Archive | August, 2013

Trees, fruits and mushrooms

31 Aug

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This Fir is quite burlumpuous.

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Young Chaga mushrooms on mature birch trees.

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Eastern white pine with developing cone. (click on to notice the resin on the cone)

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Heavily fruiting Hawthorn.

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Closer look at the fruit.

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Hobblebush with unripe fruit

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Here we see lots of red and a few ripe black Hobblebush berries.

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Catathelasma ventricosum mushroom in button stage.

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Here we have mature, button and young all growing within a few feet of each other. These are the first ones I seen this year and this usually indicates its look-alike White Matsutake will be appearing in a few weeks, rain permitting.

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Xerula furfuracea, this one was growing out of a beech tree stump which is the norm for this mushroom. We see around a foot of stem yet I was unable to get the whole thing as it snapped of at some point which helps in the identification as the breaking of the stem has a real green bean snap sound which is unusual in mushrooms.

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A few fresh Chanterelle. ciao

At the Coral of knowing

27 Aug

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Most years I see a few varieties of small white corals in the woods though tonight I visited a new road 10 miles from my home and found a few new and also somewhat rare mushrooms for my area. These corals are ones I can’t identify with out some help.

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You can see in this photo a younger version of the large coral mushroom with red tips which suggest to me these could be Ramaria botrytis though I will need this verified to be certain. Another interesting mushroom is in the center of the photo Oudemansiella radicata which is also known as Xerula furfuracea, but tonight I call it delicious as I had to try the large brown cap as the stems are too tough to eat, I’ve read in Europe this mushroom is rated high and I can taste why, notice the long stem which extends into an even longer root on the smaller mushroom above the brown cap. Also in the photo we see on the ends Lobster mushrooms with a Charcoal burner left of center.

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Another look at these large corals.

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Now into the basket, another somewhat unusually to my area at least, a Russula with a green cap, I didn’t notice this mushroom till after I stepped on him though I may send this one away for identification as well.

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Here is a large coral which weighed around a pound and now needs to be sliced.

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The jury is still out on the edibility of this species it will have to await the verdict in a dried state in the pantry. I’m always amazed at how little the mind knows about self and surroundings. ciao

Off to Aronia Avenue

25 Aug

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A view from the ridge, up front Canadian Thistle and Burdock

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A closer look at some colorful Burdocks and then down we go into the marsh on an old paved road that has seen little traffic since the 1960s.

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I’m not sure if this mile of road already has a name or not but at least for today I’m calling it Aronia Ave. as the Aronia has been the most successful plant coming out of the marsh to make it out here on the street. You can’t even notice a crack where it came from but here it is and it has some old chums tagging along on the side lines.

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Under the Aronia berries we see a thick bed of unripe bog cranberries.

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Aronia  with a few blueberries to the right.

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Aronia facing some cran and blue berries below, here we have 3 very health giving berries for the creatures who happen by here.

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The marsh community is very generously giving it back to the street it has been the foundation of for many years and this afternoon’s tide highly agrees, stating nothing can never really disengage. ciao

Berry good to see you

24 Aug

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I’m exploring a new area tonight with my main interest in the ripeness of the Chokecherries in this neck of the woods though there are a large number of Staghorn Sumac which have made me thirsty for some sumac-ade.

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Somewhat elegant for a name like Staghorn Sumac isn’t it. This small tree often grows in groups and in this area I see around 30 small trees ranging in heights from 4 to 10 feet.

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Here are enough Staghorn Sumac berry-heads to make a few litres of ade. This one is easy to gather and also prepare and  I am a bit surprised it isn’t more popular as a wild food. I’m tempted to gather some to dry for winter this year and experiment a little with it beyond the usual jellies and beverages, I’ll let you know how it goes.

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There are some more interesting berries around here, these are Highbush Cranberries (Viburnum trilobum).

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Here is a better look at the whole shrub, these berries are far from ripe at this time and are often gathered  in the fall after a few frost have hit them, they are hardy and are often on the bush when the snow is deep.

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Another Viburum this one is called Wild Raisin (Viburnum cassinoides), a few blue berries are already ripe and very sweet. Interesting how the berries will continue to ripen here and there on this shrub for many weeks, nice shrub for a small snack in the yard in late summer, the taste is something like dates, this berry has a large seed.

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You may want to click on to see this Wild Raisin shrub closer, lots of clusters on this one.

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The Chokecherries are not quite ripe enough, maybe in a week or so.

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The elderberries in this area probably will be killed by frost before they become ripe, it happens sometimes this far north, especially in shady areas like this one. You’ll need to click on to notice all the small green clusters of elderberries in this photo.

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These are not berries though for those who haven’t seen Milkweed in the seedpod stage let me introduce them to you. I know I was surprised the first time I seen this plant with their unusually large pods for plants in a cool climate. I’ll add this photo to my edible plant page after.

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Now for some Sumac-ade refreshment. cheers

Some of Roseaceae’s wild berries

17 Aug

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The Rose family has a large number of healthy good tasting fruit to enjoy including blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, rose hips and here are a few of the wilder ones.

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Here is Aronia melanocarpa which is native to North America and a bit under appreciated here though this appears to be changing in Iowa. In my home area all the blueberry pickers breeze by the Aronia berries leaving them for me and the birds. You may want to check out the history of these berries in Poland during the 1990s and also recent studies on their nutritional value.

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Another look at Aronia berries.

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Here is our native mountain ash which I’ve only recently noticed (Sorbus Americana) which is quite similar to the European Rowan tree and in the yard I grew up in we had a few large Sorbus trees we called dogberry trees (Sorbus decora) which I would climb and swing off the branches many a summer’s day. The species of Sorbus in the photo I may make a cider from this year.

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Another look at Sorbus Americana.

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What is this?

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What do you get when you cross a Sorbus with a Aronia, well of course a Sorbaronia which is what I suspect this little shrub is, probably being (Sorbaronia  x jackii) though this is my first encounter with this one so this is not a 100% sure thing. I can’t find any info on its edibility though I have found some images with similar leaves and fruit. Many members of the rose family may cross as I find some very unusual Crataegus, Amelanchier, Sorbus, Aronia and a few others with unique fruit and leaves mostly growing in huge rose family beds.      Click on the photo above to see the unusual shape of these leaves.

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Here I’m up to my neck in Roseaceae shrubbery with a few Asters ahead, the rose family starts small here with Aronia and trailing blackberry a few inches off the ground, then wild rose 3 or 4 feet high, then large Aronia bushes 4 to 6 ft and next Sorbus up to 20 feet tall.

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Now this is not a rose family member though I’m adding it to my (wild fruit) page and may not mention it again in a post possibly so here is Lingonberry, foxberry, rock cranberry, European cranberry, mountain cranberry, partridgeberry, alpine cranberry, (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) for a little berry it sure has a lot of names, it is quite a popular wild fruit and its little leaves and bright red berries are striking to see. ciao.

Apios americana flowers

15 Aug

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In my (wild edible plants) page I ‘m adding a few  Apios Americana flower photos as these flowers are rather pleasant to the eye as well as being one of our better wild tuber plants.

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This was an important staple food in some parts of North America long ago.

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Easy to notice this plant when the flowers are on these vines though in the fall I usually become aware of their presence by seeing groundnut tubers dangling from washed out river banks, this far north I have never noticed seed pods developing on this plant.

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Here if you click on the photo you will see the Apios americana vines climbing over these spent Daylily flower stocks with a bed of Jerusalem Artichoke in the background, so we have 3 good tuber plants together in this one. ciao

Craterellus ignicolor and neighbours

13 Aug

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These fresh Hydnum repandum are a welcome sight right here in the heart of the Craterellus ignicolor community.

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This is a choice edible mushroom often called the Hedgehog and also Sweet tooth mushroom. Not very noticeable in the photo are the small spines on the underside of the cap on these young mushrooms which become easier to see as the mushroom matures.(click on for close up)

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Here is another pleasant neighbour Xanthoconium affine var. maculosus, known as the spotted Bolete.

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Now to focus on the Craterellus ignicolor family itself, here we see many bright orange young mushrooms with a few of the elders with their faded caps to the right.

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Here we have a close look of what is comparable to a group of secondary school children in the craterellus community here in New Brunswick.

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A middle aged Craterellus parent.

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Here we see a few members of the national basketball team and then some as these mushroom are much larger than the usual as the stems were around 6 inches high and the caps over 3 inches with these weighing around an oz.

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Hope you enjoyed getting to know some of the little ones of Craterellusville. ciao for now

Craterellus ignicolor

10 Aug

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This little mushroom is just starting to make an appearance around here and I am quite thankful as last year these mushrooms were very rare and my supply of dried Craterellus ignicolor mushrooms ran out about 6 months ago, so I went without one of my favorites for quite sometime.

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You may notice a resemblance to the golden Chanterelle with forked gills though it is smaller and  lighter weighing due to it being hollow which makes it ideal for cleaning and drying. First time I tried this mushroom fresh in a soup I found it acted as a mild laxative in my body so I dried the rest of the mushrooms I collected and in the dried form they do not have that laxative effect on me, plus their flavour comes to the forefront in dried form being especially good crushed and sprinkled on omelets and chicken. They will remind you of dried Chanterelle only with a little more fresh fruity flavour, some say it is similar to plums in some ways.

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Here is a tray of Craterellus ignicolor ready for drying.

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Now I do see these mushrooms and a few similar species are actually commercially gathered from some regions and marketed as Yellow Foot Chanterelle and yes they can be plentiful though you need to pick a hundred or so to weigh in with a single pound, so this mushroom I suspect is back-breaking work for the folks trying to make a few dollars picking these guys, hopefully they will find a large string of big 1 lb Lobster mushrooms to balance things out at the weigh in station.

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In my case fortunate thoughts are arising as these gatherings appear joyful, a labour of love as it seems these little mushrooms are a beautiful sight on the forest floor along with them being much tastier than gold. ciao

When it rains it (pores boletes)

7 Aug

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Rainy evening mushrooms, loads of varieties.

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Lots of Boletes to feature, not a very good photo of Suillus granulatus, but you must admit the golden worm looks kind of cute sticking out of the stem.

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This cap looked double the size of all the other large Boletus subglabripes this night. hum

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I don’t see this to often, this Boletus subglabripes has one stem which splits and rejoins somehow to form one cap, that’s a good one nature.

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Chrome-footed bolete, (Harrya chromapes)

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This bolete here has been puzzling me for the last few years, it is very similar to the King Bolete yet it definitely isn’t it.

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Gotta send this one to be identified. I have a list of 3 or 4 members of the boletus family it could be, time will tell.

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Next evening the sun is shining and lots of fresh mushrooms still popping from the previous night’s rain and again more mysteries. I known quite a few types of wild mushrooms yet for every one I known there is a dozen or more I do not know. Another one to send in for identification, looks a bit like a Bay bolete yet I’m leaning towards a few other mushrooms, possibly a (Xanthoconium affine) though there are other possibilities?

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Here’s the King Bolete (Boletus edulis), you see hardwood tree leaves on the ground though there is a small group of spruce here which the King tends to favour growing under.

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As you can see the Chanterelle family and Russulas are holding their own in the basket as well, my food dryer has been busy the last few days in preparation for a few months of hopefully snow covered winter. ciao

My-co-lorful characters

2 Aug

DSC05834I sautéed the last of my charcoal burners with some lobster mushrooms for our supper tonight and after the meal I was requested to go out to the woods and gather some more. The above photo is my basket shortly into the trip.

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These are the first mushrooms I noticed upon entering the forest, Pleurotus dryinus  are a rather large member of the Oyster mushroom family.

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Pleurotus Dryinus is an unusual Oyster mushroom as it has a very noticeable long fluffy stem.

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Above is a close relative of the Reishi mushroom and has a history of being used as an artist canvas of sorts, it also is known as a good medicinal mushroom and since I wrote on it with my thumb nail I will take it home for tea. (Ganoderma applanatum).

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Here is a view looking down on the top surface on Ganoderma applanatum, this fungus can measure up to 20 inches across.

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Why not show a medicinal Chaga mushroom from this area as well.

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A small Bay bolete (Boletus badius) growing on a stumps edge.

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Another bolete member, some call it Leccinum subglabripes, others call it Boletus subglabripes, these are a common summer mushroom here.

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Never seen or gathered this choice edible before (Lactarius volemus). This is a rare mushroom this far north and I’ll mail a dried specimen to the Provincial museum for their mushroom collection.

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These are in the Russula family though Lactarius mushrooms give off a milky latex when you touch their gills which you can notice in the above photo. Lactarius volemus has a shellfish scent and its milk starts out white and stains brown in a short time.

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Another new mushroom I never gathered before, this one’s caps are also considered by some to be good eating. (Oudemansiella radicata) I’ll send this one to the museum as well.

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Here are some edibles from tonight on the table with numbers under them, click photo for closer look (1) Boletus subglabripes, (2) Suillus granulatus, (3) Boletus badius, (4) Suillus pictus (5) Charcoal burner (6) Lactarius volemus, (7) Chanterelle and (8) Yellowfoot Chanterelle. This night had some colorful surprises. ciao