Oysterlings, Tremella and Puffballs (and a spore print)

Shhh! It’s early and we don’t want to wake the house up. There is a clear starry, starry sky and the promise of a  decent frost when morning comes.

Fizz and I have been finding good mushrooms over the last couple of days and there is time to show you some of them before the frost.

This is the first one that caught my eye.

OysterlingThey are growing on the stem of a Stinging Nettle and whilst it is common to find brackets on dead wood I don’t often find them growing on green plant material, Oysterlings do though. They can even form on dead leaves. They must have a very quick life cycle. There is no chance of keeping one of these as a pet as their home will rot and disappear very soon.

There are quite a few Oysterling species, they belong to the genus Crepidotus. Many of the species can only be identified under a microscope by looking at the shape of the spores. You might see this one identified elsewhere as a Variable Oysterling but without pictures of the spores that is just a guess, there are other common species that look identical. It is just an Oysterling.





OysterlingI think that the plant matter that  this one is growing on is just a more decayed nettle stem.

OysterlingThat is Oysterlings, moving along the track, here is one that would make an excellent pet.

Tremella mesentericaYou know what that is, don’t you? Tremella mesenterica, that is our Yellow Brain Fungus. I was just captivated by the way that it is pushing out from under the bark. I think that the wood is Ash, given that it is a large branch under an Ash tree.

Tremella mesenterica

Tremella mesenterica

Tremella mesenterica

Tremella mesentericaThese next mushrooms are puffballs.

Pear-shaped PuffballsYes, good Dog. Get out of the tree.

Pear-shaped PuffballsThese are Stump Puffballs also called Pear-shaped Puffballs,  Lycoperdon pyriforme and the second part of that Latin name literally means Pear-shaped.

Pear-shaped PuffballsPuffballs are great because you can eat them and they are very good. There are no poisonous Puffballs, they are all good so it is a really good one for beginners.

Pear-shaped PuffballsWhat you do have to do is cut them open. Inside they should be pure creamy white. Once they start to yellow they are no good, don’t eat those.

Pear-shaped PuffballsWhenever people talk about eating puffballs they give the following warnings.

The Common Earthball (poisonous) can be mistaken for a Puffball.

Common EarthballYou must cut your Puffball to ensure that it is white and so long as you do that you will never mistake an Earthball for a Puffball.

Common EarthballAlso Immature Amanitas (Very poisonous) look a bit like Puffballs.

Fly AgaricThis picture isn’t brilliantly clear but, same thing, inside you will find stem and gills forming and not the smooth white texture of a puffball.

Fly AgaricIf you cut your Puffball and you must, then you can’t go wrong.

There were lots of other fungi out there but I don’t have time, morning is coming and yes it is a hard frost 🙂

Just quickly, “how to take a spore print.”

This is nothing to do with examining spores under a microscope, we can’t see the shape of them with naked eyes but very often the colour of the spores can be a good clue to identify a species.

Spore PrintI am not going to get this one to species. It is a nice mature Agaricus. It could be a Field Mushroom but it doesn’t quite fit the bill, it isn’t growing in a field and it smells of aniseed. That doesn’t matter to me, it will do well to illustrate my spore print.

Spore PrintSo cut off the stem and lay the cap, gills down on a piece of paper (Card might have been better). A lot of people recommend using black paper because the spores are often light in colour, I know what to expect from this one so I have gone with white.

Spore PrintIt is best to cover the cap with a bowl. It is going to drop spores anyway but that will stop them from being disturbed.

Spore PrintI left this overnight and I got a good heavy print that left me in no doubt to the spore colour.

Spore PrintSometimes people want to take a print for artistic purposes and I thought that my heavy print had lost a lot of detail. You can fix the spores in place with a dusting of hairspray, just be careful not to blast them away with your spray.

Spore PrintSo I did another one and I left this for just one hour. I could have done many more as heavy as I liked. You need a mature open mushroom to do this.

Spore PrintNow I have got to go and get the Dog cold. The UK is under (what we call) extreme weather conditions and the whole country will probably “grind to a halt” shortly. That is what we usually do when leaves fall off trees or it gets a bit chilly. It is a good “Coping Mechanism” and then we sit indoors and have toast 🙂

29 thoughts on “Oysterlings, Tremella and Puffballs (and a spore print)”

  1. Very interesting post! Lovely pictures. I only found out recently that we have truffles growing in Australia! I’ve done spore prints with students and it is someone they really enjoy. I think the patterns are so intricate and special. Enjoy your toast… It’s a bit of a tradition for me too, but in really hot weather when I can’t hike! I still love my cuppa even in the heat. 🙂


  2. I am still laughing while I type this – eating my toast!! Not really – I braved the frost and ice yesterday and the fog this morning and here I am still in one piece. I loved this beautiful post – so informative and lovely to look at. I am watching woodpigeons eating ivy berries at the moment.


    1. Thanks Clare 🙂 Just outside of my door there is a grapevine trailing across a roof. It is alive with birds and mice. Tiny little Wrens seem to live in it all year round and the grapes are very popular. I just opened my door and saw a Song Thrush on it. We don’t see many of them around here these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes you are right – they aren’t as common as they used to be. However, we had more this last year than for a long time. I think because of the wetter summer they had more to eat. Worms and slugs and snails were more plentiful.


    1. Thanks Georgina 🙂 I am very cautious about which mushrooms I eat. I like to be very familiar with them first and I try a bit and gradually I feel good about them. I don’t really worry about poisoning, I am too careful for that, just unpleasant tastes and reactions 🙂


  3. Hi Collin. Thanks for all the ‘shrooms. It’s a really interesting area that I haven’t spent much time with. Your great photos and descriptions make me want to start poking around my own backyard.


  4. Very fun post. You have given me some interesting photos to work into my digital designs. One group of Puffballs look like aliens to me. I saw a spaceship in another mushroom. Who knows what I’ll come up with? Happy Trails!


  5. Sadly I can’t share this with my husband. He’d sporulate on the spot if he saw all those fabulous gourmet fungi. On the other hand… that might not be a bad way to collect the insurance 😉


    1. Thank you Stephanie 🙂 It sounds like you have the makings of a plan there. Of course your new found wealth would make it easy to attract another, possibly richer, partner and so on… just one thought, you would have to keep switching insurance companies 🙂 Happy trails.


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