Pinetree Lake Algonquin Park Solo Trip - Part 7: Lichens, Mosses, Mushrooms, Fungi & Berries

On walks in the woods, accompanied by my trusty beagle Monty, I came across some little life forms.

Sphagnum moss is soft. You can use it as an antiseptic dressing - in WWII battlefield medics used this. If you get athlete's foot, or just good old fashioned stinky and irritated feet (or groin - oh yes), then you can apply a poultice of this lichen to your bits and pieces.

Gills are above and look very nice. This mushroom smelled nice. It was a Tawny Pluteus - or Putée de cerf. Edible. Cook it up with a little butter, a little pepper and a little onion.

This one looked like someone had scattered sulphur on it. It was some kind of a Bolete - I am sure. Edible likely.

Wintergreen berries. It is a bland tasting, mealy berry. I ate a hundred. It contains methyl salicylate . I made that once in high school chemistry. It is a pain killer. You'll find it in muscle rubs. Oh, and in chewing gum. Mmmm.

The berries are nice, but you'll need a lot. To get enough 'essence of wintergreen' from this plant, you need to pluck a million leaves, and let them ferment a little and then distill out the essential oils. It is easier to create raw methyl salicylate in a beaker.

I don't know what these little green guys are. They might be martians, disguising themselves as little mushrooms. Good job, guys.

My favourite AC/DC song is "A whole lotta Rosie". This one above is Rosy Russula, or Russula sanguinea. You can see that a red squirrel has nibbled away on this one. These little fellows grab 'em, carry them up into trees, dry them and then nibble on them during cold winters.

Little mushroom hanging out in the Sphagnum. Let's leave him be and move on to the next photograph.

This cupola-shaped mushroom is a Split Gill, or Schizophyllum commune. Suited for and adapting to alternately dry or wet weather, on dry days, the cup clams up on itself, and seals in the spores (because it's better to drop spores on wet days) in thin ridges that comprise the gills. Hence the name Split Gill. I'm not showing the underside of the cap, but trust me. After all, I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

I'm not sure what this one is. It might be Poison Paxillus or Paxillus involutus. Bad things will happen to you if you eat this type of mushroom, assuming this is Poison Paxillus.

This one looks mouldy.

Dunno what this one is. I like the look of the cap.

Ah - Witches Butter, or Temella mesenterica. Probably not a good idea to toast up an English Muffin, and spread some of this on it. It isn't poisonous, but it isn't really edible. Probably rubbery and nasty.

I would like to take a course on mushrooms.

As an aside, the following song reminds me of an apartment that I had when I used to work as a butcher. The kitchen was part of the main room. There was also a bathroom. It cost me $225 cash a month to rent. It had cockroaches. The floor was piled high with books and I slept on a mattress. I listened to a lot of music and lost myself in books.



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