Thursday, September 20, 2012


When you go out and look for birds it's called "birding", so if you go out to look for mushrooms it's called "mushrooming". Right?

Whatever it's called, it's an activity I look forward to. I have noticed that Fall seems to be the time of year with the highest diversity of mushrooms, at least that's the case here in the northern Rockies. One year we visited Glacier National Park in late September and were amazed at the variety of fungi we found in the cedar forests there, including a magnificent purple mushroom! Unfortunately the forest was so dense that I couldn't get a good well-lit photograph of it.

Most of these photos I took a few years ago in the Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. The trail leads to a very popular hot springs, but I was there to enjoy the fungi.

I find mushrooms fascinating, but I'm no expert at identification. The process of identifying a mushroom is much more complex than birding. It's not enough to simply look at a mushroom and figure out what kind it is from the guide book (plus they don't have calls or chip notes).

Creating spore prints is a common form of identification. Some types of mushroom have a certain odor that can aid in identification. But in some cases, the only way to know if a mushroom is of a certain species is to cut it open and check for coloring in the stem!

If you'd like to know more about the complexities of mushroom identification, I recommend 

And if you can identify any of these mushrooms, let me know!

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