More fungi everywhere

Total fungi-fest in the woods here (or is it fungus-fest?). Way more fungus afoot than there was when I shared images in my post about mushrooms on the last day of August.



Which is fantastic because it’s a nice little filler, considering the fall colors aren’t quite showing yet and there are hardly any more flowers still blooming aside from some chicory, a few straggler blooms of Queen Anne’s lace, some thistle, an occasional yellow wildflower. None of which I bothered to photograph yesterday, because, well, too many gorgeous mushrooms, you know?

I’m not usually here on the lake for more than a short weekend in this in-between stage, so it might really be the first time I’ve let myself wander aimlessly in the woods, no time frame or rush, seeking out mushrooms. A whole afternoon of it, in fact.


I never realized quite how much fungus happens in the woods right now. I mean, it’s everywhere. White, yellow, beige, pale salmon-y pink, red, brown, pearlescent, moldy-looking (for real, I came across one type that looked like it was covered in a white mold). Growing on trees, from the sandy ground, from moss, from life and from decay.

coral-like fungus

It’s like a world that I bet plenty of people go their entire lives not knowing anything about. I’m so glad I get to see it.

I’m not going to attempt to identify any of these. I just like taking pictures of them. And looking at them in their natural habitat. And smelling them (they were particularly pungent yesterday).


And it’s interesting, but once you see one on the forest floor, usually there are tens, hundreds maybe, just nearby. Of the same variety and/or different varieties. And it’s easy to wander off the path as you see one just there, and then there, and then farther over there…

And then you look up and realize you have no idea where the path is and your heart starts to quicken just a little bit and then oh, nevermind, there’s the path right there. Not that you were concerned.**



Anyway, I know these woods, but I won’t pretend to know anything about mycology (except that mycology is the study of mushrooms).




So I’ll leave the identifying to people who know what they’re talking about, and hope you enjoy my photos of mushrooms in a western Michigan forest.***




*No, not really eyeballs.
**Maybe for a second.
***If you’re reading this and you know about these things, feel free to comment and identify any of these.

Fungi everywhere

Or, it’s all about the fungi.

At least it is in the woods right now. Okay, wait. It’s also all about the spiders and frogs, too, because I walked through webs aplenty (and tried not to think about hitchhikers) and every time I stepped foot near the tiny lake in the woods, the frogs practically knocked each other out trying to get out of my way.

I have that effect on frogs, I guess.

“I’m just going to stay really still and pretend she’s not there. She can’t see me, right? Right???” –frog

So, getting back to the fungi.

Once you notice a deep red mushroom on the forest floor, or a bright white one illuminated just right in a little patch of sun that sneaks through the trees, you just see them everywhere.

double whammy orange

If I was a really good naturalist, or even a good blogger, I’d have dug up the names of these different kinds of mushrooms for you. But I’m just a girl with a camera in the Michigan woods, sweating in the late summer humidity and heat, talking out loud to myself, dropping cameras*, tripping over branches and getting bit by mosquitoes and deer flies. Geez, isn’t that enough?

Actually, it occurred to me just this evening that I have a good excuse for not knowing the mushroom varieties. My mother taught me all about the growth that you find in the Michigan woods earlier in the summer. I’m not sure she cared so much about the mushrooms, but in any case by this time in the year we’d be back in the city getting ready for school, our time at the cottage over until the next year. So there’s that.

perfectly illuminated

And, I always get giddy when I see these:

Indian pipe! Also called ghost flower, ghost plant, or (barf) corpse plant. It’s sort of a fungus but it’s not. It has no chlorophyll, hence no green, but it does turn pink once it’s fertilized.

Anyway, if it’s late summer where you are, and you have a woods nearby, I implore you: get some bug repellent (or don’t, and wear some long sleeves and pants, regardless of the heat), go into the woods, and see what you can find. It’s kind of spectacular.


*I should have some film developed from this venture in a few weeks. I picked up a Minolta X700 and put a roll of Fuji 800 speed film I had hanging around in it, seemed a perfect speed to test in the low light of the woods. I dropped this camera in the woods, actually. And, I accidentally popped the back open while rewinding the film (it stuck, it was near the front of the roll, hopefully minimal damage). Sigh. And I also brought the Olympus Pen with some black and white film in it; but I’m never sure about metering and focusing with this bugger. So, surprises await.