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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Autumn's Mushrooms

The Spring mushroom season started out good but then came to an abrupt end this year when unseasonably high temperatures moved in. The summer season was non existent due to weeks of a triple digit heat wave and the worst drought in 50 years. As the time for autumn's mushrooms grew near I was apprehensive. The woods were scary dry. Even the creek bottoms, river bottoms and other similar little micro ecosystems that normally would have still held some moisture were dry as dust. 

But in the last week, the early autumn rains and cooler temperatures that fall mushrooms love so much arrived. at last. It seems that perhaps, just perhaps.. the fall season may actually turn out to be a good one. Perhaps a strong autumn season is Mother Nature's apology for such a hellish summer.

That's not to say that mushrooms are popping every where I go. The helpful and heavy soaking rains have been spotty , one patch of woods may be just right and literally flinging mushrooms up at me every step I take, while 20 miles away I am still kicking up dust when I walk through the woods.

Here's a look at some of the finds  that fall is offering up for mushroom hunters in Southern Illinois. We had good rain again last night, so I'm out the door again today to see what the rain has brought to the forest floor! 
another bundle of  the much sought after oyster mushrooms
A Dryad's Saddle
a view of the underside of a watermelon scented Dryad's saddle
a young Pom Pom or Lions Mane mushroom just emerging
another larger Pom Pom
The much awaited treat of fall - Hen of the Woods
one of my personal favorite - the purple gilled laccarius
Lots of these funny looking Old Man of the Woods popping up on creek banks this year

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