Do not eat-a the Amanita
On a hike this past weekend
There was not a lot of ground covered. That was to be expected, as two members of the party had insufficient leg length for ground covering.
What was unexpected was the number of mushrooms encountered. We collected a whole mess of them (haphazardly. I cannot recommend the level of sloppiness in collecting). I took spore prints and finally got around to looking at them tonight after Brad pleaded with me to please, please throw away the stinky mushrooms.
OK, so I do believe I had a chanterelle, but it was too far gone (when found, actually, and much too far gone tonight) to be sure what it was. I think it may have been a black trumpet. If only I’d been able to ID it for sure and it had been in its prime, I would have eaten that sucker. That was the one stinking up the house. (Note to mom: Do not panic. Chanterelles are easy to ID and there aren’t many toxic ones. And the toxic ones are easy peasy to spot.)
Also my luck: Fawn mushrooms. (Note to mom: similar to above. ) These ones were young specimens, so I only was missing the spore print to confirm ID. However, they also seem pretty easy to ID and they did smell like radishes. I like radishes. Next time I find these, I will eat them. Actually, I will serve them to Brad first, because he is the only one with life insurance.*
The other large specimens all seem to have been some type of Amanita or another. They had decomposed too far to ID them completely. Also, the sloppy collection technique left me without one very important part, so I couldn’t really key them out. But! Be-yootiful mushrooms with white spores! I suspect. (Note to mom: See? See how I didn’t eat the dangerous ones? See how I didn’t say, “Oh, I’m missing the base. That’s okay, they look like Lepiotas. I’ll just cook them up and serve them to my small children. What could go wrong?” See? I can be trusted to be paranoid and studious. On the other hand, don’t trust Brad. He can’t be bothered to know what an annulus is.)
I love my mushroom book, Mushrooms Demystified. I love it so much that I occasionally read it just for leisure. Everyone should read it. The author may be a tad obsessed, but he exhibits lots of humor, indicating some awareness of the society around him (unlike whatever early jerk mycologist thought it would be a good idea to name that bottom part of the Amanita I was missing the volva. Could he really not think of any other name? Anything? Yes, I like to judge the past through the lens of the present. Why?)
I have a problem with my favorite mushroom book, though. It’s California-centric, American-West-focused at best. However I may long for the visible sky of the West, I am stuck instead under the leaf-obscured sky of the East, with many, many mushrooms. I want to find a warm, human, funny Eastern U.S. mushroom book with tons and tons of information. I am nearly certain that such a thing does not exist and God hates me.
*I jest. Goodness gracious.