Mushrooms are popping!
Mid-day sun backlights the gill of this wild Colorado mushroom. In this iPhone shot, I also used an Instagram filter to enhance the colors.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Tis the season — for fungi, that is, as monsoon moisture has help spur a good crop of wild forest mushrooms. While some people see them as the equivalent of low-life slugs, mushrooms are actually a vital and little understood component of forest ecosystems. Along with helping to break down dead leaves, grass and branches, the underground part of the fungal organisms interact with the roots of trees and other plants, helping to foster a nutrient cycle and maintaining a chemical balance in the forest floor.
Of course, other fungi are harmful, such as the bluestain carried by mountain pine beetles, and the chytrid fungus that kills amphibians. In any case, they’re fascinating organisms and always fun to photograph. This post also includes a few species found in Austria. Some fungi are global citizens, growing wherever conditions are right.
An edible Agaricus growing in Tenmile Canyon. We cooked this one like a portobello.
Inkcap mushrooms are also edible, but this one was a bit too mature for the kitchen. When the edge starts turning black and inky (thus the name), it’s too late.
A close-knit pair … This is also an iPhone shot, with no filtering.
And then there were three … This species help break down dead chunks of wood from the inside, softening the cellulose so it can be converted back into useful nutrients.
We also found fungi during our recent travels through Austria, like this handsome parasol mushroom growing in Upper Austria. This species is a highly desirable edible.
Young parasol mushrooms, before the caps spread out.
To give an idea of the size, we posed the parasol mushrooms beside a book and knife.
Delicate forest fungi, possible in the Mycena genus, in Austria …
… And back in Colorado, amidst the moss.
A cracked-cap bolete growing in Austria. Similar varieties grow in the U.S. though I’ve never seen one in Colorado.
An Austrian chanterelle growing in a bed of moss. This is a universal species that grows all over the northern hemisphere, and a highly desirable edible, as well.
Filed under: Austria, Colorado, Europe, Morning photo, photography, Travel Tagged: | Austria, Colorado, fungi, iPhoneography, mobile photography, mushrooms, photography