Laccaria Bicolor

Laccaria Becolor, Vancouver Island, BC
Laccaria Becolor, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

Laccaria bicolor is a very common mushroom that can be found in the pacific northwest. It was formerly known as Laccaria laccata. This mushroom may just be edible and some say it’s good, I find it’s not very good, so I would suggest you just enjoy seeing it and admiring how it has developed an ability to eat springtails, this species is an important mycorrhizal species for forest development.

Laccaria bicolor grows under conifers in western North America. Its gills are faintly purplish and this is a fairly easy way to ID them, of course, they are pretty distinctive to see. One of the fascinating facts about this mushroom is that it has a relationship with conifer trees, this is a strange relationship, you see most springtails eat mycelium, but the Laccaria Bicolor has turned the tables here, and they eat springtails. This is a benefit to the forest. You see trees receive sugars from mycelium and the more mycelium, the more sugars to help the growth of the forest. Laccaria bicolor is a basidiomycete that forms ectomycorrhizal associations with different northern forest trees. Because of this, it is commonly exploited in forest nurseries to enhance the growth of the seedlings.

Walking in the forests of Vancouver Island looking for mushrooms has become a passion of mine, Laccaria Bicolor seems to be very common here. I think they are a very pretty mushroom to observe and to understand that it can eat soil animals instead of being consumed itself adds a certain quality to these mushrooms.

 

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