There it is. A big old blue Reishi (Ganoderma oregonense).
Hard to refute, but even harder to explain. These color variants (for reasons unknown) of the normally cherry-red Ganoderma oregonense are somewhat rare, but always draw attention when encountered. Noah Siegel reports that they are at least more frequent on the Olympic Peninsula.
This specimen was found by Massachusetts’ Arch-Matriarch of another polypore (Grifola frondosa), Elinoar Shavit. She speculated that bacterial or viral infections may be responsible for this color. Which would be interesting if true.
Other blue fungi that I encountered in Washington State earlier this month include the quasi-mythical ‘Blue Chanterelle’ Polyozellus multiplex. This species is actually more closely related to Thelephora and like many species in that genus it yields some lovely blue dyes for those textile-obsessed among you.
Baby Blues (Polyozellus multiplex) above, older ones below.
And then there was the matter of a really nice swarm of Gymnopilus punctifolius. This species appears to be an old-growth specialist, fruiting most often inside the hollowed ends of big, rotting conifer logs throughout the west.
The coloration of this mushroom is astonishing, and completely like any other members of the genus. The cap ranges from sky-blue at first to greenish, then yellow, and finally a more typical orange. The gills often remain green and the base of the stipe is dabbed with purple mycelium! What?!
Sky-blue baby Gymnopilus punctifolius. Why are they that color tho.
Finally, Cortinarius violaceus. I know it’s not blue. But.
Just look at this hot mess. Purple cap. Orange spores. Fishnets.
Tune in next week for rarer, weirder and/or more interesting fungi I found in the moist and chilly north.
Oh and here’s some Mick for your weekend: