Edible Mushroom: The Old Man of the Woods
Since I've started branching out into fungi identification, I think it's good idea to start cataloging some of my experiences with wild foraging for edible mushrooms.
Hopefully what I write will be helpful. And hopefully no one dies.
Perhaps in the future, once I've become significantly more experienced at hunting down tasty fungal bounty, I'll be able to do a series of "Survival Mushroom Profiles" similar to my Survival Plant Profiles.
For now, I'll just tell you where I found edible mushrooms, how I identified them, and how they tasted.
(FYI: If for some reason this blog ceases unexpectedly, it means I screwed up on an ID.)
A couple of weeks ago I was foraging in the same empty lot where I discovered chanterelles and Lactarius indigo mushrooms. While there I came across an edible mushroom I only knew from photos - the "Old Man of the Woods:"
The Latin name on this bolete is Strobilomyces floccopus, though Michael Kuo notes in his article on the "Old Man" over at MushroomExpert.com that the classification is rather shaky.
It's a pretty easy mushroom to spot for beginners. It's flaky and fluffy and has pores beneath the cap - NOT gills. If it has gills, you have something else and it may be poisonous.
|The Old Man of the Woods lacks gills. My thumb looks ugly.|
As for flavor, it's decent. It tastes pretty much like a typical store-bought button mushroom to my unpolished palate. Sauteed in butter it's definitely good.
I found this mushroom growing in mixed pine-oak woods near the base of an oak tree. It was all alone, though there were chanterelles and other varieties of boletes growing in the same patch of open woods.
As edible Florida mushrooms go, this isn't at the top of the list - but it certainly isn't as blah as some authors report.
For more photos of the Old Man of the Woods, check out this link.