that mushrooms especially fit that description because I find many of them every bit as beautiful as flowers. I hope that you might feel the same way after seeing some of these recent finds.I’ve seen little orange mushrooms all over the place and they all seem to differ slightly is size, shape and color intensity. I never knew there were so many different orange mushrooms! I think these might be one of the wax cap mushrooms; possibly one of the hygrocybes. This type of mushroom is considered one of the most colorful and also one of the most aesthetically pleasing, according to mushroom identification books. I have to agree.This red headed mushroom was quite small. I think it might be a mushroom called Emetic Russula (Russula emetica.) There aren’t many mushrooms with red caps and white stems so the chances of mistaken identification are somewhat lessened compared to other colors. You don’t want to eat this one by mistake-“emetic” is a clue that it will make you very sick. This mushroom is said to become sticky after a rain. This is the only one of these that I’ve seen this season. I’m seeing a lot a bracket or shelf fungi all of the sudden, but I see very few with purple in them like these. I saw some bracket fungi that had purple slime mold growing on them a while ago, but I think these in the photo were just plain old turkey tails (Trametes versicolor) with purple edges. The purple is a nice touch.

This is probably the most easily recognized mushroom and the one that most frequently pops into people’s minds when they think of mushrooms. I’ve seen many yellow ones but this is the first red fly agaric (Amaita muscaria) that I’ve seen. I was surprised at such a deep, deep red that almost looked maroon to me. It is quite a different red than the scarlet hood mushroom above. This mushroom is toxic.

Update: Fellow New Hampshire blogger jomegat tells me that this mushroom is brown, which reminds me that colorblindness can, at times, be tiring. The only brown amanita that makes any sense is amanita ceciliae. Another called royal amanita looks exactly like this picture but is said to only grow as far south as Alaska. In any case, any mushroom that looks like this one is most likely toxic and better left alone.

 This is a very beautiful mushroom in my opinion, but it is hard to identify. I think it is the gray tooth (Phellodon melaleucus.) Toothed mushrooms have thousands of tiny spines on the underside of the cap that look like teeth. I saw several of these one day and poked one of them to find that it had very firm flesh. I have since learned that these mushrooms are used in dye making. The mushroom pictured could also be the very closely related Blue-black tooth (Phellodon atratus.)

I’m surprised that I don’t see more yellow mushrooms; I might see only one yellow for every thirty I see that are other colors. They aren’t common and don’t seem to grow in large groups here. This one grew all alone behind a boulder. I think it might be one called the butter wax cap (Hygrocybe ceracea.) Whatever its name, I think it’s a beauty.

These little purple mushrooms are scattered throughout the woods and are probably the most numerous colored mushrooms after the orange ones. I’ve noticed that this mushroom and virtually all of the orange ones are left untouched while white and other colors seem to be eaten almost as soon as they pop up. Eaten by what I don’t know, but I assume it’s an animal of some kind. These little purple ones get lighter purple as they age and my mushroom books tell me that they are probably the Viscid Violet Cort (Cortinarius iodes.) These mushrooms have brown spores and usually fruit near hardwoods. The ones that I’ve seen have all been growing in deep, dark shade and their caps always look wet. This fallen tree was big-too big to step over-and was covered with these large, saucer sized white mushrooms that I believe are oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus.) This tree was a hardwood, which points to the oyster mushroom. If it had been a softwood they most likely would have been another mushroom called angel’s wings (Phyllotus porrigens,) which look very similar to those pictured. This was hands down the largest mushroom I’ve ever seen, so I put a quarter on it to give you an idea of the scale. This giant was growing on a log buried in the soil and was probably close to a foot and a half across. I can’t imagine what it must have weighed. I think it is a chicken of the woods (Laetiporus Cincinnatus.)

Another shot of the chicken of the woods. These looked more like gigantic turkey tails than anything to do with chickens, but it is said they taste like chicken. I wonder what hen of the woods tastes like? These ones stood about knee high and I had to gather my wits about me and tell myself that I really was seeing such big mushrooms. After seeing microscopic slime molds and tiny mushrooms for a couple of days, these were quite a surprise! I’m seeing a lot of coral mushrooms now too. I think this one might be crown coral (Clavicorona pyxidata) but I can’t be sure because of the color. It looks pink to me but it could be white, gray, or tan. I’ll let any new readers in on a secret: I’m color blind, and when it comes to certain colors like blue and purple or orange/yellow/red sometimes I can’t tell what I’m looking at.  Light pinks are another shade I have trouble with, but if these are indeed pink than they could be the crown coral mushroom, pink tipped coral, or clustered coral.  There is a jelly fungus called false coral fungus but it is said to be tough, dry, and non-gelatinous. This one felt soft and pliable like a mushroom. It was about as big around as a coffee cup. Another coral mushroom is clustered coral (Ramaria botrytis,) identified by its habit of bruising brown and having pink or brown tips. It is short, dense and pink to purplish. It is also very brittle and breaks easily. Many people say this mushroom looks like cauliflower when it is young. Older plants have longer branches like those shown here.

This picture was taken in a hurry and I’m surprised that it isn’t more out of focus. When I knelt on the ground to take the picture I landed on a yellow jacket’s nest and they had stung me 3 times before I could even stand up. Luckily, they didn’t chase me as I ran through the woods slapping at my leg. And luckily, nobody saw me running through the woods slapping my leg. At least, I don’t think so. I didn’t get any shots of the yellow jackets. This mushroom looked far pinker in the woods than it does here. It looks slightly brownish in the photo but still has the translucence that made me stop and wonder about it. Unfortunately it’s another one that is tough to identify, but I think it might be a lilac bonnet (Mycena pura.) The lilac bonnet is said to have a strong, radish like odor but I didn’t smell it. Its color is also said to be extremely variable and it usually has splits in its cap.This one I don’t have trouble with as far as color goes because I can see that it’s brown and black. What I am having trouble with is knowing exactly what it is. I’m not sure if it is a brown jelly fungus or if it is some type of mushroom that is past its prime. Brown jelly fungi usually look ear or brain-like instead of like the above example, but they turn black as they dry out. In any event this post is supposed to be more about color than anything else and brown is well represented in jelly fungi, bracket fungi, and mushrooms.These could be brown and white but I see maroon and white with a velvety texture. These were very difficult to even begin to get a fix on as far as identification goes, but after much searching I think they might be the Earth Fan (Thelephora terrestris.) I think this is one of the prettiest mushrooms I’ve seen, but I’ve also seen pictures of an indigo blue one (Thelephora indigo) that is so beautiful I can’t even begin to describe it.Finding these club or flat topped coral mushrooms (Clavariadelphus truncatus) is always a pleasant surprise. They aren’t very big but their colors are usually quite bright and that makes them easy to see. My mushroom book says that these are widespread but uncommon. Other than that, finding reliable information on these mushrooms is difficult. The color of these club coral mushrooms is much tamer and more softly pastel than that of the ones we just saw. I read that their color starts to fade as they age, so maybe these were older versions of those in the previous photo. White toothed jelly fungi (Pseudohydnum gelatinosum) look like the heads of cobras poking up out of a log. The undersides of these fungi have thousands of tiny teeth and their color can range from the ghostly translucent white shown here to dark brown. The cap is kind of tongue shaped and feels like jello. I can’t think of another mushroom that looks quite like these but there are white “brain” and witch’s butter fungi.At the start of this post I said that I had been seeing little orange mushrooms all over the place. At first I thought these might be slime mold fruiting bodies but no-they were mushrooms. I saw a few logs with colonies like this one and many more little orange mushrooms growing on the ground, so I must have seen thousands this day on a three hour hike. They are beautiful things to see.

The best time to find mushrooms at this time of year is right after a heavy rain, so if you have thundershowers get into the woods the next day and see these beauties up close and personal. I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t remind everyone once again not to eat any wild thing that you aren’t 100% sure of. Those little orange mushrooms might be cute, but many of them are also deadly. The following quote says it best:

You can eat all mushrooms, but some only once ~ Annonymous

Thanks for stopping in. If I you know of any mistakes in identification please let me know.

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