Pictures of Mushrooms in Western New York
Mushrooms in the Great Lakes Region
Mushrooms in New York
Western New York has a wide variety of mushrooms and other fungi that grow among the grasses and woodlands. Many species (most notably Amanita Muscaria, which has a red cap with white spots) are highly poisonous. Wild mushrooms and other fungi should never be harvested and consumed unless identified by an expert mycologist.
The fungi contained in these pictures are only a small sampling of the various mushrooms and other interesting fungal growth that occur in the forests of New York. Mushrooms are found most commonly between the months of June-September, as the winter snows and frigid temperatures during the rest of the year either hide or kill the mushrooms.
The following mushrooms were photographed at theTom Erlandson Overview Park in Frewsburg, New York. All photographs were taken with a Canon 30D digital SLR camera. All of the mushroom pictures were taken in the month of July in the dense undergrowth of oak, beech, and maple trees.
Orange Mushrooms in New YorkClick thumbnail to view full-size
Orange Waxy Cap Mushrooms (Hygrocybes)
While many wax cap mushrooms grow in grasslands in Europe, similar mushrooms grow in woodlands in North America. Orange waxy cap mushrooms can be found growing under beech and other hardwood trees in the forests of Western New York. The bright orange mushrooms may grow in small groups among the mosses of the undergrowth. These mushrooms were found under oak and beech trees in the month of July.
These mushrooms should not be eaten (the toxicity is unclear, but there have been reports of poisonings). In any case, the waxy substance would make the mushroom unpalatable
Yellow Nolanea Mushroom
Witch’s Cap, or Yellow Nolanea
The yellow Witch’s Cap mushroom has a brilliant yellow color and a conical cap. This yellow mushroom will leave a pink spore print, and is also known as the “Yellow Unicorn Entoloma.”
This mushroom may grow isolated or in small groups under trees. The cap is always pointed or has a convex cap with a point in the center. The gills are initially yellow, but will turn a rosy color as the mushroom matures. These mushrooms should never be eaten, as it is considered dangerous and/or poisonous. This mushroom is found widely distributed around the Great Lakes region of the United States.
A Yellow Mushroom in the Woods
Yellow Wax Cap Mushrooms
Also known as “hygrocybes,” the waxcap mushrooms tend to frequent the grasslands of Europe and the woodlands of North America. These mushrooms often have a waxy or shiny appearance on the button cap, and are often found in brilliant orange and yellow colors. The spore print of these mushrooms will be white.
These are similar to the orange wax caps, as they are both hygrocybes. We found this brilliant yellow wax cap growing among some moss under a thick forest of oak, beech, and maple trees. The color was so bright it nearly glowed in the dark undergrowth.
Chicken of the Woods Fungus (Laetiporus)
Chicken of the Woods
Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus) is an edible mushroom, but only if it is properly prepared. As with all fungi, mushroom identification should only be made by an expert: many fungi are deadly, and should not be consumed unless the identification is confirmed.
This mushroom often grows on rotting logs or felled trees, though some varieties will grow in soil. The mushroom may grow in a row of “shelves” (hence its alternate name, “Sulfur Shelf”) or in a rosette pattern. Chicken of the Woods is nearly always found on oak trees in the state of New York.
This mushroom gets its name from the flavor of the fungus: when properly cooked, the mushroom tastes like chicken. Some people are very sensitive to this mushroom, so a small (cooked) quantity should be tried before consuming larger amounts. This mushroom can also be used to create an orange dye.
"Dog Vomit" Slime Mold on a Tree Stump
Slime Molds: Yellow Myxomycete
Slime molds are technically not fungi – they have their own kingdom, completely separate from mushrooms. The yellow slime mold at the right has the rather unappetizing name of “Dog Vomit Slime Mold.” This slime mold can often be found on felled trees. This bright yellow, fuzzy, spreading slime mold is covering the stump of a felled oak tree.
While slime molds produce spores similar to fungi (and thus are often studied by mycologists), they do not have cell walls like fungi. Instead, they exist in an amoeba-like form and feed on bacteria by engulfing them. Oddly enough, slime molds were the inspiration for the "The Blob," a sci-fi flick originally produced in 1958. Some slime molds do appear as slimy blobs for part of their life cycle, though the one photographed on the right has more of a spongy texture.
The slime molds start out as amoeba-like lifeforms, but can mate and form plasmodia – these plasmodia can grow to be many feet long and will contain many cell nuclei without individual cellular membranes. When a human stumbles across a slime mold, the visible portion is usually the fruiting body. The fruiting body is what appears to be a mold or fungus, though it is in no way related to the fungi. Spores are released from the fruiting bodies, and amoeba hatch from the spores, starting the life cycle over again.
Other Great Mushroom Articles
- Pictures of Mushrooms and Fungi - Wild ones!
Take a look at all the many interesting photos that my cousin Bill and I took of mushrooms and fungi growing in our respective areas of the country. Not only are they beautiful but they serve various purposes which I found to be very interesting when
Questions & Answers
I have a white wild fungus that is all solid. It has a round top and a thick stem. There are clusters of them found in western New York. Is it safe to eat?
Never eat a wild mushroom without proper identification, as many are highly poisonous and could result in a fatal outcome if the identity is mistaken. For example, the "destroying angel" mushroom is entirely white and causes 95% of mushroom fatalities. It is never worth your life to taste a wild mushroom without proper identification. If you have a picture, you might be able to send it to a local mycology group and have it positively identified.Helpful 1