Mushrooms around the campground

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Coprinus comatus
We arrived at our campsite at Milburn Landing, Pocomoke River State Park, at dusk, and it was dark when we went up to the ranger station to register, but that didn't preclude mushroom spotting. An Amanita practically glowed in the reflection of the station's security lights, although it was a few yards away, in a stand of loblolly pines. Why didn't I take my camera? Then on the way back to our campsite, another white mushroom caught the beam of Paul's flashlight. I had to capture this one, and went to get the camera, reminding myself I need to make carrying it a habit. This mushroom, while just as bright and white as the Amanita, didn't appear as fragile or attractive. Quite intriguing was its location -- the hard, crushed-stone shoulder of the road. Then we noticed a second and the next day a third one, just inches from the asphalt of the road. They turned out to be our first spotting of Coprinus comatus, Shaggy Mane. It's a desirable edible, but we decided against sampling it.

As if we needed more proof that mushrooms can grow in the most inhospitable places, we later saw some sort of bolete in the crack between the sidewalk and the wall of the bathhouse. Amazing.

Adversity overcome

We mainly focused on mushrooms, but weather conditions must have been perfect for lichens and mosses. Paul found a twig covered in at least five different types.

Moss and lichens

Maybe an even more notable find was Coprinus micaceus, which, incredibly, I kept forgetting to photograph. It's not at all rare, but it's an edible that's often overlooked because it's small and it quickly deliquesces. Although we also decided against sampling this Coprinus, we would have had no trouble finding and cooking up enough for a large family. There were outcroppings around several of the stumps of dead and dying trees in the center of the campground, each outcropping with literally hundreds of individual mushrooms.

See more photos of the mushrooms around the campground. Read more about our Eastern Shore fall break vacation.