Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Ling Chih (Ganoderma lucidum)

A couple nice specimens of Ling Chih (Ganoderma lucidum) growing at the base of a Maple among some Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea). Photographed 9/29/12 in Kanawha County, WV.

Shaggy Parasol (Lepiota or Chlorophyllum rachodes)

A healthy patch of Shaggy Parasols (Lepiota or Chlorophyllum rachodes); all photographs on this page taken 9/29/12 in Kanawha County, WV. They prefer the company of conifers, and this troop was growing in the vicinity of several pines and a nice mossy patch. 

A species of Agaricales, these fungi typically appear from September through October throughout North America, with a longer growing season in California (from November to February). They should not be confused with False Parasols (aka the Green-Spored Lepiota (Chlorophyllum molybdites)). Confusing the two often leads to some of the most frequent cases of mushroom poisoning in the US.

Shaggy Parasols have a white spore print while False Parasols have a green one. In addition, Shaggy Parasols have a distinctive saffron bruising when cut which does not appear with the False Parasol; gills of the Shaggy Parasol are white and darken slightly with age, while the gills of the False Parasol turn greyish-green upon maturity.

Shaggy Parasols also have a distinctive double-edged, thick, band-like ring on the stalk which is movable. This forms during the separation of the veil.

The Shaggy Parasol is an edible mushroom with caution as consumption has been known to cause gastric upset in some individuals; it cannot be eaten raw, and must be cooked. Because of it's similarity to False Parasols those individuals new to mushroom hunting are advised to avoid gathering without the help of a seasoned guide and/or taking spore samples to ensure that you have the Shaggy Parasol.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica); all photos in this entry taken 9/23/12 in Kanawha State Forest, Kanawha County, WV. 

Great Blue Lobelia is a member of the Bellflower family and is a native species; the appellation siphilitica comes from the belief that it was used by Native peoples to treat syphilis. It can cause vomiting and is considered poisonous; it contains toxic alkaloids which can cause symptoms similar to nicotine poisoning if consumed.

This is a late summer and fall flower and blooms for roughly two months; generally by mid-October the blossoms have gone and the seeds are formed. It prefers moist or wet soils and partial to full sun, so this is a common flower to spot in ditches, near creeks, and along the sides of hiking trails (where these were photographed). 

Occasionally they produce white flowers. All of the ones I saw on this trip though were purple. The flowers are extremely attractive for bumblebees although they don't give off much scent, if at all. Hummingbirds are also attracted to it. The seeds produced by the plant are not of much interest to birds as they are too small.

Medicinal uses for this plant which do not involve consumption include its' use to cure headaches (crushed leaves placed in a poultice). 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Still alive, just been busy!

Hey all!
I'm still here, just been busy crafting items for a couple upcoming vending events (Witchy Weekend in October and River Arts in December), in addition to doing some traveling around. I will be making some new posts on here soon, so check back starting after Labor Day (9/3/12)!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Return of the Fungi!

A return to more normal temperatures for our area coupled with some regular rain for the past week has led to a return of some of our local fungi - Mycenas, Russulas, False Parasols, Boletes, Blushers, Dunce Caps, Splash Cups, and more! All photos taken yesterday (7/20/12) and this morning (7/21/12) in Kanawha County, WV.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum  vulgare), aka Common Daisy, Moon Daisy, Dog Daisy. Photo above taken 7/10/12 on the Greenbrier River Trail in Greenbrier County, WV; bottom two photographs taken in Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, WV 7/9/12.

Oxeye Daisy is a perennial wildflower which prefers meadows and fields, open forests, and disturbed soils. They are common from late spring through autumn and can grow to be about 2 feet tall. 

For those who are fond of trivia, this is the flower which is commonly used in conjunction with the rhyme "He/She loves me, he/she loves me not". 

Honey Locust (Gleditsia tricanthos)

Honey Locust (Gleditsia tricanthos), photo taken 7/10/12 in Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, WV. This species is common to the Midwest and the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. Unlike the Black Locust the pulp of the Honey Locust legume is edible and has a sweet taste (hence the name).

Honey Locusts have long thorns which can reach 3-4 inches and length and tend to form clusters as the tree ages. It is a wood which is traditionally used for posts and rails as it is not prone to rot easily. In this younger Honey Locust, the thorns begin green and turn red or reddish-brown with age. 

These medium sized trees have a short lifespan for trees, generally living to be between 120-150 years old.