Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Forest Mystery

Posted October 27, 2009

Could I get your help? My knowledge of forest fungi is pretty flimsy. Look at the attached photograph? What is that? Can anyone give us the specific name?

I came across this awesome organism along the Cumberland Knob Trail just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Alleghany County. The golden mushroom was growing along the creek bed. The color coordination with the fall foliage was perfect.

If anyone can help me with this I would appreciate it.

Thanks for all of the great titles for Monday’s mountain mist photograph. Our judges will declare a winner tomorrow.


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  • goBRO Oct 27, 2009

    Or a pile of BBQ chips

  • goBRO Oct 27, 2009

    Fungus au gratin

  • thefensk Oct 27, 2009

    Well, I won't feel too bad if it is an omphalotus ... one site I referenced said they are hard to tell from cantharellus. Mostly about the rib/gill structure. Bill, why don't you pop out there tonight and check to see if it glows?

    Thanks, though ... I now know more about fungi than I thought I might. It is actually quite a fascinating subject. Uh-oh, this might make me a "fun guy?"

  • bleslie Oct 27, 2009

    Asheville Mushroom Man Allen Muskat, interviewed by Scott Mason, wrote to say he also believes this is the toxic Jack O-Lantern mushroom which he says "glows in the dark."

  • bleslie Oct 27, 2009

    This from Larry Grand:

    Bill: The mushroom you have pictures is Omphalotus olearius, also known as the Jack O'Lantern fungus. It is a wood decay fungus found chiefly at the base and coming from the roots of oaks. It is also bioluminescent, glowing in the dark with a blue-green light. I is poisonous. I have seen the mushroom this year in great abundance around Raleigh. One occurrence around a large oak had 6 large clusters such as you show in your photo.

    Larry Grand

  • bleslie Oct 27, 2009

    Maybe I should consult the Mushroom Man featured by Scott Mason on Tar Hill Traveler then!

  • fishnett5977 Oct 27, 2009

    Bill you are such a fun guy!!!lol Saw this on some nature program long time back but cant remember what they called it. Very beautiful to be a mushroom! Not my favorite thing to eat but lots of people love them.

  • iamyeary Oct 27, 2009

    Ha, I thought at first glance that they were sweet potato fries.

    Google/Images etc. That may help you.

  • tspoon Oct 27, 2009

    Scott Mason ran a video yesterday on the Mushroom Man in Asheville.
    Here is his link:

  • dkatz001 Oct 27, 2009

    I believe the picture is of an Oyster Mushroom. You can sometimes buy Oyster Mushrooms as Whole Foods. See "The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms"




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