WPMC Summer Mushroom BINGO 2020

ATTENTION all you hyper-competitive mushroom hunters out there! WPMC Identifier Cara Coulter has created the “WPMC Summer Mushroom BINGO 2020” Project on iNaturalist. It runs from July 1 through 31, but you have to join the Project to play. Each time you spot a mushroom that is listed on the Bingo Card, submit it as an Observation and add it to the Project. The first person to get five in a row–either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally–is the winner! The first three to get Bingo will win a personalized painting by Cara herself. Good luck!
To join the project:

Species list from Secret walk at Deer Lakes Park – Dorothy Fornof foray on 06/27/2020

This is the first “secret walk” that we held in order to comply with a limit of 25 people in the group and maintaining social distancing etc. It was also the first walk of the year! A June walk at Deer Lakes park is named in memory of Dorothy Fornof, one of the clubs founders, a keen naturalist and accomplished mycologist. Normally by the end of June the mushrooms are popping and we find a wide range of species. Amanitas, Boletes and Russulas all make an appearance. We typically find the first of the seasons black trumpets and chanterelles too. We did find a few of everything, except black trumpets, but only one or two specimens of one or two species of each genus so the resulting list is shorter than normal. The top part of the walk was dry and unproductive apart from last years remains of true and false turkey tail etc. Down by the lake and along the creek was damper and we found more variety there including a number of slime molds.

Species list identified and entered by Richard Jacob.

List of species found on the walk at Secret walk at Deer Lakes – Dorothy Fornof foray:
Allodus podophylli (Mayapple Rust),
Amanita amerifulva (American Orange-Brown Ringless Amanita),
Amanita flavoconia (Yellow Patches),
Aureoboletus innixus (Clustered Brown Bolete),
Boletus subvelutipes (Red-Mouth Bolete),
Cantharellus flavolateritius (),
Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa (Coral Slime),
Cerioporus squamosus (Dryad’s Saddle, Pheasant Polypore),
Conocybe lactea (White Dunce Cap),
Crepidotus applanatus (Flat Crep),
Crepidotus mollis (Jelly Crep/Soft Stumpfoot),
Diatrype stigma (Common Tarcrust Fungus),
Fuligo septica (Scrambled-egg Slime; Dog Vomit Slime),
Hemitrichia calyculata (),
Hypomyces chrysospermus (Bolete Mold),
Inonotus dryadeus (Oak Bracket),
Irpex lacteus (Milk-white Toothed-Polypore),
Lacrymaria velutina (Weeping widow),
Marasmius rotula (Pinwheel Marasmius),
Megacollybia rodmanii (Platterful Mushroom),
Neofavolus alveolaris (Hexagonal-pored Polypore),
Orbilia xanthostigma (),
Polyporus arcularius (Spring Polypore),
Polyporus varius (),
Psathyrella candolleana (),
Rickenella fibula (Orange Moss Agaric),
Russula vinacea (),
Schizophyllum commune (Split Gill),
Stereum ostrea (False Turkey-tail),
Trametes versicolor (Turkey-tail),
Trichaptum biforme (Violet Toothed-Polypore),
Tubifera ferruginosa (Raspberry slime mold)

Species not currently on clubs life list:
Honey mushroom rhizomorph
Scutellinia sp. – will be ID’ed by microscope.
Old Laetiporus sulphureus
Russula sp.
Dried up Hydnellum sp.

June meeting online – Looking for Summer FUNgi

WPMC identifier and board member Fluff Berger presents “Looking for Summer FUNgi”. Summer brings out some of the most unusual, colorful and delicious fungi. Slow down while hiking and keep your eyes roving to find these beautiful mushrooms.

Species list from Phipps Bioblitz on 06/03/2020

As part of the Phipps BioBlitz Fluff Berger and Richard Jacob recorded their finds from the area around the conservatory. In past years we have found more species in part because we have people walking with us that means more eyes and in part because of the weather. It’s been quite dry and that seems to be slowing down some of the early summer mushrooms. The second Scutellinia specimen we found in the video was identified by microscopy as Scutellinia olivascens.

Species list entered by Richard Jacob. Species identified by Fluff Berger and Richard Jacob

List of species found on the walk at Phipps Bioblitz:
Chlorociboria aeruginascens (Blue-green Stain),
Diatrype stigma (),
Inonotus dryadeus (Oak Bracket),
Lyophyllum decastes (Fried Chicken Mushroom),
Pluteus cervinus (Deer mushroom),
Schizophyllum commune (Split Gill),
Scutellinia olivascens (),
Stereum complicatum (Crowded Parchment),
Stereum ostrea (False Turkey-tail),
Trametes versicolor (Turkey-tail),
Xylaria polymorpha (Dead Man’s Fingers)

Species not currently on clubs life list:
Stemonitis species (Chocolate Tube Slime),

See the video highlights from the walk here:

May meeting online: Heavy Metal Contamination in Edible Mushrooms

On May 19th we held our first online meeting. Rather than the traditional cultivation night which we were not able to host due to meeting restrictions we had a talk on a new project: Heavy Metal Contamination in Edible Mushrooms by past president Richard Jacob.

You can see a recording of the meeting and talk here:

Or just look at the slides:

We are looking for suggestions on which popular edible mushrooms we should test and mushroom picking sites booth those that are potentially polluted and those that are as clean as can be in the current day and age. Please email site-admin@wpamushroomclub.org with your ideas. Collection consists of picking the mushroom in one wax bag and some top soil in another, then drying in an dehumidifier or low oven until very dry.

After the presentation we had a zoom call attended by ~40 members. We discussed a number of ideas on future online content and how to structure future zoom meetings.

Walk reports from May 2ed.

As the club works around the social distancing and pandemic restrictions we have two very different kinds of walks from this weekend. The first event was a Facebook Live stream where you could accompany club identifier Cara Barkley Coulter hunting for morels at an undisclosed location. Even if you missed the live event you can still go see it now and find out if Cara found any morels.

For the second event you can see the highlights of a walk by club identifier Richard Jacob at the beautify Braddock Trail park also looking for morels. The video includes clips of cooking up a mushroom dish and identify the Eyelash cup that was found by microscopy.

Going forward the club will try to generate some more video content for meetings and walks. Once we move to yellow restrictions we will be able to try some socially distanced walks where people meet at a location but go their separate ways and collect mushrooms sharing the pictures on iNaturalist. We will then build a species list from the iNaturalist reports. What we won’t be doing is meeting at the end of the walk to look over the mushrooms and discuss identifications.

Braddock Trail species list from 5/2/2020

Species list entered by Richard Jacob.

List of species found on the walk at Braddock Trail:
Aleuria aurantia (Orange Peel Fungus),
Cerioporus squamosus (Dryad’s Saddle, Pheasant Polypore),
Coprinellus micaceus (Mica Cap),
Morchella americana (Yellow Morel),
Morchella diminutiva (Tulip Morel),
Polyporus arcularius (Spring Polypore),
Polyporus badius (Black-footed Polypore),
Stereum ostrea (False Turkey-tail),
Scutellinia crinita (Eyelash cup),
Trametes versicolor (Turkey-tail),
Trichaptum biforme (Violet Toothed-Polypore)


Test your mushroom knowledge with our quiz.

Question range from easy to fiendishly difficult. Go take the quiz now. Did you score as an Aminita? Or started to Deliquesce or worse only coming in as a Fungi? If you enjoyed the quiz send us new questions to challenge your fellow members. I may even come up with a mushroom related prize for the first club member to answer them all right who is not a club identifier or mycologist.

2020 Pittsburgh City Nature Challenge this weekend

City Nature Challenge 2020: Pittsburgh Region starts on Friday April 24, 2020 and runs to Sunday April 27, 2020.

There is a iNaturalist page that goes over the requirements and a general webpage for the whole project.

Mushrooms are still a bit thin on the ground but between us all we should find quite a variety. Here is what we found last year on an Earth day walk in Frick Park. Due to current social distances regulations there is no organized walks and you are on your own. Take a family member so that you don’t get lost on your own and be aware of ticks!

CARNEGIE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY & PITTSBURGH PARKS CONSERVANCY have prepared nine guides for posting good photos to iNaturalist.
Fungi, Lichens, Trees, Herbaceous Plants, Birds, Mammals, Insects, Mollusks and even Arachnids!
Carnegie Museum Of Natural History even has a photogenic fungi page.
Check these out before Friday, April 24, when the CITY NATURE CHALLENGE begins!


EarthWeek: Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club Talk – Live on 7pm 21st April

This was recorded live at 7pm April 21st as part of the Carnegie Science Center Something to WATCH: For our #EarthWeek Toadstool Tuesday finale, Richard Jacob – a scientist, amateur mycologist, and past president of the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club – is here to talk about mushrooms and share his perspective on the documentary Fantastic Fungi, now available to rent online via The Rangos Giant Cinema: https://bit.ly/2VlituS

As a member of the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club, he’s an identifier that has identified more than 150 mushroom species, leads mushroom walks, and teaches other members. Have a question about mushrooms? Post it in the Carnegie Science Center Facebook page!

You can watch a recording of the presentation in case you missed it or watch it again if you enjoyed it so much the first time.

Here is the presentation that has pictures of some of the mushrooms mentioned in the presentation:

And the  guide for fungi from the City Nature challenge, prepared by club identifier Stephen Bucklin, can be downloaded from here.


“Puffing” in Sarcoscypha austriaca: Back to Ziegenspeck

If you are hunting for morels, or indeed any mushroom, during this early spring season you may come across the brightly colored scarlet cup mushroom. There are a number of very similar looking species in the western PA region that you really need a microscope to differentiate them. By taking a sample and looking at the spore size shape and features, particularly the number of oil drops in it you can then identify the specimen down to the species level.

One of the fun attributes of Scarlet cup is that it will “puff” spores when stimulated by tapping or blowing on it. This is quite common with a number of larger cup species (Pezizaceae). Here are a couple of examples of a blow on a Scarlet Cup and a tap on a Devils Urn.

The current issue of the journal Mycologia has an in depth analysis of the Sarcoscypha austriaca (scarlet cup) mushroom and how the spore puff mechanism works. The article is open access so you can read it if you wish. The researches used high speed cameras and blue lasers among other tools to visualize the spores being released. They determined that a small but distinct deformation in the fruiting body caused a cascade of asci quasi-simultaneously bursting and releasing spores. The deformation could be caused by the wind or something touching or moving the fruiting body. This confirms the hypothesis proposed by H. Ziegenspeck over a century ago and is different from the dung living Ascobolus species that discharge its spores in a a wave starting from a random origin like a ripple from a drop of water.

The supplementary data has some clips of the different ways they detected the spore release. My favorite clip is Movie4_Puffing_Saustriaca.gif which shows recording of a spore puff from a sectioned fruitbody.