Out the Back Window | Big Fungi

A few days ago, I posted here a story about Tiny Fungi. It was about some very small fungi I found in the wooded area behind our house. Today, I want to update that story with this one about some very big fungi we had nearby.

As we go for our walks, we often pass a tree that normally doesn’t have anything notable to say about it. It is a dying tree with bare spots near the ground on the trunk. Nothing is in the bare spots so far this year. Last fall it was a different story. Some very big fungi were growing in the bare spots. They were spectacular! It looked like bagels were attached to the tree trunk. Here is a close-up look so you can see the gill structure below the cap.

Gills run vertically along the stem

It is hard to get a sense of size and perspective up that close. This shot is from about three feet away. Now you can see the way they are grouped in clusters. They are a rich brown in their prime. Each cap is several inches across. Still, it is hard to get a sense of size.

Pleurotus ostreatus: The Oyster Mushroom

This ball cap ought to help see how large they are. My brother-in-law said they were Pleurotus ostreatus, or oyster mushroom, and very tasty. He is quite knowledgeable about mushrooms. Normally, we don’t harvest mushrooms in the wild to eat. If they appear again this year, we will probably try them.

Hat for scale

 


What about you? Do you hunt mushrooms and enjoy them with some meals? What kinds?


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10 thoughts on “Out the Back Window | Big Fungi

  1. I’ve never seen anything like this in the wild, but they look familiar. Your linked article mentions they’re sold commercially in groceries. That probably explains that.

    They’re really quite beautiful, and apparently exhibit certain “behaviors”, too. I loved this little paragraph from the article you linked: ” Oyster mushrooms kill nematodes and bacteria with impunity… For fungal fans, this is the equivalent of watching lions kill gazelles on the Nature Channel.”

    Now, that’s funny.

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    • We are going to keep a close eye on that tree. We don’t forage for them either. Chicken is the right word here. I will double check with my B-I-L before doing any food prep.

      Good to see you today. Thanks for stopping.

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  2. I’ve never foraged for mushrooms in the wild, partially because I haven’t a clue as to which ones to look for, and partially because I’m allergic to some of those found in stores so would have to be extra careful when foraging – however, I think I would love the harvesting experience and then preparing them for others even if I couldn’t enjoy them. When I lived in Louisiana, a wet environment, there were lots of wild mushrooms. Here in San Antonio they’re a bit more scarce…or I’m not looking in the right places. šŸ˜‰

    Great photos, again!

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  3. Hi Jim
    We used to collect big field mushrooms to eat but I am fairly cautious about other fungi in the wild. Most years we have poisonings in Canberra from mushrooms (including 3 a few weeks ago) and every so often a fatality. However, when I lived in Scandinavia my friends were incredibly knowledgable about which types could be eaten. There were even two that you couldn’t tell apart until you heated them up. I was amazed when they simply removed the offending ones from the frying pan.
    Lots of great posts here & some great photos.
    Cheers Pip

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    • That would be cause for concern for me, too. I’m not sure I would still eat those. I am not very brave that way.

      Thanks for your visit and your nice comments.

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