At our Club Special Event this week, members Gina and Scott brought in a few specimens of a Hypomyces sp. that we had never encountered before, Hypomyces lateritius. This relative of the Lobster, parasitizes Lactarius indigo. It was obvious that this was the underlying species when we broke the cap and stem saw the immediate blue color change. There isn't much information on this species in books or online, but we did find a few photos and references to its occurrence in the southwestern part of Wisconsin, where Gina and Scott found these.
So, if you are like me and many other mushroomers, you probably have a few artist shelf (Gandoderma applanatum) mushrooms laying around your house for decoration. And perhaps, you may find that over the course of the year some strange prehistoric looking beetles wondering your house. I didn't put the two things together right away until after I noticed the holes in the pore surface of my shelf mushrooms. With a quick note and photo sent off to Phil Peliterri at the UW, I had the bug;'s identity....the Forked Fungus Beetle (Bolitotherus cornutus).
The male of this species has two horns on its head and both sexes have a very bumpy surfaced, black body. The larvae and beetles live particularly in G. applanatum and can spend up to 9 years inhabiting one mushroom until it is honeycombed with tunnels. Check out this description of the bugs from UW Milwaukee's website.
Below are photos from club member Cynthia Krakowski who had a similar bug experience last fall with her artist shelf:)
So far, we have been receiving pletiful rains this spring in northern Wisconsin. There have been numerous Gyromitra eculenta popping up in my woods, but surprisingly not much else. I think on the first warm day, the oysters will start fruiting. In fact, I can smell their tell-tale scent in the air. Morel season is still in full swing in the southern part of the state and, if you are lucky enough to have a 'spot' in northern WI, they are starting to fruit here as well.
This is a great time of year to start growing your own mushrooms for eating, and there are many resources out there for purchasing spawn. Our favorite is Field and Forest out of Peshtigo. Recently, Kemp Natural Resources Station held a session on growing shitakes. Club member Joel Vetter attended and shared some photos of the innoculation process (see below). Shitakes take a little longer to get established, so if you are looking for more immediate fruits for your labor, you may want to try oysters or winecap stropharia. There are lots of other species of fungi that can be grown as well, so be sure to check out the Field and Forest website.
We are finally getting huge fruitings of honeys. With the warmer fall temps, we still haven't had a frost, but the honeys seem to be making an appearance despite this. There are tons are huge ones and they are growing on all sorts of tree species, stumps, root lines, etc. We are still finding large numbers of Sweet Tooth (Hydnum repandum) in oak woods and also a fair number of Kings (Boletus edulis) near red and white pine.
I found my first big bunch of this fall's honeys (Armillaria mellea) today in our woods below some quaking aspen. Our first good frost should really make them start fruiting.
We are finding our first Hens of the Woods this week, so check your usual oak trees to find these delicious mushrooms. We are still finding plenty of Hedgehogs and Chicken of the Woods. Lobsters and Chanterelles are still out but are starting to slow in fruitings. We also found our first small bunch of Honeys. Should be great after the upcoming week of rain!
Right now we are finding lots of chanterelles in pine woods, black trumpets in oak & balsam woods and hedgehogs in mixed woods containing oaks. Also lots of corals, milk caps and Rusulas. Puffballs are just starting to appear. Lobsters are still out but we are waiting for a fresh crop of them.
We have been receiving regular rains and warm temps which has really brought out the mushrooms. There have been many Chanterelles, lobsters, black trumpets, Suillus, and even B. edulis and chicken of the woods, among others. Get out there and start looking!
Cora Mollen, author of Fascinating Fungi of the Northwoods and founder of Northstate Mycological Club.
Northstate Mycological Club