Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bloodless Friends of Night

On Tuesday it rained steady all day and about 5 p.m. Denis walked into the house and told me to get my camera and an umbrella and “trust me” you’ll want to see this. In the yard next door he’d found a huge cluster of mushrooms that had come up over night. He knows I love trying to identify them and I always threaten to eat them (just to get a rise from him, he hates mushrooms and says that if God intended for us to eat them they wouldn’t be called fungus – one of those onomatopoeic words).

Anyway, I think this is an oyster mushroom, pleurotus ostreatus, and it was growing from an old rotted elm tree stump, it’s a creamy buff color with white gills running from the cap down to its thick stem. I cut off a portion and placed it on white paper under a glass over night. This morning when I lifted the glass, it had made a delicate fan pattern of pale pink spores.

I would like to eat it, but I don’t dare since I can’t be absolutely certain of this one. In other parts of the world the knowledge of edible mushrooms still exists, but here in our country we lost those connections years ago, preferring the convenience and safety of the supermarket.

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