Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians

Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians

William C. Roody
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 536
Stable URL: http:/stable/j.ctt130hrqm
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  • Book Info
    Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians
    Book Description:

    With its dense forests and plentiful rainfall, West Virginia and the rest of the Central Appalachian region is an almost perfect habitat for hundreds of varieties of wild mushrooms. For the mushroom hunter, this vast bounty provides sheer delight and considerable challenge, for every outdoor excursion offers the chance of finding a mushroom not previously encountered. For both the seasoned mycologist and the novice mushroom hunter,Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachiansserves as a solid introduction s of the region. Some 400 species are described and illustrated with the author's own stunning color photographs, and many more are discussed in the text. Detailed mushroom descriptions assure confident identifications. Each species account includes remarks about edibility and extensive commentary to help distinguish similar species. A comprehensive glossary of specialized mycological terms is provided.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5657-6
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences, Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xii-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    The most satisfactory answer to this question is that a mushroom is the fruiting body of a fungus, designed to produce and disseminate reproductive spores. Mushrooms have evolved a great variety of forms and dispersal mechanisms in order to accomplish this, but the basic function remains the same. The main body of a fungus is usually hidden from view beneath the ground or within various substrates. It is composed of a network of microscopic thread-like filaments (hyphae), which individually are many times thinner than human hair and are invisible to the naked eye. A mass of interwoven hyphae is collectively...

  6. How to Use This Book
    (pp. 9-9)
  7. Pictured Key to Major Groups
    (pp. 10-11)
  8. 1. Gilled Mushrooms
    • Key to the Groups of Gilled Mushrooms
      (pp. 14-15)
    • Descriptions of Gilled Mushrooms
      • Section 1-A Gilled Mushrooms with a Lateral Stalk, or Stalk Lacking
        (pp. 16-28)

        The mushrooms in this section are saprobes or parasites that grow on wood or, less often, on soil. Most are laterally attached to the substrate, often occurring in overlapping shelf-like clusters. The spore color of species with overlapping caps is sometimes evident in the field when the spores from one fruitbody accumulate on the caps of those beneath....

      • Section 1-B Gilled Mushrooms with a Ring on the Stalk, Growing on Wood
        (pp. 29-43)

        Normally the mushrooms grouped here are conspicuously growing on wood. However they can sometimes appear to be growing on soil or humus if the woody substrate is extensively decomposed or buried. The stalk ring is formed from a partial veil that extends from the cap margin to the stalk on young specimens. As the cap expands, the veil typically separates from the cap margin but remains attached to the stalk as a well-defined membranous collar or skirt-like ring. Species that merely have a zone of appressed fibrils on the stalk are placed in other sections....

      • Section 1-C Gilled Mushrooms with a Membranous Ring on the Stalk, Growing on Soil or Humus
        (pp. 44-80)

        This section includes representatives from several genera, including many species in the important genusAmanita,which has both edible and dangerously poisonous members.

        Keep in mind that a partial veil that forms a ring on the stalk may fall away and disappear in older specimens. Also, in some cases the ring may merge with scales or other material on the stalk and be less apparent. Mushrooms that have a thin band of appressed fibrils (from a collapsed web-like veil) rather than a more substantial membranous ring on the stalk are grouped elsewhere.

        A few mushrooms included in this section can...

      • Section 1-D Gilled Mushrooms Growing on the Ground, with Flesh and Gills Exuding a Clear, Milky, or Colored Latex When Cut or Broken
        (pp. 81-110)

        The mushrooms grouped here are members of the genusLactarius,which is characterized by species having white spores, brittle flesh, gills that are attached to the stalk, and—most importantly—tissue that exudes a white, clear, or colored fluid (latex) when the fruitbody is cut or broken. For this reason they are called “milk mushrooms.” The taste of the latex is important in the identification of species. It ranges from mild tasting to intensely acrid. A small amount on the tip of the tongue is sufficient to determine this, although it sometimes takes a minute or so for an acrid...

      • Section 1-E Small Mushrooms with Decurrent or Subdecurrent Gills or Gill-like Folds
        (pp. 111-124)

        The mushrooms placed in this section are small to medium-small in size with stalks that are typically no thicker than a standard pencil (¼ inch = 6 mm) at the apex. In some species the gills are not strongly decurrent at first but become more so as the cap expands and the cap margin is elevated. Gills that only slightly extend down the stalk are termed subdecurrent. Also included here are some of the smaller chanterelles that have gill-like folds or blunt ridges on the underside of the cap. Some medium-small sized mushrooms with decurrent gills that have stalks in...

      • Section 1-F Medium to Large Mushrooms with Decurrent Gills or Blunt Gill-like Folds
        (pp. 125-151)

        This section includes true giUed mushrooms, larger chanterelles, and one unusual bolete that has a gill-like hymenium. All have central or eccentric, ringless stalks that are typically more than ¼ inch (6 mm) thick at the apex. The gills or folds on the underside of the cap may be either slightly or strongly decurrent. With some chanterelles, the fertile undersurface is composed of shallow wrinkles, or in some instances it can be nearly smooth. Similar mushrooms that exude sap from cut or broken flesh (milk mushrooms) axe placed in Section 1-D. Smaller mushrooms that have decurrent gills are placed in...

      • Section 1-G Small Mushrooms Growing on Wood, Gills Not Decurrent
        (pp. 152-165)

        The mushrooms in this section have central, ringless stalks that are ¼ inch (6 mm) or less thick at the apex. The gills are free from the stalk or variously attached but not decurrent. They are wood-rotting saprobes that often grow in groups or clusters and are frequently found on and around decaying logs and stumps, but also on wood chips and wood mulch in landscaped places. The woody substrate is usually obvious, but bear in mind that small twigs and branches as well as roots may be partly or wholly buried and mushrooms that are attached to them can...

      • Section 1-H(a) Small Mushrooms That Grow on the Ground or on Other Non-woody Substrates, Having White to Pinkish Buff Spores, and Gills That Are Not Decurrent
        (pp. 166-188)

        The mushrooms in this section have central, rineless stalks that are usually no thicker at the apex than a standard pencil (¼ inch = 6 mm). The gills are free to variously attached to the stalk, but typically not decurrent.

        In order to reduce the possibilities when searching for a correct match, Section 1-H is divided into two parts based on the color of the spore deposit. Similar mushrooms that grow on non-woody substrates but have dark-colored spores are placed in Section l-H(b). If the stalk thickness is borderline in the ¼-inch range, also review Section l-K(a), which includes somewhat...

      • Section 1-H(b) Small Mushrooms That Grow on Soil or Other Non-woody Substrates, Having Pink, Brown, or Blackish Spores, and Gills That Are Not Decurrent
        (pp. 189-204)

        The species in this section have central, ringless stalks that are usually no thicker at the apex than a standard pencil (¼ inch = 6 mm). The gills are nearly free or variously attached to the stalk, but not decurrent.

        In order to reduce the number of possibilities when searching for a correct match, Section 1-H is divided into two parts based on the color of the spore deposit. Similar small mushrooms with light-colored spores are placed in Section l-H(a). If the stalk thickness is marginally in the ¼-inch range, review also the species in Section l-K(b), which are similar...

      • Section 1-I Medium to Large Mushrooms Growing on Wood or Associated with Decaying Wood, Gills Not Decurrent, Stalk Ring Lacking
        (pp. 205-214)

        The mushrooms in this section are wood-rotting saprobes that often grow in groups or clusters. They are commonly found on and around decaying logs and stumps, but also on wood chips and wood mulch....

      • Section 1-J Medium to Large Terrestrial Mushrooms Having Brittle Flesh That Does Not Exude Latex When Broken
        (pp. 215-234)

        The mushrooms included here are in the genusRussula,a large and difficult group with several dozen species occurring in the Central Appalachians. Their stature is typically short and stocky, with the width of the cap usually exceeding the length of the stalk. Although it is difficult to identify many species based solely on field features, it is relatively easy to recognize members of the genus by their squatty stature and the brittle nature of the fruitbody. Their stalks will break cleanly (like a piece of chalk), and with a few exceptions the gills will crumble or flake when rubbed....

      • Section 1-K(a) Medium to Large Mushrooms with White to Pale Pinkish Buff Spores That Grow on the Ground, Have Fibrous Flesh, and Have Gills That Are Free or Variously Attached but Not Strongly Decurrent.
        (pp. 235-265)

        This section includes terrestrial mushrooms that exhibit a broad range of macroscopic features, but all have a ringless stalk that is typically more than ¼-inch (6 mm) thick at the apex. It is a catch-all group united by size, spore color, and the lack of features used to categorize the other groups of gilled mushrooms. Additional light-spored mushrooms having a marginal stalk thickness in the ¼-inch range are found in Section 1-H(a). For similar medium to large terrestrial mushrooms having dark-spores, see Section 1-K(b)....

      • Section 1-K(b) Medium to Large Mushrooms That Grow on the Ground, with Gills That Are Free from the Stalk or Variously Attached but Not Decurrent, and with Pinkish, Brown, or Black Spores
        (pp. 266-279)

        What the mushrooms in this section have in common are size, spore color, terrestrial growth habitat, and the lack of features used to categorize the other groups of gilled mushrooms. They typically have a stalk that is more than ¼ in. (6 mm) thick at the apex. For similar dark-spored mushrooms having a marginal stalk thickness in the J4-inch range, see also Section 1-H(b). For similar medium to large terrestrial mushrooms that have light colored spores, see Section 1-K(a)....

  9. 2. Boletes and Stalked Polypores
    • Key to the Groups of Boletes and Stalked Polypores
      (pp. 282-282)
    • Descriptions of Boletes and Stalked Polypores
      • Section 2-A Boletes with a Ring on the Stalk
        (pp. 283-288)

        The ring that is present on the stalk of a small number of boletes is formed from a partial veil, which in young specimens extends from the cap margin to the stalk and covers the immature pore surface. When the spores are mature, the partial veil separates from the cap margin and collapses on the stalk, and remains as a membranous or cottony-fibrillose ring.Strobilomyces floccopus(p.308) also has a partial veil, but it leaves a ring that merges with—and is often indistinguishable from—its shaggy stalk....

      • Section 2-B Boletes with a Red to Brown Pore Surface
        (pp. 289-296)

        Four genera of boletes are represented in this section. They are placed together here because all have red or brown tube mouths. This is a prominent feature that is not shared by many boletes. The group includesBoletus subvelutipes,one of the few boletes known to be poisonous. Although the pore color itself has nothing to do with toxicity, the red-pored boletes have long been viewed with fear and suspicion....

      • Section 2-C Boletes with a White or Yellow Pore Surface and Net-like Ornamentation on the Stalk
        (pp. 297-313)

        The net-like pattern (reticulation) on the stalk of many boletes is usually an obvious feature, but it can vary in color, mesh size, and the extent of the stalk that is covered. With some boletes the reticulation is limited to the very apex of the stalk. Occasionally it may be so fine or delicate that a hand lens is helpful to determine its presence. Species that only rarely show a slight reticulation at the apex are distributed in other sections....

      • Section 2-D Boletes with a White or Yellow Pore Surface That Stains Blue or Greenish Blue When Bruised
        (pp. 314-322)

        A bluish or greenish blue bruising of the pore surface is not uncommon in boletes. Although the intensity of the staining varies, it is readily apparent when the pore surface is rubbed or scratched. With most species the reaction is immediate and pronounced. With others, especially on older and dryer specimens, the staining may be slow and weak. It is best to check this feature using fresh boletes in good condition....

      • Section 2-E Boletes with a White to Yellow Pore Surface That Does Not Stain When Bruised, or Bruises Colors Other Than Blue
        (pp. 323-342)

        These boletes have a pore surface that is white to yellow when young, but with age may develop other colors in the brown to gray, vinaceous, or olivaceous range. This is a fairly large section that contains species from several genera. They are placed here as a catch-all group that lack features used to define boletes in other sections....

      • Section 2-F Stalked Polypores with Simple or Compound Fruitbodies
        (pp. 343-367)

        Stalked polypores differ from boletes in that their tube or pore layer is proportionately shallow and does not easily separate from the flesh of the cap. Most have leathery or fibrous, persistent fruitbodies, whereas boletes are always relatively soft and fleshy. Also, boletes are typically terrestrial and only infrequently found growing on wood. In contrast, most polypores grow on or from woody substrates. Those that appear to be growing on the ground are mostly saprobes that are attached to buried wood. A few terrestrial polypores form mycorrhiza with trees. Stalked polypores may have independent caps and stalks, or they can...

  10. Section 3. Lignicolous Bracket and Shelf Polypores with Lateral Attachment
    (pp. 369-389)

    The polypores in this section have simple or compound fruitbodies that grow on wood. Some are perennials that continue to grow and produce spores over a period of several years by adding a new fertile portion each season. Others are annuals and are functional for one season only, though their tough fruitbodies often persist for much longer. Normally these polypores are laterally attached to the substrate and are stalkless, however at times, such as when growing on the upper side of a fallen log or other horizontal surfaces, they may have a more or less central point of attachment, or...

  11. Section 4. Tooth Fungi
    (pp. 391-405)

    The mushrooms in this section exhibit a variety of forms and occur on various substrates, but what they all have in common is a fertile surface composed of hanging or projecting spines or “teeth” on which the reproductive spores are produced. One bracket polypore,Irpex lacteus,is also included here because its poroid fertile surface soon becomes lacerated and tooth-like....

  12. Section 5. Club Fungi
    (pp. 407-419)

    The mushrooms in this diverse group are more or less club-shaped or finger-like with simple stalks (rarely branched or lobed). Although superficially similar, they represent several different taxonomic groups. They can grow singly, clustered, or scattered on a variety of substrates. Tubular or narrowly club-shaped fungi that do not have clearly differentiated fertile portions are placed with the Coral Fungi (Section 6)....

  13. Section 6. Coral Mushrooms and Look-Alikes
    (pp. 421-435)

    The mushrooms in this section resemble marine corals. Some grow as clusters of simple tubular clubs (worm corals), while others are branched and shrub-like. Coral mushrooms are among the most beautiful mushrooms in our woods, but many are very difficult to identify without using a microscope. Those included here are relatively distinctive and can usually be recognized in the field. Remember, however, that other similar species are not featured in this guide. Although some coral mushrooms are good edibles, others are at least mildly poisonous, causing various degrees of gastrointestinal disorders. Because of the difficulty of identifying species, caution is...

  14. Section 7. Puffballs, Earthballs, Earthstars, and Other Puffball-Like Mushrooms
    (pp. 437-449)

    The species in this section produce spores within an enclosed outer wall (peridium) or spore case. Unlike most other mushrooms, they do not forcibly discharge their spores. Puffballs are more or less spherical to pear-shaped, thin-skinned, and quite variable in size. Their flesh (gleba) is solid when young but becomes a dry powdery mass of spores when mature. Earthballs are similar to puffballs but have a hard, firm flesh when young and a thick outer rind. Earthstars are “glorified puffballs” that have a multi-layered peridium with an outer wall diat splits into ray-like segments that open and recline to expose...

  15. Section 8. Jelly Fungi
    (pp. 451-455)

    The mushrooms grouped here have a gelatinous to rubbery consistency when moist. In dry weather these fungi shrivel and become relatively inconspicuous, then revive when wet conditions return. The Jelly fungi (Tremellales) are microscopically distinct from other basidiomycetes by having a septate (divided by partitions) basidium. Some members of in this taxonomic group, such asPseudohydnum gelatinosum(p. 402) andTremellodendron pallidum(p. 435), are superficially more similar to the mushrooms in other sections and are placed elsewhere in this guide....

  16. Section 9. Cup Fungi and Bird’s Nest Fungi
    (pp. 457-475)

    Although superficially similar, the cup-shaped fungi in this section represent two very different taxonomic groups. The true cup fungi are ascomycetes, in which the reproductive spores are produced inside a sac-like structure called an ascus (pil. asci). At maturity the ascus ruptures and forcibly ejects the spores. The fertile inner surface of a true cup fungus (apothecium) is composed of densely packed asci that act like microscopic cannons as they “shoot” their spores into the air, often simultaneously in astronomical numbers. This amazing display of fungal fireworks is not only visible but sometimes audible as a soft “hiss.” Spore dispersal...

  17. Section 10. Morels, False Morels, and Elfin Saddles
    (pp. 477-487)

    The species contained in this section are of great importance to mushroom hunters since they include the true morels (genusMorchella), which are perhaps the most highly prized of all edible wild mushrooms. Here too are the false morels (genusGyromitra) and elfin saddles (genusHelvella), which are generally regarded—or suspected—to be poisonous when consumed, especially if eaten raw.

    True morels and elfin saddles contain toxic hemolysins. These substances destroy red blood corpuscles, but are rendered harmless in cooking. False morels have a different and potentially more dangerous toxic property. They contain gyromitrin, a carcinogenic toxin that breaks...

  18. Section 11. Mycoparasites and Miscellaneous
    (pp. 489-498)

    This is a catch-all group of odd fungi that do not fit into any of the other sections. All are distinctive and easily recognized by their overall form and growth habitat....

  19. Glossary
    (pp. 499-504)
  20. References and Recommended Reading
    (pp. 505-506)
  21. Index to Scientific and Common Names
    (pp. 507-521)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 522-524)