Identification: South American lawn fungus

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by lorax, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Hi, oh Fabulous Fungurus... This appeared after about a week of steady rains in my lawn in Ambato, Ecuador - 3,000 meters above sea level. It's very odd for a mushroom to pop up here, as the the area is technically a desert, with ambient humidity is normally less than 40% and it's rarely wet enough to support the large mycellia required for large fruiting bodies like this one. It's pretty much a "classic" mushroom, as far as I can tell.

    The whole fruiting body, measured from as deep into the grass as I could get, was about 15 cm tall, with the cap representing about 3 cm of that height. The cap was about 5-6 cm in diameter.

    The gills are a pale bone-colour, and leave a beige to white spore print. The cap bruised to a medium beige and has a pleasant, mild scent reminiscent of commercial button mushrooms.

    Any clues, folks? If it's an edible, I'll move it and its surrounding soil to a less-travelled area of the garden so that it can develop and I can harvest and eat it. Otherwise I'll leave it where it is and not worry about stepping on subsequent fruiting bodies while I work in the garden.
     

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  2. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    With the cap that you broke off the stem and used to take a spore print - I'd like you to monitor the color of the gills over a period of a couple of days and let me know if the color changes from white to something else.

    I'm interested in whether the gills turn pinkish or maybe a dull/pale light green.

    thanks.
     
  3. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    OK - will do. Today they've yellowed up significantly, but no pink or green tints have developed. I'll post again tomorrow with photos and observations. Oddly enough, the stem doesn't seem to be deteriorating any even though I've robbed it of the cap.
     
  4. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    Excellent. By the way, if no tints develop, my guess is that it is a Leucoagaricus.
     
  5. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    It looks a lot like Leucoagaricus naucinus, which is common here in the PNW, but who knows what will pop up in Ecuador.
     
  6. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    It's anybody's guess - we seem to have a wide mix of taxa when it comes to fungus - King Boletes grow here naturally, and so do morels, but we've also got things that are completely endemic and unique, like the Pig's Ears shelf fungi (very tasty). Here, the general wisdom is "if it grows on wood or out of soil, it's edible, and if it grows on stones or out of dung, it's not." This is not what I learned in Canada, so I figured better safe than sorry. Checking against other photos of L. naucinus, it could very well be what I've got.

    MycoRob - today the cap is well on its way to dehydrated, and the gills are sort of a yellow colour, no hints of pink or green or other funky colours. The skin of the cap has gone from that clear white to a sort of mottled beige with brown spots (as I would expect of a white mushroom after some time spent in a dry place).
     
  7. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    If it was growing here, I'd think it was L. naucinus.

    Which part of Ecuador are you in? Lots of climates down there.

    What's the genus of your pig's ear shelf fungus? That would be the third mushroom I know with the common name 'pig's ear'.
     
  8. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I have no idea what the genus is on my Pig's Ears, but they sure are tasty. Crunchier than one would expect of a fungus, and pleasantly mild and shroomy in flavour. I do have a picture from last time I was in deep jungle; they're a wood-decomposing fungus and normally found on rotting Cecropia logs. LINK Apart from being edible, they're also used as a burn remedy - layers of the fungus are gently separated and laid over the burn; it creates a sort of second skin and since the mushroom is quite moist it also cools the burn significantly.

    I live in Ambato, Ecuador, which is in the geographic center of the country and has an altitude range of 2,800 - 3,000 meters above sea level; my backyard is a couple of meters shy of 3,000. The city is situated across three valleys that are in the rain shadows of the following volcanoes: Tungurahua (currently erupting), Chimborazo (Ecuador's tallest peak, dormant and glaciated), and Carihuairazo (dormant and glaciated) - this means that it's more or less a desert. Average daytime temps are 35-40 C and overnights between 10 and 15 C, with a relative humidity that hovers between 40 and 50 %. However, at the moment, the eruption of Tungurahua, 25 km distant, is changing our weather - the volcano generates massive clouds during eruptions, and this means we get rained on a whole lot more than normal. Hence, I was surprised but not really stunned by the fact that mushrooms were popping up in the grass - this tends to happen during eruptive periods. However, I'm much more used to fungus growing on other plants as a parasite (corn smuts, in particular, are quite common in this area) - it doesn't normally just pop out of the lawn.

    According to the Koppen-Geiger climate classifactions, I'm in Zone BSh - altitude desert. USDA says I'm in Zone 13. And the Andean Altitude Zones says I'm in Zone 2. It is extraordinarily rare that our temperatures go below 10 C overnight, and frost has been recorded once in the city's 400+ year history.
     
  9. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    Cool 'pig's ears'. They look Crepidotus-like.

    I was in Ambato once, in 1999 I think! I stayed there for about 2 hours switching buses (bus from Lima up to Quito).

    Keep posting those mushrooms that are popping up from the volcano!
     
  10. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Neat - we are indeed the waystation exchange for the international busses, and I actually can't imagine a worse place to do it, since the city isn't very scenic near the terminals, which are at the bottom of the valley. However, we do have the best bus-food vendors outside of the coast, particularly if you're fond of lupines....
     

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