Identification: What is this... and is it dangerous?

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by LadyIslay, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. LadyIslay

    LadyIslay Member

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    My husband and I are getting ready to put several alpacas into a paddock on some property in Errington, BC (Vancouver Island, near Parksville). We don't own the property, so we don't want to invest a lot of time & money in fixing up the paddock, but we want to make sure that all toxic plants are removed before we give our animals access to the area. I can identify most of the basics, but there are a few plants I'm not sure if we need to remove or not. While the safest course of action is to remove everything we can't identify, we're talking about several acres... and a lot of plants that will need to be removed by hand. If we are able to identify the plants, I'll be able to find out if they are toxic or not... and then we can remove them if necessary.
    These images were taken in late fall.
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    Last edited: Jan 2, 2006
  2. LadyIslay

    LadyIslay Member

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    Ah! That's how one adds photos :P Sorry.
     

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  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    There could be a variety of mushrooms of varying degrees of edibility or toxicity on several (at least partly) wooded acres. These can appear quite rapidly during suitable weather. You would have to patrol the whole place daily to keep on top of them. And then what? Try to dig the fungal mat underneath all up, after you determine a particular colony belongs to a poisonous species?

    An alpaca ranch I drive by rather often seems to have the animals limited to open, grassy areas with the treed parts of the property not within the enclosure.
     
  4. LadyIslay

    LadyIslay Member

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    The previous occupants had alpacas here... but I'm not sure how long ago nor what has grown up since then. It is actually fairly common to keep alpaca in semi-treed areas. There is a ranch not far from here run by two vets with almost no pasture... it is all arbutus and rock. My family runs a 500 acre sheep ranch on Lasqueti Island, and our sheep range in light forest mostly, but the sheep seem to be 'smart' enough not to eat what they shouldn't... we've never bothered to remove bracken fern or foxglove. From what we've been told by other breeders, alpacas don't know any better, so we're trying to clear out everything obvious. I know how to identify the basics like bracken fern, foxglove and hemlock, but these fugus.. and a few other plants... were a bit outside my knowledge.

    The paddock we're prepping only has two or three trees... plus a lot of weeds. This particular fungus seems to be the only fugus present in any number. If we know we need to remove them, we will.
     
  5. wrygrass2

    wrygrass2 Active Member 10 Years

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    Fungus at best are difficult to control as Ron states. Unlike pulling a plant, fern, it takes time for the plant to regenerate itself, while a mushroom can come up overnight. Consider how difficcult it is to eradicate a fairy ring in your lawn.

    As to the identity of the mushroom pictured an expert might be able to recognize it as pictured but neophytes such as my self would have a better chance if you could also put in a picture of the underside. It seems to resemble a bolete which has an undersurface of fine pores usually yellow in color. Most boletes are edible, save but a few, but the slimy top to yours (assuming it is a bolete) makes me think that it could be one of the poisonous ones. A picture of the bottom of the mushroom and its stem would help.

    Harry
     
  6. LadyIslay

    LadyIslay Member

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    Here are photos of the undersides. I went out today and there were so few of them compared to the last time I looked... perhaps due to the cold weather.
     

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  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    You'll need a mushroom handbook to take a serious stab at this. Sometimes spore prints are made by aficianados to nail a particular one.
     
  8. Geastrum

    Geastrum Active Member

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    Try cutting across the gills of the mushroom--does latex flow from the cut? The latex could be watery and clear to fairly thick and colored. The latex could also change color after being exposed to air. (Wet or dry conditions can affect the amount of latex produced.)

    Do the gills stain where you cut them? What does the mushroom smell like?

    The presence of latex would suggest a member of the genus Lactarius. There are edible and toxic species of Lactarius; I don't know how toxic species would affect alpacas. Information about spore print, latex color, and gill staining will help with the species ID.
     
  9. Geastrum

    Geastrum Active Member

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    It looks like the first part of my post got cut off...

    Try cutting across the gills of the mushroom. Is latex produced? It can be clear and watery or fairly thick and colored.
     
  10. If it's not a Lactarius, it looks like a Lepista, as in the same family blewits are in.
    If you could bring it to a mycological society meeting, or the pacific forestry centre (Victoria) I'm sure they could easily ID it for you. Closest club to your area that I know of are the folks who run the Cowichan Mushroom Festival, or the SVIMS in Victoria (meets first Thursday).
    I doubt it presents a hazard to your animals.
    cheers
    J
     

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