Texel Island

The nearest island off the coast of the Netherlands is Texel, an island about 15 km long with a large portion as a national park. We heard there were mushroom walks being given by the local nature center, and decided to take a look around on our own.

teso ferry

A trip to Texel (pronounced "tessle") begins with a drive up to Den Helder, home of the VOC ship museum, and then a ride on the TESO - the ferry owned and operated by residents of Texel island. The stretch of water we crossed was land when the Netherlands was formed, but washed out in a flood in 1282, making Texel into an island.

The little ship behind the ferry is a skūtsje, considered one of the best ships in the water from the mid-1800's until powered boats took over in the 1930's.


Obligatory lighthouse photo. The lighthouse is at the north end of the island.

Our first stop was the beach, as Eric had the idea of making sea salt from scratch - in other words, from sea water. To do this, we needed some relatively clean sea water. This can be a bit hard to come by, but the water off the coast of the nature preserve on Texel seemed like as good of a bet as any. There was a brisk wind blowing, so I took charge of keeping Eric's clothes from blowing into the ocean, while Robbert did the documentation. Robbert named this hare-brained plan Operation Sea Salt and posted all of the photos on his Flickr page. I've swiped a few favorites to put here.

operation sea salt operation sea salt

The "just wade in up to your knees" plan did not work out so well. The sea water retrieval, though, worked great! The 6 liters of sea water that Eric gathered have now been boiled down to about 1 liter, and we are waiting for this to evaporate.

operation sea salt operation sea salt
underside red cap

The first mushrooms we found on Texel were these small rusty red mushrooms growing in the grass along the walkway. They did a very convincing imitation of dead leaves. This photo makes it clear that this is a white-sporing species (note the dutsing of spores on the stalk and on the grass).

cluster yellow

This was a cluster of bright yellow mushrooms (the color doesn't look as bright in the photo). They are probably sulpher tufts, or close relatives.

brown black spores

These mushrooms were growing in hordes along the edge of the horse trail. They were fairly large, around 3-6 cm in diameter.

brown black spores

That their spores were black was quite obvious, as specimens such as this one were quite common. Here i've pulled off the grass blades to show the contrast where the spores from another mushroom have darkened its cap. There were no signs of any of them turning to ink, which makes the most common group of black-spored fungi, the inky caps, an unlikely differential.

gills black spores

The gills had these unusual sac-like structures along the gills. They look a lot like the ascii (pronounced ass-eye, not ask-ee) of ascomycetes, but ascomycetes by definition do not have gills.

brown mushroom

These were growing among the black-spored variety, but I suspect may be something different.

brown mushroom margin

The fring along the cap margin implies a Cortinarius.

Macrolepiota procera

Not everything we found was unidentifiable. This is almost certainly a Macrolepiota procera, with Eric's hand for scale, and some local cyclists wondering who let the nutjobs loose.

Amanita sp

A tiny Amanita hatching from its universal veil. I don't know the species, and unfortunately my camera hates to autofocus on white things.

Lactarius sp

A diminutive member of the genus Lactarius, illustrating the source of the genus name.

Russula sp

An equally tiny Russula, showing the bright cap, white gills, and white stalk that breaks cleanly (in this case when someone kicked it).

purple mushroom

A purple fungus with an inrolled cap margin.

Amanita sp

These stately pale yellow mushrooms were growing all over the forest. I eventually decided they were an Amanita species, despite the paucity of universal veil tissue on the cap. A few had a tiny whisp of white veil still attached to the cap, which gave the genus away. Here you can see a piece of it on the ground behind the mushroom.

mushroom pine

A yellow mushroom that seems to like the company of conifers.

mushroom oak pine

Mushroom, oak, and cone.

eric in the woods

Eric has found something in the forest. The trees here are small and young but the forest seems healthy.


A tiny Russula growing among the moss. The mushroom was about 1cm in diameter.


A pair of the same species.


I think this is another example of the tiny Lactarius, shown gills-side-up above.

tiny orange mushroom

Another in the series of nearly-microscopic fungi: these tiny orange mushrooms were only about 3mm in diameter.


Macrolichens attest to the similarity between the Pacific Northwest climate and the Netherlands.

ruffled gills

A mushroom with rather unusual ruffled gills.

dune tiger

We came out of the forest onto the sandy dunes. The first fungus we encountered on this border is this strange tiger-striped species. A peek under the cap shows white gills.

second growth

This cluster semed to have a remarkable ability for recovery. It looks as though an injury to the stalk has simply prompted another cap to grow, connected by cobweb strands to the main stalk.

second growth

blue flower

A blue flower growing in the dunes.


Bunnies out for their evening meal.

black bunny

Not all wild bunnies here are agouti.

grass on ocean

The sunset lighting up the grass on the dunes.


One more art shot before sunset.


The gills of a butterfly-shaped LBJ.

B. edulis

On our way back to the car, we stubmled into three perfect B. edulis! After much deliberation, we decided that removing fungi from the national park was a bad idea, even if it was a B. edulis. We spent plenty of time admiring them, though.

Macrolepiota procera

This one, though, was growing on the roadside, not in the park! This big, quite edible mushroom is Macrolepiota procera.

A look back at Texel through the flocks of birds following the ferry.

birds and Texel birds and Texel
birds and sunset

The Nieuwe Diep at sunset.

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