Early last fall I found a stately white mushroom sprouting from a fallen oak tree. It had some berry seeds (wild cherries?) lodged on its cap, possibly dropped by squirrels dining in the canopy above.
The prior week, I had seen a snowy, glowing forest fungi. I am pretty sure that was a fabled Destroying Angel, which, as you might guess from the name, doesn’t agree with human digestion. At all. I didn’t get a picture. It was beautiful, and weirdly tempting. But I knew better.
Now standing in front of another whitish mushroom, I was sure I was looking at something different. I’m pretty sure it was some form of Parasol mushroom. It had a distinct button in the middle of its cap, which was raised, and darker than the rest of the cap. It had the characteristic bulbous flare at the bottom of the stem. Unlike the Destroying Angel from the prior week, it wasn’t snowy white. But that really is meaningless – a rainstorm can sully a pristine specimen, which is one reason why I don’t go just by color alone.
I’m fairly sure it was a Parasol. But I left it behind. It wasn’t terribly fresh, it was the only mushroom I saw that day, and, well, I wasn’t sure.
Had there been a few, I would have collected some, and I would have identified them rigorously with spore prints and other criteria. I know where that log is. Maybe a cluster of Parasols will await my definitive identification there this fall, giving me another chance. But I’ll probably pass on them this year, too.