I went for a walk this morning in a forest not too far from the City, hoping to find some lobster mushrooms for dinner.
However, most of the lobsters around were well past their expiry date, either well-ravaged by the bug population or showing the tell-tale deep red colour that screams, you should have been here last week. What I didn’t expect was to see quite a few milk caps around, mushrooms I have never seen before in this forest.
These mushrooms look like the saffron milk cap, Lactarius deliciosis, minus one important trait. L. deliciosis stains a greenish colour when bruised but I could not coax the green out of these mushrooms by bruising, breaking them or cutting them. They might be L. thyinos, which do not stain when bruised. However, when I have found L. thyinos in the past they were a brighter orange colour with a deeper orange “milk”, visible when you break off a piece.
I saw some pear-shaped puffballs, which had already turned into spore factories, well past their expiry date as a tasty edible.
I also came across some birch polypores. These are not edible. I have heard that dried out, they make pretty good fire starter, though.
The most common mushroom in this forest today was the mis-named Entoloma abortivum. This mushroom is the result of a fateful interaction between Entoloma and Armillaria mushrooms. It was thought that the Armillaria attacked the Entoloma, causing it to fruit as weird white blobules, hence the name. Today it is thought it is the other way around. The Entoloma attacks the Armillaria, and so the name of the mushrooms should perhaps be Armillaria abortivum rather than Entoloma abortivum.