Saturday, July 05, 2008

You Never Know What You Are Going to Find

I went out today for an afternoon hunt to see if I could turn up some nice trumpets and chants and to do a little scouting in case anyone decides to join me for a foray on Thursday (this is where I plan to go)

Last week's flush of yellow chanterelles were largely spent. Lots of waterlogged and bug filled suckers. I did manage to pick a good half a pound or so of nice fresh bug free buttons, so new flushes are on.

My main target was black trumpets and I was not disappointed. Picked about a pound with some really nice and big ones to be found.

I find a lot of my trumpets as you can see from the photos growing out of moss. I think this is because they tend to grow in places where there is not a lot of leaf litter and most of these places are mossy. Some say they have a relationship with moss, but I don't think so. I have found large patches with no moss to be found. They are easier to spot in moss, so I will usually look for mossy spots first and then start looking closer for trumpets. Like morels, once you find one stop and look very close. There are bound to be a bunch more.

Most trumpets are small (2 inches high and maybe an inch or two across). But here are some photos to give you a give idea of the size they can get. Notice how smooth the underside is.

Even the cap or cup can get quite large.

After picking my fill of trumpets, I was walking along and saw this miserable looking cluster. It was a lighter colored brown compared to the trumpets I had been finding but I thought it was just an older group. I did wonder for a moment why they were so clustered. I have found clusters of black trumpets before but they were not tightly packed and seemed to grow in more ordered clusters.

When I got down to take this picture I soon realized that these were not trumpets at all. Notice the gray ridges on the underside. They also had a much more pungently fruity smell compared to trumpets.

Black trumpets, or the horn of plenty, are a form of Craterellus, specifically Craterellus cornucopioides, but they are completely smooth underneath or only slightly wrinkled. I believe this one to be Craterellus foetidus. It was neat find for me as I have never found anything but the horn of plenty.

While I was crawling around on my hands and knees in the moss looking for black trumpets and other black chants, I came across these very tiny black chanterelles. Sorry, it was hard to focus on such small specimens, but here is what I think is Craterellus calyculus

They are very small and although most suggest that they are edible, they are not worth collecting as the largest one picture here was about half the size of a dime. But it was neat to find a total of three different kinds of black chanterelles today. Bodes well for anyone wanting to go on a foray this week.

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