Saturday, November 29, 2008
Fungophile (or not)
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.
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.
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.
I sure as heck wasn't about to taste it. So it may or may not be bitter. Or peppery.
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.
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.