Wednesday, January 23, 2013
My latest find is another fungus, which is growing under some sort of pine tree just outside the gates to a neighbourhood vineyard. When I first spotted these somewhat homely 'shrooms a few weeks ago, I initially thought they were dollops of deer poop. However, I noticed that the dark, repellent looking mounds were coming up from beneath the pine litter, not deposited upon the surface. It was only when I got closer that I realised that the rather unprepossessing heaps were indeed plant life. My eureka moment was confirmed by a total lack of interest on the Vinodogs behalf: the Vinodogs know and love their cervine excrement, in fact, my beloved dogs are experts in all kinds of scat.
Back in Vinoland, a quick search on the internet revealed the identity of the mystery mushroom, the Black Elfin Saddle. Helvella lacunosa is the most common of all Helvella species in North America and is usually found, just where I found it, growing under Pinus trees. And apparently, unlike the Common Roll-rim, the Black Elfin saddle is edible (when cooked). Personally, having first identified this particular organism as animal fecal matter, I don't think I'm inclined to want to consume them - I'll stick with store bought, thank you very much. Besides, even the Vinodogs turned their noses up at them, so they must taste like they look, ugly.