Well, Husband and I have officially moved in to our new home in Orange County, California. The weather has been amazing and the Old Town is adorable. One of the reasons we picked our apartment is that Husband can walk through Old Town Orange on his way to work, and I accompany him every day. There’s a churchyard on our route with a very special tree in front.
Now, I don’t know much about trees, but I can sure appreciate a beautiful mushroom!
This yard has produced about a dozen gorgeous parasol mushrooms since we moved in.
Sometimes I’m lucky enough to see them before the caps open…
And then come back the next day to harvest and take a spore print!
I would have thought they would be the same species, since I’ve seen them in the same yard and at first glance, they look very similar to me. But the spore prints tell a very different story.
Here are the spore prints – the first mushroom’s spore print is a grey-green, on the right. The second one turned up a pale yellow/buff spore color, catching me completely off guard!
Parasol mushrooms are notoriously difficult to tell apart, and for basidiomycetes (like most mushrooms), spore color can be the single most important identifying feature. It’s one thing to read that in a textbook, and entirely another to see it in my own experience! Hopefully the magical churchyard will keep making parasols and I can start up a rainbow spore collection…
And no, I did not want or attempt to eat either of them, and I washed my hands thoroughly afterwards. I take my own advice on these things.