Xeromphalina campanella “Bell Omphalina” Basidiomycota

Hub Lake Trail, Lolo National Forest, St. Regis, MT
August 16, 2015
Robert Niese

These adorable gregarious fungi are found on rotting coniferous logs in wet forests throughout North America (presumably). These specimens were only just starting to grow, but would likely end up covering the entire wet bottom half of this downed spruce log. Their caps, when fully mature, will measure no more than 2cm across and have a white spore print. 


The final harvest… I found a lot of familiar edibles on this trip (crown-tipped coral, #5; lobster, #8), as well as a few boletes & shelf mushrooms I have yet to spore print.

I’ll probably toss most of the bag because there are 3 major mushroom rules to follow:
“Small & brown, put it down”
(Because most small, brown mushrooms have a lot of look-alikes and can be easily confused)
“When in doubt, throw it out”
( A lot of them were so fresh and soft that they crumbled in a heap together, so better not to play with poison, eh?)
“A shroom with a gill can make you ill”
(Some gilled mushrooms are fine, such as portobellos, but a lot are not, so better safe than sorry)

So far, the coral was delicious after cooking it up in some butter! Had a peppery taste that went nicely with my pasta.

I see so many photographs on tumblr of picked wild fungi. Sometimes whole baskets full, or tables spread with the days “collection”, and asking for identifcations.

At the risk of lecturing, please stop picking fungi. If you don’t know what it is, you shouldn’t even be touching it.

Use a mirror to help photograph the underside. Carry materials to allow you to do a field spore-print. Do sketches, research distribution data.

The ONLY people that should be picking, cutting or otherwise removing unknown wild fungi from the environment are the scientists involved in research and the field-assistants under supervision.

“Foragers” will argue this, but there just isn’t enough to go around. Everyone can’t forage. Try growing your own!

Seriously, with so little known about fungi, you are doing un-knowable damage to ecosystems. So just stop.