Mushroom Update and a Few “Firsts”

As promised, I’m back with the results of my little mushroom experiment. :)

Yesterday dawned incredibly muggy and overcast, with a forecast of clearing by midmorning.  Realizing I’d be at the beach and unable to take pictures at 3:30pm, I decided to change my 24hr deadline to 17hrs instead :arrow: at 8:37am, this is what I saw in the bromeliad container:

Psathyrella, June 2, 2012 8:37am

Wow, yeah?  Compared to Friday afternoon, these look enormo!! They DO grow fast!

To be honest, mushrooms make me nervous:  “Poison” flashes like a neon sign in my mind’s eye whenever I see one!  I also worry about hallucinogens absorbing through my skin if I touch them…….which is absurd and proof we humans fear the things about  which we know little!!  Clearly, I needed an education in mycology, so I emailed the photos to Bill Petty, a Florida Master Gardener from Wakulla County who runs the Florida Fungi website and Facebook Page.

I was particularly curious if Bill could help with identification because there are thousands (no exageration!!)  of mushroom varieties. I also hoped he’d direct me to additional reading material, and his speedy reply exceeded expectations on both counts. This is what he wrote:

Those mushrooms in the first pic look like Psathyrella to me. These are in a group of fungi we call “LBMs” (Little Brown Mushrooms) and they are pretty difficult to identify from a photograph.  Sometimes microscopic examination of the spores (and maybe tissue) is required.  Psathyrella have inflated cells in the cap surface that catch, refract, and reflect sunlight, so if you hold a cap in sunlight and slowly move it around, you can see tiny sparkles…like itsy-bitsy diamonds!  The species may be P. candolleana, but I can’t be sure from the pic.  Many of these small mushrooms (in the family Coprinaceae) fruit and fade in a single day…sometimes melting before noon! Here’s a link to info on the genus:http://www.mushroomexpert.com/psathyrella.html

Given what he said about this variety fading within the day, I’m glad I took my picture earlier than originally planned—I might’nt have had anything to show! Checking earlier today, it’s as if they never happened–not a single bit of mushroom is visible in the pot!

All this rain has brought more than mushrooms  to the Ranchero.  Take a look at these other “firsts.”

Sansevieria in bloom!

Sansevieria in bloom!

These Sansevieria (aka Snake Plants) were among my first plantings of December, 2009. I’ve heard tell of this species blooming, but it had never seen it happen! What a fabulous scent they have, similar to my beloved northern Honeysuckle. :)
The next shot is of Gomphrena, the seeds of which I planted several seasons back.  I guess the rain activated them somehow?
Gomphrena haagaena

Where’ve you been hiding?!?

And remember the bromeliad with the pink flower scape from Friday’s post?  It  opened up a bit more, revealing this:
Billbergia windii in bloom

I’m not sure why it chose to flower this year and not any other! It’s been sitting in the same spot since Spring, 2010 and though it has grown several “pups” none have put up a spike before this!  Such a graceful, breathtaking plume!

And since I obviously can’t top this photo, I’ll close with a last shout of thanks to Bill of Florida Fungi!  :)

Until next time……