Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fungophile (or not)

Lentaria micheneri

I thought this fungus would be fairly easy to identify, but not being a true fungophile (or at least not an educated one), I apparently neglected to perform important field tests.

Lentaria micheneri

I didn't touch it, so I'm not sure if it was tough, brittle, or pliable. Was the surface felty, soapy, smooth, or otherwise? I don't have a clue.

Lentaria micheneri

I didn't sniff it - did it smell typically mushroomy, or more like newly-dug potatoes? Or perhaps like beans? I'm not even sure how "mealy" smells.

Lentaria micheneri

I sure as heck wasn't about to taste it. So it may or may not be bitter. Or peppery.

Lentaria micheneri

I didn't try to collect spores. I didn't cut a sample to see if it dried a different color.

So all I had to go by were visual clues and a knowledge of the habitat.

I thought it might possibly be Clavicorona pyxidata, but that one grows on rotting logs, and this one didn't appear to... though the log could have been beneath the leaf litter. I should have checked.

Clavaria fumosa was another possibility, but the habitat does not seem to fit. That one grows in open places, and mine was in the woods.

I briefly felt certain that it was Ramaria acrisiccescens, but that one's only in the northwest US.

Then I found Lentaria micheneri. The only description that lists "salmon" as a color possibility. Plus it mentions oak and beech and leaf litter, which was spot-on for the habitat. So that's my best guess.

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So, what's the word meaning "mushroom lover"? I thought fungiphile, but Google kept asking me if I meant fungophile. Online dictionaries don't recognize either, and all my real dictionaries are still packed up in boxes somewhere.

15 comments:

W. Latane Barton said...

You certainly gave that ???? whatever it is, a going over. And, whatever it is sure is pretty.

PG said...

Looks like some kind of coral fungi to me, we have a similar species over here in the UK, growing in beech/leaf litter. They are not poisonous, in fact one or two are edible, though not really worth eating.

pablo said...

How long have your dictionaries been packed in boxes? (I wonder if there is a word for that?)

soap bubble set said...

Maybe a word should be invented, perhaps "shroomist," and that would allow you to circumvent the issue. Very pretty...thing-a-ma-jigger...and it's more salmon than a salmon.

Dani said...

Those are really neat!

Gail said...

I do like fungi but know nothing about them except that they are fantastic to look upon and serve a very important role in our world!

Gail

Pamela said...

got me. I would have guessed you were scuba diving (:

egassner said...

I spotted one of these when we were out picking mushrooms...I'm guessing ours was the Ramaria acrisiccescens since we live in the NW....they are so very neat!

Annie in Austin said...

I saw the photo first and thought it was sea coral - then read the story. It's beautiful, Rurality.

My Webster's Unabridged doesn't have either fungiphile or fungophile, but says "fungi-" is used in compound words representing fungus and lists "fungo" as a baseball term.

Maybe you could use the feminine form and be Fun-gal?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

guild-rez said...

Great pictures of coral fungi:)
Ramaria Araiospora.. check it out on Google.
Please visit my blog:
guildwoodmushrooms.blogspot.com to take a look what grows in our area.
Perhaps some of your visitots can help me to identify some my fungi.
Greetings from Toronto, Canada.
Gisela

katefear said...

Mycologist is the word you want, I think...

lisa said...

Mycologist is the word, but I like "fungophile" better! :) I have found white ones like that in the woods around here, but that's much prettier!

Annie in Austin said...

Yeah, but a person can study something for years without loving the subject. Mycologist doesn't convey the affection, just the education.

Would Mycophile work for you, Rurality? Or is it too culinary in nature?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

(maybe google is psychic... the word verification is
AMARGIL ... but you love the whole mushroom, not just the gills)

Susan Gets Native said...

People can poke fun at the "lowly" fungus, but damn...they are amazing beings....not a plant, not an animal. Very cool.
I'd like to call that one you have there "Caribbean Coral Fungi". That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Rurality said...

I could have sworn I left a comment here about the comments, but either it disappeared, or I'm insane. Maybe both.

Originally I had "coral fungi" in the post title but took it out because I wasn't sure if that was correct.

Pablo, Many of our books have been in boxes for several years now, awaiting the lovely new house that we will someday be building...

Guild-rez, but we're not anywhere near the west coast... we're in Alabama.

Mycologist is a great word, but it seems to connote some formal training. I don't have any in the mushroom arena!

Mycophile is good too, but it does seem to be about the consuming of wild mushrooms, which I'm too much of a chicken to do. :)