Sunday, January 17, 2010

Under an old Douglas fir

It seems that each time I start to write one of these posts about a mushroom I've painted or drawn I start with something like, "This is one of my favorite mushrooms...". I'd done it again when I realized what an indiscriminate floozy I must look like; oohing and aahhing over every mushroom I see in the woods. The truth is there aren't many fungi that I don't like and I'd have a tough time picking out one favorite. I'm fascinated by the rather complex lives these little organisms seem to lead. Some like oaks, some like conifers. Some like any old place and sprout like weeds. Several are covered with slimy mucous. In fact, one of those frequently found where I live is called Cowboy's Handkerchief (Hygrophorus eburneus). Some have gills while some have pores. Mushroom spores come in a surprising variety of colors and, if you happen to have a microscope, shapes. And even the most ordinary mushrooms can surprise and delight when you come across them on a neighbor's lawn or fruiting from a decaying log in the forest.

These small and smaller mushrooms were fruiting under a huge douglas fir at Howarth Park. The larger one is called Tricholoma myomyces and fruits in little groups, pretty regularly, every year around this tree. This one was only 4.5cm (2 inches). It's mouse brown cap blends in very well and makes it very easy to overlook if you don't know to look for it. The small white mushrooms are probably some kind of Marasmius and are easily found sprouting up in the woods right after it rains.


  1. Hi Debbie, great sketch. I love that you love fungi and that everyone you find and sketch is your favorite.

  2. Super detail..... and i want to is the 'cowboys handkercief' also one of your favs? - Drawing please :o)

  3. This blog and the subject of mushrooms is the epicentre of the next big hype!
    I have seen already a website promoted by a top design blog,where people can make customized Iphone cases with mushroom illustrations.

    I enjoy this blog a lot, how in the world would I ever understand what a Cowboy´s Handkerchief is :).

    This drawing is very cool, I like your style!

  4. Cowboy's hanky is definitely one of my favorites. I have not been able to successfully draw one yet...mucous covered white mushrooms are amazingly difficult to draw! But here's a link to some fabulous photos by CureCat on MushroomObserver:

    Cowboy's Hanky mushroom

    EH I can still remember a mushroom craze from the 1970's where there were bubbly little mushrooms everywhere! Disturbing to think it's happening again:*}

  5. Thanks for the link - i take your point on how hard they are to draw! :o)

  6. I always say that snot is very hard to draw

  7. I was just wondering if you ever saute a batch of your subjects and you said the word 'snot' and now I'm not sure about eating my own dinner ;)

    Lovely details as usual, Debbie.