Non Edible Mushrooms

Previous Page  Shingled Rock Shield Lichen                Next Page  Amanita Muscaria Mushroom

Non Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest

Amanita Muscaria, Vancouver Island, BC, Non Edible Mushrooms
Amanita Muscaria, Photo By Bud Logan

Non Edible Mushrooms differ in their effects according to the chemical nature of their toxins. Medical science recognize about 6 quite different classes of mushroom poison. The most virulent, like those from the amanita species are quite often deadly. There are other toxins just as deadly in other mushrooms. Some cause varying degrees of illness but are not in the most part as deadly.

Some mushrooms can be quite tasty and good to harvest in parts of their territories but then can be quite poisonous in other parts. This makes harvesting them a real challenge.

I suggest you developed a short list, say around 12 mushrooms, that you gather and then stay with them. After getting to know these, you can add one or two new ones a year and after a few years, you will have quite a decent list of mushrooms that you harvest. Always try just a small portion when trying out a new mushroom, mushrooms have a variety of effects on different people.

Birds Nest Fungi, Non Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest
Birds Nest Fungi, Photo By Bud Logan
Birds Nest Fungi are a small group of saprophytic fungi that have a unique way of reproducing. As their common name suggests they look like small bird’s nests complete with eggs. In fact, the nest is a splash cup which is light to dark brown, green or white on the outside and white, grey or brown on the inside, depending on the species.

With smooth flaring sides between up to 10 mm in diameter and up to 20 mm in height, again depending on the species. Immature bird nest have a cap over the top of the splash cup to protect the eggs, which brakes away at maturity.

The eggs are small capsules which contain the spores. These capsules are lens shaped shiny white, black, grey or dark brown in color.  As bird’s nest fungi are saprophytes and thus decomposers of organic material, they are found most often on decaying wood, small twigs, tree fern debris and sometimes on animal scat.

Birds Nest Fungi, Non Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest
Birds Nest Fungi, Photo By Bud Logan
The Birds Nest fungi use the hydraulic pressure of water to disperse their capsules. This is achieved by rainwater or water dripping off foliage above, dripping into the splash cup.

This cup is the right shape and size that when the water hits the bottom of the cup it splashes out with enough force to disperse the capsules up to a meter away. When the capsules land on a solid object, like a leaf or twig they stick to it, then grow into a new mushroom.

Bleeding tooth Mushroom, Non Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest
Bleeding tooth Mushroom, Photo By Robert Logan
The Bleeding Tooth Mushroom can be found in the Pacific Northwest, it resides mostly in coniferous forests. The Bleeding Tooth can also be found in Europe and and a few other areas in the far east.

When you first see the bleeding tooth, you will be amazed at the red color, looks so much like blood, but look more closely and it becomes obvious that the fungus is producing the red fluids through its own small pores. On most specimens you will see that it does resemble blood, but the color can also be light pink, yellow, orange or beige in color. Some say it even resembles candy. Though not uncommon in our part of the world, most people upon seeing it for the first time are completely perplexed by this mushroom. It is non edible but quite fascinating to observe in the wild.

Bleeding Tooth Mushroom,Non Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest
Bleeding Tooth Mushroom, Photo By Bud Logan
Scientists have discovered the fungus contains antibiotic properties, effective against streptococcus. The mushroom can also be dried and transformed into a plant based dye for cloth, producing an earthy beige color or sometimes a blue or green color. The juice itself contains a pigment called atromentin which has been discovered as having anticoagulant properties.

It is usually found to grow in mountainous areas under cedars, pines, hemlocks, redwoods and other types of coniferous trees. This fungus can reproduce both sexually and asexually. In asexual reproduction, the mushroom produces fruit bodies, these fruit bodies disperse the spores through the nearby forest. These spores in turn produce mycelium which grows to produce a mushroom and the life cycle of the bleeding tooth fungus continues.

I find these mushrooms to be very interesting, they are quite awesome to see. I am always looking for them when we are hiking in the high country.

Crystal Brain Fungus, Non Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest
Crystal Brain Fungi, Photo By Robert Logan
Crystal Brain Fungus, (myxarium nucleatum) is a translucent, white, jelly fungus that grows on hardwoods but can sometimes be found in large blobs on the ground that take on a brain like appearance.

The fruiting bodies are white and gelatinous. It is a common fungi, typically growing as irregular masses on decaying deciduous wood. It can occur in extensive patches though, like the one in the photo.When they get big, they take on the brain-like shape.

crystal brain fungi
Crystal Brain Fungi, Photo By Bud Logan
Myxarium Nucleatum typically fruits in autumn and winter. It is widely distributed in North America, you will find it on all parts of the Pacific Northwest. I find it a fascinating fungus. There are many amazing kinds of fungi that grow on our coast.

Although this fungus is of the jelly type and most likely edible, l would not even consider eating this fungus.

The Witches Hat Mushroom is commonly known as the witches cap, they are also called blackening waxcap mushrooms, this is one of several species whose caps turn black with age. The witches cap can be seen in lines along roadsides where the grass is well shaded, moist and mossy.

This mushroom is quite beautiful when seen in bright sunshine, these conical waxcap fungi can look just as good in wet weather, as they stand out brightly against the green background of their grassy habitats.

Witches Hat Mushroom, Non Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest
Witches Hat Mushroom, Photo By Robert Logan

Witches cap can be red, orange, yellow and jet black. Sometimes you will see all of these colors in a group and occasionally on a single mushroom. The shapes of the caps are sometimes conical while some become almost flat.

The beauty of these little mushrooms is fleeting, as they will soon turn black all over. If you touch the cap, gills or stem they soon turn black. Witches caps continue to drop spores even when entirely blackened.

The cap is from 4 to 7cm in diameter; varying from an initial light orange to orange red, often paler at the edge. The surface is slimy in damp weather but in dry weather it becomes dry and silky. The caps rarely open out fully and after fruiting, they soon turn black, at first in patches but eventually they blacken all over. Even when blackened the caps of these fungi remain quite shiny. The gills are at first a pale lemon yellow, becoming more orange and then blackening as the rest of the mushroom changes color.

The stem is up to 8 mm in diameter and up to 8 cm tall. The stem is a yellow with a scarlet tinge color near the cap but remaining much paler at the base, the stem is full, rather than hollow, and the stem flesh is initially white but quickly turns black when cut. Eventually, the whole stem blackens from the top downwards. The spore print is white.

Witches hat mushrooms have long been considered to be saprobic on the dead roots of grasses and other grassland plants, but it is now considered likely that there is some kind of mutual relationship between waxcaps and mosses.

The witches hat is a fairly common mushroom in the Pacific Northwest and can be found in most areas, it is also found over much of North America and Europe as well.

Previous Page  Shingled Rock Shield Lichen                Next Page  Amanita Muscaria Mushroom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.