Along several of our hikes on the Bruce Trail we have encountered a variety of mushrooms and fungus. We have never been overly excited to try to learn a lot about them since they are very difficult to identify, especially if you don’t turn them over and inspect them. Mushrooms of the same species can come in a variety of sizes, relative shapes and colours. My basic research has taught me that you can identify fungi in fungus orders and families, and if you want somewhere to start, try to identify at least the group the fungus might belong to. I have two different books on mushrooms and they each approach identification in a completely different way. I will add a link to each book at the bottom of the post and maybe write a review about them in the future.
Along almost any trail you will find mushrooms and fungi. They can be difficult to spot if you aren’t paying attention but when we spot them we do try to document them through photography. Mushrooms, as a photographic subject, can be quite interesting.
This was a particularly large specimen. It appears to be some kind of ‘polypore‘ and since I didn’t capture it surroundings, I can’t tell you whether it was growing out of the ground or off the side of a rotting log or on a living tree. I do think it was probably growing on the side of a fallen tree though. I like the colours and texture in this mushroom. Also, it truly feels like a part of nature, which it is, with the water droplet, fallen leaves resting on top of it and the sunlight magnifying its beautiful tones.
These mushrooms were covering a fallen log. There were larger ones and smaller ones. Some were on the top, others were growing on the side, but reaching to the sun and others were wilting. The decaying wood was obviously a perfect habitat for these fungi.
These adorable clusters of Pear-shaped Puffballs were covering a rotting log. As they mature, their insides will turn from a soft texture to a brown, powdery substance, called spores, and they will eventually be released from a hole at the top of the puffball. These spores can be swept away by the wind or washed into the soil from a rain-storm.
This yellow, jelly-like fungi is called Orange Witches’ Butter. It likes to grow on dead coniferous trees and can be seen after a heavy rain in virtually any season. These fungi hold water to help them endure dry periods.
While hiking, pay attention to the sides of trees, fallen logs and decaying wood. Mushrooms can be hiding in a variety of places, including moist areas, near streams, under certain trees, and so on. If you are a note taker, keep track of where you find mushrooms. This will help you learn where to look and maybe even help you identify some of them!
We strongly urge all of our readers not to eat wild mushrooms unless you are absolutely sure that it isn’t poisonous. Even if you are sure, only eat a small amount. Inedible mushrooms can make you sick and some will even kill you. Be safe.