by Lynn Ovenden

The Ottawa-Carleton school board’s MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre is a wonderful place just west of Rockland, with marshy shoreline along the Ottawa River, old meadows and ponds on the nearshore slopes, and a mature, upland mixed forest with lots of hemlock and beech. Once a year, staff invite the general public to visit the property and enjoy various outdoor activities. A feature of “Open Trails Day” which was October 3 this year, was a fall mushroom workshop led by Dr. Myron Smith of Carleton University.

Carleton professor Myron Smith giving an introductory talk on fall fungi.

Carleton professor Myron Smith giving an introductory talk on fall fungi at the MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre

The day began with cookies and hot drinks in a log cabin classroom in the deep forest of MacSkimming. About 50 people attended Myron’s opening talk about the growth forms of mushrooms, how to collect and learn about them, plus some cautions about eating them.

Red Waxcap photographed by Julia Cipriani

Red Waxcap photographed by Julia Cipriani

Then we more or less accompanied him on a very slow, two-hour walk through the forest, gathering one of this, one of that, asking questions, photographing, and generally enjoying each other and the old forest. We returned to the log cabin to eat our lunches and lay out the bounty… a few hundred mushrooms of many colours and shapes. With Myron’s help and several field guides, we examined them carefully and identified perhaps half of them to genus, if not to species level. The remainder would have required detailed keys, microscopic study and/or chemical tests to identify. We made the following species list and returned the mushrooms to the forest.

It was a marvelous day that left me grateful for life’s abundance. Our children have access to a beautiful and stimulating place for environmental studies. The enthusiasm of Myron Smith and MacSkimming staff for nature study, and mushrooms in particular, was contagious.

Tylopilus chromapes

Tylopilus chromapes

Finally, and most exciting to me, the forest yielded over 50 taxa that we could identify and who knows how many more that we could not. Myron noted that the 2015 species list is quite different from the list of mushrooms that people found on 4 October 2014 (see Mushrooms of MacSkimming). He looks forward to repeating the workshop next year to see what other mushrooms may emerge from this old forest.

Mushrooms with Gills
Amanita citrina
Amanita muscaria
Amanita flavoconia
Armillaria sp.
Clitocybe clavipes
Coprinus atramentarius
Cortinarius albovioaceus
Cortinarius armillatus
Cortinarius violaceus
Hemistropharia albocrenulata
Hygrocybe flavescens
Hygrocybe laeta
Hygrocybe virginea
Lactarius lignyotus
Lactarius vinaceorufescens
Lactarius thyinos
Lactarius piperatus
Lactarius rufus
Russula emetica
Russula albidulaCorals and Earthtongues
Clavaria sp.
Clavariadelphus sp.
Clavulinopsis fusiformis
Geoglossum difforme
Ramariopsis kunzei
Ramariopsis lentofragilis
Mushrooms with Teeth
Hericium americanum
Hericium coralloides
Hydnellum spongiosipes
Mushrooms with Pores
Boletus edulis
Leccinum holopus
Suillus sp.
Tylopilus chromapes
Daedalea quercina
Ganoderma tsugae
Ishnoderma resinosum
Phellinus sp.
Piptoporus betulinus (Birch Polypore)
Polyporus badius
Trichaptum biforme
Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail)
Tyromyces chioneus

Puffballs and Earthballs
Lycoperdon sp.
Scleroderma citrinum
Scleroderma areolatum
Scleroderma geaster

Other Mushrooms
Bulgaria inquinans
Chlorociboria aeruginascens
Helvella lacunosa
Scutellinia scutellata (Eyelash Fungus)
Cordyceps sp.