Friday, December 4, 2009
Perhaps I should temporarily change the name of my blog to "Mushroom A Day". Despite the fact that we've had a ridiculously small amount of rain this fall, mushrooms are everywhere at Howarth Park. Which means they're plentiful in my refrigerator. There's still a little space for food, but it's shrinking fast. I'm going to try to paint at least one mushroom every day. I see this as an opportunity to really work with the watercolors and try to get myself to stop being so afraid of those silly little pans of color!
Today's mushroom is Cortinarius glaucopus, identified by it's association with oak trees and the gently bulbous base (as opposed to abruptly bulbous). Corts, as they're fondly referred to, are among the most beautiful mushrooms. They're also quite variable in appearance. This one probably had a lavender cap when fresh. There were still a few hints of it when I found it. If I'd found it later, the cap would've been cinnamon brown. Cortinarius are named for the cobweb-like veil or cortina that turns brown as the spores are released from the gills. On the left side you can see where I held the stem and crushed the cortina.
In northern California corts like to hang out with oaks. They're perfectly happy to never see the light of day and I've been developing the ability to recognize the bumps in leaves and debris that signal a mushroom.