Morning photo: ‘Shroom hunting!

Prime time for Colorado fungi

Colorado mushrooms
Clavaria purpurea, purple coral mushroom growing in the Tenmile Range near Frisco, Colorado.

FRISCO — For a couple of weeks every summer I need to set aside extra time every few days to search for wild mushrooms. It’s not just the eating — I’m totally fascinated by the role fungi have in forest ecosystems, with some recent studies suggesting that they may be the key drivers of the forest carbon carbon cycle because of how they interact with plants to sequester carbon deep in forest soils. This morning, during a short walk in the Tenmile Range, I found one decaying section of a log, about two square feet, home to at least six species of fungi (that I could see), along with many more types of moss and lichen, all woven into a living, organic mat on the forest floor. And, as icing on the cake, I did find a couple of Boletus edulis, delicious edibles sought after around the world under various names, including porcini and cep.

Colorado wild mushrooms
Looking up a steep embankment to peek beneath the caps.
One of Colorado's fine-tasting edible Agaricus species, closely related to store-bought button mushrooms.
One of Colorado’s fine-tasting edible Agaricus species, closely related to store-bought button mushrooms, growing in a dense stand of mature spruce and fir trees.
Lactarius deliciosus
The telltale carrot-orange rim is distinctive in this edible species of mushroom, Lactarius deliciosus. These fungi grow in wet meadows at the edge of Colorado’s mountain forests.
Hawk's wing Colorado mushrooms
Hawks wing, or Hydnum imbricatum, is another distinctive Colorado edible.




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