Monday, September 12, 2011

Old Man of the Woods (Strobilomyces floccopus)

Season: Summer through fall.
Edibility: Nope.
Defining characteristics: A medium to large bolete (2-6 inches across) with black spiky scales on its cap.  The pore surface starts off lightly colored, but darkens to near black with age.  The flesh is white but bruises pinkish-red when first cut and then slowly turns to black.

Old Man of the Woods
I find the Old Man fairly frequently here in Rhode Island once the prime mushroom season starts (mid-August).  It often appears to be solitary, but if you look around there may well be a group of them hiding nearby.  You are not likely to confuse this mushroom with much else, and it is one of the most striking and beautiful mushrooms if you find a fresh specimen in my opinion.

Unfortunately it is not supposed to taste good- one reference says that it starts off tasting bad, and gets worse.  I have included it here as it is an easy mushroom to ID, and something you will probably find on foraging trips in the area.

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