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

It’s a brand new year!

By Debra Shankland

It’s a brand new year, and it’s possible that you’ve recently taken stock and perhaps decided to do some things differently.

Maybe you’ve resolved to learn a new skill, or sharpen an old one.  Getting more exercise sure wouldn’t hurt.  Maybe you’d like to spend more time with your family, or help your kids to find healthy ways to disconnect from their devices.  Maybe you’d like to meet some new friends.

Joining the Ohio Mushroom Society now can help you meet all of these goals, for just $15 a year.  A full year’s worth of benefits include:

  • Six issues of the Mushroom Log, the OMS newsletter
  • Receive advance notice of and participate in your choice of six – ten forays, including both major, multi-day forays
  • Participate in the Annual Dick Grimm Memorial Banquet
  • Take advantage of many learning opportunities with experts in identification, cultivation, and more
  • Receive a discount on membership in the North American Mycological Association

The Ohio Mushroom Society is the place for anyone to exercise their interest in mushrooms, whether those interests include identification, taxonomy, folklore, cultivation, cookery, crafts, photography, ecology, natural medicines, or just spending time in nature.  Beginners and experts are both welcome.

Questions?  Feel free to contact us!  Check the board members page to learn how.

January Mushrooms of the Month


This gallery contains 10 photos.

Welcome to the January installment of Mushrooms of the Month. Note that “Mushrooms of the Month” refers to the mushroom photos which were submitted for publication in a given month, not necessarily that they are commonly found in that month. … Continue reading

December Mushrooms of the Month


This gallery contains 9 photos.

Welcome to the December installment of Mushrooms of the Month. Agaricus campestris a.k.a. Meadow Mushroom by Thomas Sampliner Coprinus comatus a.k.a. Shaggy Mane by Thomas Sampliner Fomes fomentarius a.k.a. tinder fungus by Walt Strugeon Fomitopsis cajanderi by Walt Sturgeon Fomitopsis … Continue reading

Dick Grimm Memorial Banquet

By Debra Shankland

The Dick Grimm Memorial Banquet was held at the Mediterranean on 33 restaurant in Lancaster on Saturday, November 7 this year.  Twenty-five members gathered to reconnect and share stories before winter puts a temporary stop to foray activity.  Everyone was in good spirits, coming from all over the state to attend.

Following a tasty meal of freshly-prepared Greek, Mediterranean and Continental fare, Debra Shankland took a moment to recall Dick Grimm’s many contributions to our club and mycological study, and introduced our special guest for the evening, Dr. Shannon Nix of Clarion University.

Dr. Shannon Nix of Clarion University

Dr. Shannon Nix of Clarion University

After driving down from Clarion, PA, Dr. Nix delivered an excellent presentation on mushroom spore dispersal aptly titled, ‘The Great Escape’.  The visuals were stunning, and perfectly illustrated her discussion.  While the primary difference between Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes is in how they produce spores, how those minute reproductive spheres travel may be active or passive.  Animal vectors, mushrooms creating their own small-scale “wind”, funicular cords that lasso nearby vegetation, and the sheer number of spores produced and released by different species were just a few details that made this a fascinating lecture.

Everyone went away with a shroomy door prize, some great, some small, but a wide variety of prizes were available for the choosing.  A major donor of the prizes was Karen Kelly, whom we miss since she has moved to Florida.  We thank everyone who donated prizes, and also Shirley McClelland for organizing the banquet.

It was a lovely evening.  We stayed late and went home smiling!

Respectfully submitted,

October Mushrooms of the Month


This gallery contains 10 photos.

Welcome to the October installment of Mushrooms of the Month. Boletus bicolor group a.k.a. the Two-colored Bolete by Thomas Sampliner Clitocybe nuda a.k.a. the Wood Blewit by Walt Sturgeon. Hygrophorus russula by Walt Sturgeon Hypholoma sublateritium a.k.a. Brick Cap mushroom … Continue reading

Fungi will change our world. Again.

By Bryan Lewis

It goes without saying that the biosphere as we know it depends on fungi. For instance, most vascular plants depend on symbiotic relationships with fungi to thrive (Mycorrhiza), and decomposer fungi help produce soil. Through these and other processes, fungi play a central role in life on earth. In a way, fungi already changed the world long ago.

More directly, we’ve learned how to use fungi for our own benefit over the years. That learning process is ongoing, and I’ll highlight a few exciting developments that are happening right now that I believe will fundamentally change our world again.

Of course many of us know and enjoy edible mushrooms, and foraging for mushrooms is an ancient atavistic pleasure. Brewing beer is another pleasurable use of fungi going back to our pre-history. Long ago we learned that some mushrooms have medicinal properties. You may have head of Otzi the ice man, who lived more than 5,000 years ago and was found carrying birch polypore mushrooms carefully threaded along a leather strap. The birch polypore mushroom has antibiotic and styptic properties.

In 1928, Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming returned from vacation to his lab full of petri dishes containing staph bacteria to find one dish contaminated.

A mold (fungus) was in that dish, and the mold was secreting a liquid that the staph bacteria could not survive in. By accident, Fleming made one of the most profoundly beneficial discoveries in the 20th century; that the fungi penicillin produced antibiotic compounds, later made into medicines that would save hundreds of millions of people.

Clearly, we have a deep collective experience of learning how to benefit from fungi. But like so many things today, that ancient and primitive knowledge and experience has been synthesized and industrialized. It’s still beneficial on the whole, but sadly removed from our immediate awareness.

Meanwhile many face serious problems of pollution, lack of clean water, and lack of affordable access to medicine. Here in Ohio we’ve seen toxic algal blooms that stem from agricultural runoff threaten clean water supplies in both lake Erie and the Ohio River. Many in the third world suffer from cholera, typhoid, and other terrible diseases for lack of clean water and access to antibiotics. Plastics that take centuries or longer to decompose are polluting oceans on a planetary scale.

A vanguard of mostly young, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial innovators are using fungi to help address these serious problems. I believe that their efforts, or similar ones, will profoundly improve our world by successfully addressing these problems in the near future.

This summer at the West Virginia annual summer foray we saw Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain give an amazing talk on his current research into low-tech production of narrow-spectrum antibiotics that someday could help third world countries like Haiti get a handle on bacterial disease and water contamination. Despite the cheap, low-tech production methods, Tradd’s lab and research methods are decidedly high-tech and directly inspired by Fleming’s original penicillin research. Mushroom Mountain is really a bio-tech startup!

Tradd and others like Ja Schindler of Fungi for the People and Ty Allchin are refining state of the art methods of mycoremdiation: using fungi to restore or generally clean up habitats. For instance, placing beds of robust species like the wine cap mushroom on the downslope margin of farm fields might be an effective mycofiltration system to prevent excess fertilizer runoff from entering our streams, rivers and lakes. This might be a cheap, natural way to prevent toxic algal blooms.

Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre of Ecovative are pioneering ways to make durable packaging material from fungi. And they’re working on training varieties of fungi to consume agricultural waste. They literally make plastic from garbage. Their materials are already replacing polystyrene and other plastics with natural, decomposable materials that come from and return to the soil.

These are just a few highlights of a long list of amazing ideas and recent innovation centered around fungi. It only takes a few of these ideas to succeed to bring about large positive changes to our world, a world shaped in surprisingly many ways by fungi.