Backyard Wilderness Blog
October 2012
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Mid-morning sunlight filtering down through the trees on an October morning in Middlesex Notch...
As nights turn chilly and first frosts take their toll on low growing plants and mushrooms, trees and shrubs start to blaze with bright colors. Still, here and there in warm spots throughout the forest appear a number of fall mushrooms...
Appearing in October and November on decaying wood and stumps, "Bricktops," Naematoloma sublateritium, are fairly easy to identify at maturity, when the center of their caps are brick colored and gills are confederate-uniform gray, like these in the two photos left and below, however, they should not be eaten at this stage. They are only tasty when young, but at that time may resemble certain deadly poisonous mushrooms... Use a reliable field guide and follow proper identification procedures with this one!
Sorry for the blurry photo of this Chaga fungus,
Inonotus obliquus, (...even used Photoshop to sharpen it up a bit,) but didn't see it was fuzzy until I got home. Returning the following day, I found that someone had harvested this entire amazing medicinal by sawing it off!
Used medicinally in Europe and Russia for preventing and treating cancer and tuberculosis since at least the 1500's, Chaga acquires the chemotherapeutic compounds betulin and betulinic acid from the birch trees upon which it grows.
I have yet to identify the beautiful mushrooms, right, found growing through pine needles below a small patch of partridgeberries, but wanted to post the photo "in season." Watch future blogs for final identity!