WiseAcre commented on Rainfield's blog, basically saying that since it's a good time of year for this, I should go off the path and examine rotting wood for fungi, like they both do. I want you to visit both of their wonderful blogs! You can find the comment and Rainfield's agreeing answer in Rainfield's very interesting post right here: Cheers
Now actually, I have been purposely staying away from fungus photos, because I don't know much about them, and because I kind of considered this to be their territory. They both know a great deal of these things and I considered anything I could do to be a pale imitation of theirs, but how can I pass up a challenge such as this? So, this challenge is accepted!
Once I decided to do this I knew I was going to have to come up with something good so I wouldn't disappoint either of them. Any old mushroom just wouldn't do. I had to find something fun and different, and I was going to have to do it all right. I think I did just that.
There's an old remnant of what once was a fence post at the bottom of the photo, giving us all a clue to what this land had once been used for. The landscape was obviously very different here at one time, but that must have been a very long time ago. Maybe almost a century. But that's not what we're here for. It's this strange mushroom!
I couldn't do a post about a fungus without at least trying to find out what it was, now could I? Well I'm not exactly sure I found its exact identity, but I do know that I have come very close, and I can give you the information to decide for yourself. First of all, I can reasonably tell you that I believe this mushroom belongs to the genus Hericium. Now let's dig down for some more detailed information.
There are four species of hericium in North America. The immature hericium starts out as one unbranched structure. With the exception of one of the four, not this one, as it matures it will form the clumps like you see here, and it will begin to darken somewhat at the top. The black spots you see on this one also appear to be part of the mushroom. I thought it was debris at first.
I am guessing that this particular mushroom species is Hericium Americanum. There has been some odd name switching between a few of these species, but this is the current name. If any of you fungus lovers want to check for yourselves then here's a handy link, so after your own examination you can come back and tell me how wrong I am. I honestly would appreciate it. The link has all of the cool technical information any mushroom geek would love.
Finally, this has been a long article and I think I'm about finished. I'm sure I left out some information on this mushroom, but I also gave you so much. There's also that link to check out if you're still hungry for mushrooms. I wouldn't eat them though. I hope this adequately satisfies that challenge. Thanks guys!