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

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