Life after Morel Season

By Martha Bishop

It’s May, and in southeastern Ohio the spring wildflower and morel season has progressed at an unusual pace. Flowers that were in bloom May 1 last year, bloomed on April 1 this year. Although I heard reports of a few early morels, most in this area were found in mid to late April despite the 80 degree daytime temperatures. It seemed there was a window of a day or two after a rain before the unseasonal heat dried out the mushrooms where they stood. So perhaps, like me, you haven’t had much luck finding mushrooms in good condition so far this season. And you may be asking yourself what’s next. Do not be discouraged!

For those in the know about mushrooms, the great times for finding mushrooms are still ahead!

Although morels are among the mushrooms that are relatively easy to identify, they represent only a few different species. As summer and fall progress, there will be hundreds of other species popping up in our fields and forests.

If you have not learned to recognize many different species, now is the time to join your local mushroom society. Whether your interest in mushrooms is in photography, art, dyeing fibers, scientific study, love of nature, or collecting edibles, you can learn more from those who share your interests in the Ohio Mushroom Society. And don’t forget that registration for the North American Mycological Association fall foray will open in May. This meeting will be in Virginia this year (close enough for Ohioans to carpool.) In my mind, clearly the best way to learn to recognize new species is to have someone who knows them show them to you and explain how they know. Many of our modern field guides to mushrooms have excellent pictures, and some have good keys. But I would not presume to be certain of a mushroom identification (especially certain enough to consume a mushroom) without a spore print and confirmation from an experienced mushroom identifier.

When you do find mushrooms in good condition this year, following a few simple guidelines will help to promote the growth of mushrooms in years to come.

  • Collect your specimens carefully. Be sure to unearth the whole specimen so that you can see all of its features, but don’t dig around the mushroom any more than is necessary. Remember that the underground (or inside wood and other substrates) mycelium is the main part of the mushroom that persists from year to year. Also be careful not to trample or otherwise disturb the mycelium unnecessarily.
  • Take pictures and notes about the mushrooms in their natural state.
  • Take note of other members of the ecology. It is important to know what other organisms share the mushrooms’ habitat. This can help you learn more about how the mushrooms live, and can help you to identify them.
  • Don’t collect all of the specimens at a site. Leave some to spread spores and to feed other members of the natural community. Don’t collect more than you will actually use.
  • Use a basket or other sturdy container for collection so that the mushrooms will not be crushed. Use paper bags (or waxed paper) to separate different species.
  • Make a spore print for each species, and refrigerate the rest of the mushrooms until you are ready to identify and use them.
  • Place any parts left over back in the natural environment. Try to put them in an environment similar to the one where you found them.

That said, I hope to see you at the upcoming Summer Foray at Ohio University! Last year we had an amazing number and diversity of mushrooms here.

Please see details by clicking the Events tab at the top of the page, and by clicking on the newsletter link for May/June 2016 to the right under recent posts.

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The Little Blue

By Walt Sturgeon

Mycena subcaeruleaMycena subcaerulea by Walt Sturgeon

Blue mushrooms are always a treat for the eyes and a pleasure to find. Perhaps the most famous is the Indigo Milk Mushroom, Lactarius indigo. Its deep blue and silver colorations are eye catching and as a bonus, it is edible. In the poroid fungi, Neoalbatrellus caeruleoporus has grayish blue caps. Terana caerulea is a dark blue crust fungus. Some Cortinarius have blue tones as well. Note the names all refer to the colors. Caerulea is blue in Latin and indigo is a shade of blue.

Mycena subcaeruleaMycena subcaerulea by Walt Sturgeon

The Little Blue is just that, a small blue mushroom. Its name is Mycena subcaerulea which I interpret as meaning almost blue. This is appropriate for this quickly fading mushroom. It is often overlooked or passed over because of its small size and colors at maturity and as being just another unidentifiable Mycena. In Eastern North America it fruits for a few weeks right after the morel season and then again in late summer. In Ohio it is most commonly observed in June.

Mycena subcaeruleaMycena subcaerulea by Walt Sturgeon

Look on decaying logs of broadleaf trees. Oak logs are a favored host. Its caps are about 2 cm. or less in width. When first emerging the buttons are a rich, blue color sometimes spectacularly set off by an aqua margin. In age the viscid caps fade to gray, greenish or brownish often with bluish tinted margins. The gills are white. The stem is powdery dusted and at its base look for bluish mycelium. Photographers hope to find this mushroom when the caps are still mostly blue. It is a tiny splash of color in the late spring woods.

Mycena subcaeruleaMycena subcaerulea by Walt Sturgeon

March Mushrooms of the Month


This gallery contains 5 photos.

Welcome to the March installment of Mushrooms of the Month. Ascomycetes by Walt Sturgeon Dacrymyces chrysospermus by Walt Sturgeon Ganoderma applanatum by Walt Sturgeon Half Free Morel by Thomas Sampliner Sarcoscypha austriaca by Walt Sturgeon If you are interested in contributing … Continue reading

Coming Changes

To our followers,

Over the next couple of months we will be distributing the responsibility for managing the content on the website to several new editors and volunteers.  At this time we expect to keep the same basic types of content on the site but responsibility for posting and maintaining that content will be taken over by several people who will be new to this task.

We expect a smooth transition of responsibility and for the most part the transition should be invisible to our readers.  Yesterday, however, while showing some of the new editors what to expect I published and then deleted a couple of example articles.  I did not consider that this would generate notifications to our followers.

So if you received some confusing notifications for non-existent posts this is the reason.  Please bear with us during this period of transition and rest assured that the same quality content will be available here after the transition is complete.

Thank you for following our site and we look forward to a wonderful new year in the world of mycology!


The OMS Webmaster.


February Mushrooms of the Month


This gallery contains 5 photos.

Welcome to the February installment of Mushrooms of the Month. Astraeus hygrometricus a.k.a. barometer earthstar by Walt Sturgeon Fistulina hepatica a.k.a. Beefsteak Fungus by Walt Sturgeon Hygrocybe miniata a.k.a. Vermilion Waxcap by Walt Sturgeon Pholiota squarrosoides by Walt Sturgeon Pisolithus … Continue reading