The Call of the Wild…Mushrooms


Jack London described “The Call of the Wild” as many mushroom hunters would describe the hunt for wild mushrooms. The signs are everywhere, pointing the way. Every patch of woods begs to be explored and the experienced hunter reads the weather, trees and seasons like a clues on a treasure hunt. Each month renews the thrill of the hunt with a fresh checklist of treasures to find along with the pursuit of the unknown.

To others, however, its foolishness and a complete waste of time, even dangerous.

jacks oppositeFor some people, the call of the wild is more of a warning bell, steering them clear of outdoor adventures. To them, a hike through the woods is completely unnecessary and is one of those activities that puts them at high risk of exposure to mud on the shoes/clothing and potentially  snakes, spiders, and mosquitoes. Why would they ever stray away from the pavement? After all, it was put there for a reason.

The majority of people are found somewhere between these two extremes. Not everyone needs to become a botanist or even a citizen scientist, but it is my goal to take the blindfold off of those who have never really noticed the ecosystem around them and encourage exploration. Our ecosystem is a largely hidden world revealed by constant curiosity and a sharp eye. These qualities can be developed and nurtured over time.

Recently, I decided to share our local Western Pennsylvania ecosystem with a group of co-workers. Some shared my fascination with fungi while most were just being pleasantly polite. A good time was had by all, in spite of initial expectations. We spent a couple hours hiking in Mingo Creek County Park and found more than 30 species of mushrooms (photos and details about the species below).


Genus / Species / Common Name More Information
1 Amanita amerirubescens, The Blusher Details
2 Amanita parcivolvata Details
3 Baeospora myosura, pinecone mushroom Details
4 Cantharellus lateritius, Smooth Chanterelle Details
5 Cantharellus minor Details
6 Clitocybula abundans Details
7 Crepidotus sp. Details
8 Dacryopinax spathularia Details
9 Daedaleopsis confragosa, Maze polypore Details
10 Fistulina hepatica, Beefsteak mushroom Details
11 Fomitopsis spraguei Details
12 Geastrum saccatum, “The Rounded Earthstar” puffball Details
13 Gymnopus dryophilus Details
14 Hydnum repandum, The Hedgehog Details
15 Hymenopellis furfuracea Details
16 Laccaria amethystina Details
17 Lactarius subplinthogalus Details
18 Lycoperdon perlatum Details
19 Neofavolus alveolaris, Hexagonal-pored polypore Details
20 Omphalotus illudens, Jack O’Lantern Details
21 Psathyrella delineata Details
22 Ramaria stricta, Coral Mushroom Details
23 Russula sp. Details
24 Sarcoscypha occidentalis Details
25 Scleroderma citrinum, Earthball puffball Details
26 Scutellinia scutellata, The Eyelash Cup Details
27 Stereum ostrea, False Turkey Tail Details
28 Suillus americanus, Chicken Fat Mushroom Details
29 Suillus granulatus Details
30 Trametes versicolor, Turkey Tail Details
31 Tremellodendron pallidum, False Coral Details
32 Trichaptum biforme Details
33 Xylaria polymorpha, Dead Man’s Fingers Details

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