Bellevue/East Suburbs

The richness of fungal life in urban and suburban areas surprises many people. In fact, many species seem to thrive only in places like compost piles, mulch beds, roadsides, and lawns. It makes you wonder what their natural habitat really is.

mushroom photo

Agaricus augustus, or The Prince, so named because it is considered the prince of edible mushrooms, second in flavor only to The King bolete. Its flavor is both fungal and nutty, and a little sweet. Its main distinguishing characteristic, though, is its smell – like amaretto or maraschino cherries. Visually it looks much like other members of the genus Agaricus, which is to say it looks much like a portobello. The main visual difference between augustus and other Agariceles is the fact that, when young, its gills are creamy white rather than pink, and as it ages turn pinkish-brown and then the dark chocolate brown typical of a mature Agaricus. Its very fibrillose, nearly woolly stem also sets it apart. The veil is just starting to open on this one, showing its fresh white gills inside. This mushroom is at the perfect stage for eating.

A. augustus can be found almost anywhere, but has a particular fondness for urban and suburban areas. This one was found growing in the trees along West Lake Sammamish Parkway, on 10-13-03.

A. augustus in other areas of Western Washington

Compare to domestic Agaricus below, or wild Agaricus at Denny Creek

mushroom photo

I have exactly no clue what this mushroom might be, or even what genus it belongs in. It, too, was found growing under some trees on the roadside of West Lake Sammamish Parkway, on 10-29-03. The fuzz on the stipe was rather bristly, like pig's hair. Otherwise it was completely unremarkable.

mushroom photo

I've recently identified this one as an "eyelash cup fungus," Scutellinia scutellata (or a relative). Obviously, its some sort of cup fungus, and obviously, it's on the furry side for a mushroom, too. I just like fuzzy things, I guess. As you can tell by using the moss in the foreground for scale, these guys were pretty teeny in real life. It was found in a park off of West Lake Sammamish on 4-26-05.

mushroom photo

More fun with Macro mode! This is a Mycena. It is one of the largest and least varied genera in the entire taxonomy of fungi. Most of the species can be distinguished from one another by exciting things like spore ornamentation (visible under the microscope) and pellicle orientation (also visible under the microscope). Since none of them are edible, or in fact good for much of anything, and some of them are barely big enough to see, most people classify them all as YAMS (Yet Another Mycena Species). This one might be M. acicula, or M. adonis, or M. haematopus, or M. monticola. Or it might not. Its tiny. Its pretty. Appreciate it, and move on.

mushroom photo

Okay, so we won't move along *quite* yet. Aren't the gills on this little guy just amazing? This is the same Mycena as seen in the previous photo. It was found in a park off of West Lake Sammamish on 4-26-05.

mushroom photo

More little Mycenas! This shows a great view of the gills on this little guy, which was found in the park on 9-15-04. Using the weave of the fabric for scale, you can tell how small this thing really is.

Mycenas at Deception Creek

Mycenas at Denny Creek

Mycenas near Teanaway

Mycenas on the Twin Falls and Second Beach trails

mushroom photo

This may count as cheating but these are pictures of some Portobello mushrooms that we grew. This picture was taken 2-23-03, which is notable because A. bisporus likes cooler weather and did not do very well when we tried to grow them in the summer. Contrast these guys to the A. augustus at the top of the page. Note that the gills are pink rather than white, that the veil is relatively thick and sturdy looking compared to augustus, and that the stem is free of any white fluffy material. Note that otherwise they are pretty darn similar! Also contrast these guys with any Portobellos that you find at the grocery store! The gills are a nearly iridescent pink in real life, the picture makes them look dull by comparison. The gills turn dingy pink after about 24 hours, brownish-pink by 48 hours, light brown by 72 hours, and dark brown after about five days. The spores are chocolate brown, and color the gills as they mature. Keep this in mind when picking Portobellos from the grocery store! You'll never find fresh-picked Portobellos like this, but if they still have a tint of pink to the gills they're probably as fresh as you'll find.

Compare to Agaricus augustus above and A. augustus in other areas of Western Washington, or wild Agaricus at Denny Creek

mushroom photo

This is a club fungus of some kind. I've never bothered trying to key out the species, but I thought the bright white made an amazing contrast to the moss around it. You can see the moss's sporophytes and a couple of pine needles for scale. This was one of the first photos I took with my shiny new camera and ringlight on 2-23-03, in the park. Needless to say I was thrilled with how it came out!

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Stevens Pass/Deception Creek Trail

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