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1501, 2019

A deadly Russula

January 15th, 2019|0 Comments

An entertaining way to confirm a mushroom is a Russula is to throw it at something (a tree, the ground, a friend) and watch for its explosion into little pieces. This is satisfying because it confirms the brittle nature of the mushroom while at the same time reducing the risk that you will attempt to identify it, a process sure to end in tears. Michael Kuo (of mushroomexpert.com) feels that advanced Russula identification “is a joke” with species distinctions frequently based on subtle, arbitrary and

1501, 2019

Learning fungi

January 15th, 2019|0 Comments

It’s hard to learn about fungi. And eww, why would you want to? Aren’t they all either diabolical molds or poisonous mushrooms? Of course not. Fungi are an amazingly old and diverse kingdom, yet hardly anyone knows much about them, even us mycologists. After all, we think that we’ve only even given names to about 5 to 10% of them. Not a typo. So let’s say your interest is piqued— you want to know more. Good for you. You could

1501, 2019

The Cornell Hoot

January 15th, 2019|0 Comments

When hunting mushrooms, it’s easy to lose students in the woods. That’s why we practice the Cornell Hoot. Learning the Hoot is a highlight of the first Fall field trip. With students gathered round, I describe the exquisite art of collecting mushrooms, hand out crisp Cornell apples and maps, and demonstrate the Cornell Hoot: a rising “Ah-OOOT!” My students shuffle uncomfortably, but soon they can’t help but smile. Now we practice together Ah-OOT! Ah-OOOOT! Ah-OOOOOT! Even the shy ones can’t resist

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