My Dad got me started years ago, liking mushrooms that is. Soon he was telling me stories of mushroom hunting, teaching me little tricks to know the good ones from deadly ones. I found this plant to be most fascinating for many reasons.
So I have always had an interest in looking at mushrooms and knowing as much as I can about them. I have two very good books but even that is not enough. There's around 3000 types of them here in the USA.
Shelby D. put up two mushroom articles recently and it has been fun to look at the images and try to come up with "what the hell is growing out her way!", mushroom identification is hard for many reasons. We are dealing with a very complex entity, fungus. And fungus has always been among us, it will even grow on us if we slow down too much.
Mushrooms are the exposed part of this fungi, they are only the fruiting bodies of a much more complex plant. And each kind of mushroom wants and needs specific environmental conditions to grow and proliferate. Although each kind of mushroom has a basic shape, vase, cup, shelf-like, they can vary in shape, age and color because of growing conditions and other environmental factors. So it is important to know many things about mushrooms, shape, size, color, spore color, waxy, sticky, dry, veiled or ringed, smell and taste.
So this makes mushroom hunting for edible ones tricky and dangerous, there are many "look a likes" that will poison the untrained hunter/gatherer.
Even then, some edible wild mushrooms can make some sick while others enjoy them with no problems at all. So if you go with someone good, who knows their stuff you still want to eat just a little at first, test them out.
And yes, there are a few that get you high but then again there are a few deadly ones that look like the 'good ones'.
I have tried a few wild mushrooms over the years, they were good. Morels, chanterelle, a white yard mushroom called Agaricus bitorquis and the Eastern Cauliflower Mushroom. The morels I ate with a seasoned mushroom hunter, they still trick me at times so I don't pick them myself, there are some not good "look a likes". The other three are easy for me because I have picked them enough times with others that know all the signs that I feel confident to try them once in a while. That's if I run into them at all, mushroom picking takes a lot of time and must be done at specific times related to season and weather.
This year was not a good season all year long for mushroom sighting and hunting.
So what's that yellow mushroom up there all you mushroom hunters?
Happy hunting. ;)