Journal 5-28-10

May 28th, 2010

We are having a beautiful Friday here at The Hoosier Mushroom Co.  There has been a lot of rain over the past couple of days, so I had to get out and see what could be found.

The location of today’s foray is Yellowood State Forest. It is located between our shop in Nashville and Bloomington, IN, with over 23,000 acres on the property. I decided to walk in the area around the dam, at the lower portion of Yellowood Lake.  You have to cross a couple of small streams going through the road to get back to it, so if your in a car, you may not want to try it.

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To get to the trail, you have to start off by crossing this rock bridge. Literally within 15 seconds of being on the trail I hit a big score -  a large amount of Wood Ear’s – Auricularia auricula. These were covering a fallen branch about 20′ from the trail. Since they were so close to the vehicle, I decided not to harvest any yet, and wait until the end of the walk. If you have ever ate Hot & Sour soup at a Chinese buffet, then you are looking at one of the main ingredients. They are very easy to identify, both by their look and texture. They are a jelly fungus that will always be growing on dead wood.

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We are primarily concerned with mushrooms, but it is hard to pass up a gathering of butterflies without a second look. We sell a variety of guides in our retail store, including Indiana Butterflies & Moths. According to this guide, these are called Eastern Tiger Swallowtails – Papilio glaucus.

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I continued on the trail for a while and then circled back over to the lake.

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The photo above was taken from the boat launch. From there, a little trail follows the edge of the lake. This is where I found a small patch of Clitocybe gibba growing in moss. It is also called the Funnel Cap.  Notice the decurrent gills (running down the stem) and the funnel shape of this species. Clitocybe species also have white-light spores with no veil or volva.  The dark spots you see in the gills are hundreds of very small bugs.

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Continuing along the lakeside trail, I spotted a Laccaria species at the precipice of a 10′ drop into the lake. This particular variety is called Laccaria amethystina. Several key features are the purple gills that have a wide spacing and are fully attached to the stem, as well as a white spore print. The final picture shows that as the species dries out, the color of the cap begins to fade dramatically from a purplish hue to a light tan.

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Finishing off the descriptions for today is a mushroom that may look like a polypore from a distance. It was  sharing a dead log with several other common types of polypores. It does, however, have gills that can be seen in the final 2 pictures. This mushroom is called Panus rudis or Hairy Panus, and can be widely varied in its look. A younger version of this mushroom can take on a purplish hue. Sometimes is could have more of a vase shape. However it comes it will always have the dense velvety hairs that can be seen in the 4th picture. It will usually also have an inrolled margin, as can be seen in the final picture.

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And I cant forget the final picture of the Wood Ear haul. Have a good weekend.



Journal 5-24-10

May 25th, 2010

Today led me to walk Brown County State Park for another hour. At 1 hour a day, I could explore the 15,000 acres by the year 2147…but you have to start somewhere.

The beginning of this trip led me to stop at a pine grove near the road. There are not a whole lot of pine forests in our area, so I try to stop at accessible ones when I can. Many species of mushrooms are delineated by whether they are found in a coniferous forest or not. Pine woods will generally bring out specimens that cannot be found in hardwoods.

I do not have time to go through each of these species today, so this is just going to be a photo journal of May 25th.

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Journal 5-23-10

May 25th, 2010

In a short term sense, these journal entries are meant to help you get a potential identity for some of the things you might be finding in the woods around this time of the year. I also hope it can help people to realize the wide variety of fascinating fungal life that can be found throughout the state. In the longer term, all of these species pictures and descriptions will make up a database of Indiana Mushrooms that will eventually be housed at – the site for Indiana’s first mycological society. I hope that you enjoy the pictures, and I will continue to make these entries as often as I can.

If you would like to send in pictures of your finds, I would be happy to post them. Just email with the post that you would like to add. We are located in Brown County – near Bloomington, Indiana. It is in the south-central portion of the state. It would be great to get some species from other areas as well.

Anyways, on to the mushrooms. These mushrooms were all found during a short walk on our land. We have a few acres of woods that was logged about 5 years before we got it. They left many of the tree tops at the time, so there is a plethora of decomposing wood throughout the forest. Combine that with a major storm last year that knocked down about 10-15 fully grown trees, and we should have a saprophyte buffet that should last for many years into the future.

The first species I encountered was this orange mycena. Its scientific name is Mycena leaiana. The genus Mycena is usually delineated from other very small mushrooms by its white spore print and thin stem. Most if not all are saprophytic (grow on wood). Another distinguishing feature of this mushroom is that the gills are marginate. This means that the edges of the gills are a different color than the rest of the gill. If you look at the mushroom with a hand lens, the edge of the gill is a much darker shade of orange than the rest of the gill.

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Continuing on I found a small mushroom that was trying to hide under some plants. At first sight, it appeared to be another Entoloma variety that I had been finding earlier in the spring, but this mushroom is actually from the genus Pluteus. Both have pink spores and a similar stature. The key difference is that Entoloma grow on the ground and have attached gills, while Pluteus grow from wood and have free gills. The next to last picture attempt to show the striations along the margin which lead to an ID of Pluteus palidus. The final picture shows the color of the spore print (top pinkish/salmon print) as compared to the lower brown print.

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This little brown mushroom grows on wood that is very well into the decay process. The most distinctive features are the scales on the stipe and that the margin of the cap has remnants of a partial veil.  The cap may sometimes have scales, but it was not apparent on this specimen. This mushroom is called Flammulaster erinaceella and has shifted between the genera Pholiota and Phaeomarasimus in the past.

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Next to the Pholiota on the same log was another variety of Pluteus. I no longer have a good sample of this mushroom, but it had a pink spore print. It shall remain Pleutus sp.

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An interesting slime mold occupied a log next to the one previously described. If you were to touch the white dots, they would appear to turn to liquid, but would emit a visible cloud of spores when you took your finger away from the surface. Some day I will need to invest in a good video camera.

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Several Xylaria sp.

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Next is a polypore…

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Finally, I will end with a Crepidotus, although I am unsure what the species is. It does not key out convincingly in the books that I have. They look like Oyster mushrooms initially, but they have brown spores. The color of the gills will turn a shade of brown with age or if you take a print. Notice the hairs and the striate margin. The spores are the lower print in the final picture.

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Journal 5-22-10 (15 Species)

May 23rd, 2010

Took a short break from the store yesterday and went to Brown County State Park to see what was out. Even though I had less than an hour to walk around, there was still alot to see. It has been raining nearly everyday for the last week, so there were quite a few mushrooms popping.  For those who know the area, the red outline is the part of the park where all of these mushrooms were found.


Here is an overview of what I found in about 1/2 hours time.

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One of the first things I spotting was a well decaying log with several different types of mushrooms. The first is a black/white club fungus that look like little fingers growing up from the wood. It is from the genus Xylaria. Likely Xylaria hypoxylon. The spores of this species form a white powder on the outer surface of the fruitbody that are easily wiped off when the sample is fresh.

Below are a couple more pictures of  another sample that someone brought into our store the day before:

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There was also another species of mushroom covering the same log with the Xylaria. It is called a Little White Crep – Crepidotus sp.
There are several different possibilities that it could be within this group…likely Cepidotus  applanatus or Crepidotus vulgaris.  It resembles a very small version of an Oyster – Pleurotus ostreatus. The only difference is that this little mushroom has brown spores, as opposed to the white spores of Oyster mushrooms.

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Several more pictures of this species from a walkin to our store the day before. These are a little more developed and the brown spores are clearly visible on the gills.

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Continuing on, there were 2 dead trees that had fallen, yet were being unnervingly supported by a living tree. From the top to the bottom, the dead tree was being eaten alive by a crust fungus -  Stereum ostrea – The False Turkey Tail. The quickest way to differentiate this mushroom from a Turkey Tail is to look at the underside. A Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor) will have small pores, while this mushroom will be completely smooth on the underside. This is one of the most common types of fungi in our area.

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Along the side of the trail was another type of crust fungi – Stereum complicatum . It is always neat to find because of its bright orange color, and it usually completely encrusts whatever it is colonizing. It is generally resupinate (lacking a well defined cap), and is very common.

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Another version of crust fungus in the Stereum family. All of these have a smooth underside (no pores). This is likely Stereum ostrea as well, but is has a hue that is much more red than the previous find.

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This polypore is called Trichaptum biformis or the Violet-Pored Bracket Fungus. Look for teethlike pores on the underside that have a distinct violet hue.

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This little orange polypore has been everywhere lately. It is called Polyporus mori. It can be easily identified by looking at the pore surface on the underside of the mushroom, which has a very unique texture. They do not generally grow on downed logs, but prefer smaller downed branches. It is often referred to as Polyporus alveolaris as well.

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A tiny Mycena poking up through the forest floor.


We will call the one below Camarophyllus virgineus. White spore print, slightly decurrent gills.

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Below is a type of slime mold. They used to be classified under the kingdom of Fungi, but are no longer classified as such. They are, however, still studied by many mycologists. They come in a wide variety of colors and forms:

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This patch had about a dozen or so Laccarius laccata. Look for the pinkish gills, cinnamon color, and a cap that has a depression in the center. Mushrooms Demystified mentions that sometimes the center of the cap is so depressed, that sometimes a hole even appears. One of these specimens had this feature (see final picture).

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Next we will look at another type of shelf fungi. This is called Schizophyllum commune. It generally looks like a polypore, but if you flip it over (as in the 4th picture) then you will see what look like gills. These gills, upon close inspection, are actually composed of 2 adjacent plates that give the gill the appearance of having a split down the middle. These plates roll up in dry weather and protect the spore bearing surface. Other distinguishing features are the hairy white/grayish cap and the caps usually have unique formations at the margins.

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Now comes to the highlight of my outing. On the way back to my vehicle I came across this collection of Black Trumpets. They also go by the name Horn of Plenty and Craterellus cornucopioides.   They are a choice edible that is usually fairly difficult to find because of its coloring. This species is a relative to the Chanterelle.

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My final find of the day was not a mushroom, crust fungus, or slime mold, but something called a jelly fungus. Two varieties as a matter of fact. The first time I encountered a jelly fungus this year was about 2-3 weeks ago, and they can be found all through the summer and into the fall. This particular jelly fungus is called Brown Witches Butter, and has the scientific name Tramella foliacea.  The third image in this set is of a white jelly fungus called Ductifera pululahuana.

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So there were a total of 15 species described here with some detail, but there were also several others that I have not taken the time to identify yet…

Anyone want to chime in?

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Finally, I will leave you with a type of birds nest fungi from the genus Cyathus. These were also “walk-in mushrooms” to our store.

There are a number of different species in this group, and they need microscopic research to correctly identify. We are fine calling this specimen Cyathus sp.

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Bruschetta with Black Truffle Oil Recipe

May 15th, 2010

HMC attended our first Friends of Brown County State Park meeting at the nature center.  Info on the Friends can be found here. The Friends group has a monthly pitch in  so we decided to make a nice Italian bruschetta (pronounced “brusketta”).  This dish is a wonderful way to capture the flavors of ripe summer tomatoes, fresh garden basil, and garlic. We spiced it up a bit with some of HMC’s Imported Italian Black Truffle Oil and Salt.


I made this on the fly so had to hand prep everything, so no food processor, which I find better.  Great with some fresh mozzarella or goat cheese and a crust french baguette.

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  • 7 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs-vine ripen prefered)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian Black Truffle Oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Black Truffle Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 baguette French bread or similar crusty bread
  • 1/2 cup olive oil



Prepare the tomatoes first. I prefer fresh tomatoes but some recipes call for parboil. It is up to you but I think the fresher the better! Why cook off the vitamins. I used a small cutting board and a plastic knife but a sharp knife works best. Some recommend removing the skin but I prefer keeping the skin on.   Tomatoes are full of vitimins A and C, potassium, fiber, lycopene and beta-carotene.  Lycopene is a cancer-fighting nutrient and to get the most of this nutrient, use skin of the tomato.

I used a small cutting board and a plastic knife but a sharp knife works best.

Chop and chop and chop!

Remove the stems and centers.  Some juice and seeds are ok, but you do not want this to become salsa and distract from the truffle essence.  Vine ripen tomatoes are often juicer than others so be advise there will be lots of the sweet tomato juice. You can always save this for a later dish.

Chop the basil to small slivers.

Add tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil and black truffle oil together and mix well.

Add salt and pepper to taste. I often keep the black truffle salt out for an additional kick to enhance each individuals palette.

Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Since I made this on the fly I did not cook the baguette and the juice from the tomatoes and bruschetta soaked in nicely.  You can always coat the slices in olive oil and toast for 5-6 min. at 450 degrees until the tops are golden brown.

Makes 24 small slices. Serves 6-10 as an appetizer.

Since this has been an interesting week for HMC following the blazing loss of the stove, meal preparation seems more like an episode of “Dinner Impossible”.  However, some interest dishes have emerged including Lion’s Mane bruschetta with a creamy red wine vinaigrette as well as grilled orange seseme chicken and shiitakes.

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