Field Journal: 01 January 2019

My friend Maureen Berg & I took a hike today at Roy's Redwoods. Maureen has a new camera, so we headed up to the Hansen Loop Trail for good light & plentiful mushrooms. Hansen Loop passes through Redwood, Douglas-fir, and mixed evergreen forests, making it a good place to find a variety of different mushroom species.

Blackening Slime Spike (Gomphidius oregonensis)

My first mushroom of the year is this Blackening Slime Spike - a mushroom I had previously photographed. Spikes (genus Gomphidius) are parasites that feed on fungi known as Slippery Jacks (genus Suillus), which can be found in abundance here.

Fat Jack (Suillus caerulescens)

Slippery Jacks are mycorrhizal fungi; they are symbiotic (commensal) with trees in the Pine family (Pinaceae,) nourishing the roots in exchange for sugar from the trees. The Fat Jacks here at Roy's Redwoods are probably associated with Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii.)

Spikes (Genus Gomphidius)

We saw a few new Spike buttons popping up, but they seem to have stalled with the recent sunny weather - a shame, because these would've made a very nice bouquet.

Red-Bleeding Milk Cap (Lactarius rubrilacteus)

When I first encountered the Red-Bleeding Milk Caps here at Roy's Redwoods back on 27 December, I missed the most exciting things about these mushrooms: They "bleed" red latex when cut! This specimen is a few days old and a little dry, but it still put on a pretty show for me.

Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda)

Blewits are always a delight to find. These fungi are saprotrophic (feed on decaying organic matter,) and their lilac-colored mycelium is easily observed in the leaf litter surrounding the mushrooms.

Unidentified Mushroom

Mossy surfaces are a great place to find tiny mushrooms, but these delicate structures usually don't last longer than a few days. The mushroom pictured above started drying out before fully opening and probably released few (if any) spores. The larger and more robust mushrooms tend to last longer. High humidity and overcast skies (or deep shade) help keep mushrooms from drying out, but too much moisture can encourage the growth of molds, bacteria, and fungal pathogens.

Shoulderband Snail (Genus Helminthoglypta)

We found this exquisite Shoulderband snail under fallen bark on our way out. This is the first time I've observed a snail from this genus - the perfect end to a wonderful hike.

You can see Maureen's photos from today here and here.

Previously: 23 - 29 December 2018

Next: 04 January 2019

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