To Eat or not to Eat. That is the question
Our first day out of Whitehorse was blissfully free of surprises. We had our usual pit stops so the poodles could stretch their legs, but we had a lot of road to cover so no time for any dilly dallying. After a long day of driving I found a convenient spot to stay the night.
Our camp was at the end of this dirt road
It seemed like a pretty nondescript spot until we wandered into the woods and found a land filled with mushrooms. I counted at least 15 different types of all shapes, sizes and colors. I don’t know if they were from different species, families or simply varying life stages but the variety was astounding. I tried to look them up but, as usual, my ability to identify them fell short. It seems that there can be very minute details that separate one type of mushroom from another. You must look at the ribs under the cap, the cap, the color, the bulb, the way the stem attaches to the top, the way it opens, the way it decays, what color appears when you cut it, and much more.
I thought this was a giant puffball until I saw that it had an enormous stem.The one below was rotted but you can see the size of its stem.
I collected these for dinner. Puffballs have to be harvested before their insides explode. I was excited to see such large ones that were still young enough to eat.
“The distinguishing feature of all puffballs is that they do not have an open cap with spore-bearing gills. Instead, spores are produced internally, in a spheroidal fruiting body called agasterothecium (gasteroid (‘stomach-like’) basidiocarp). As the spores mature, they form a mass called a gleba in the centre of the fruiting body that is often of a distinctive color and texture. The basidiocarp remains closed until after the spores have been released from the basidia. Eventually, it develops an aperture, or dries, becomes brittle, and splits, and the spores escape. The spores of puffballs are statismospores rather than ballistospores, meaning they are not actively shot off the basidium. The fungi are called ‘puffballs’ because clouds of brown dust-like spores are emitted when the mature fruiting body bursts, or in response to impacts such as those of falling raindrops.”
At the end of this video you can see the spores on my finger tips
and then I found a petrified crushed dinosaur egg!