Mushroom hunt: Gov. Nelson State Park

The thrill of discovery, each time I find a new mushroom. Widespread and common though it may be, it’s not common to me, since I’ve been ignoring this kingdom apart from mushroom soup and moo shu.



Look up!

Look up!

Velvet stalk: edible.

Velvet stalk: edible.

Pholiota squarrosoides: edible.

Pholiota squarrosoides: edible.

The big discovery at Gov. Nelson State Park yesterday was looking up. Mushrooms in trees. Lots of them. Hypsizygus ulmarius, the elm oyster mushroom. They grow as the Wisconsin Mycological Society best puts it: “a large-stalked, cream-colored mushroom growing just beyond your reach in wounds of trees.” A white-gilled and white-spored mushroom, flat smooth cap, smooth ringless tough white stalks. The stalks bend out and up from the wound in a deciduous tree. I took a bunch home just in case they were edible, and it turns out I was right, though few rave about the taste.

But there were so many others.

The velvet stalk, Flammulina velutipes, also unmistakable, a pretty little thing we threw in a pan with the big pile of oysters. (Pasta with acorn squash and oyster mushrooms in a sauce of white wine, shallots, goat cheese, nutmeg.) Honestly, it gets a bit slimy when you cook it, esp. compared with big-mama oysters. I think it’s better left on the tree.

Pholiota squarrosoides, a clump of yellow mushrooms with brown gills and brown scales, wet on top, tucked into the base of a tree. The one that got away — as now I learn it’s edible. You won’t escape twice, crafty fungus.

And many that remain anonymous.


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