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Mushroom Hunting

Tropical Depression Isaac brought much needed rain and the return of mushrooms!

I woke early on Labor Day, ate my Greek yogurt with blueberries, and downed my orange juice. I parked my car at "Picnic Area 14" in Forest Park, read the "Welcome to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest" sign, and headed up the gravel path.The remnants of Tropical Depression Isaac had dumped lots of rain. It was a cloudy, cool morning.

I was in search of mushrooms, those elusive fungi of kitchen and folklore.Because of the prior drought, many leaves already carpeted the forest floor. The key to good hunting is to scan the sides of the path looking for patches of white. The first two sightings were "false alarms": from a distance the stark white Styrofoam cups looked like mushrooms. Mushrooms play an important role in breaking down biomass. This is why they are seen on dead branches and trees. The largest living thing is the "honey mushroom" in Oregon, www.extremescience.com/biggest-living-thing.

While none of the mushrooms that I saw and photographed were this big, there were several different varieties (refer to pictures).When I returned to the car an hour later, I was "parked in" by the hordes of people visiting the St Louis Zoo for their holiday. My hike had given me an appetite for mushroom soup.

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RDBet September 04, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Cool stuff. I saw loads of mushrooms on a walk through the woods too, and left wondering what was edible.
Becca Stevens September 04, 2012 at 09:40 PM
The correct link for the article on the honey mushroom in Oregon is: www.extremescience.com/biggest-living-thing.htm
Mark Cockson September 05, 2012 at 12:01 AM
RDBet: be very careful when hunting for edible mushrooms---there are several photographic guides which are good. Becca Stevens: thank you for the correction to the embedded link. regards, Blogger Mark

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