Snowbird Foray! Unnamed Cortinarius Species That Has Yet to be ClassifiedsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #steemstem2 years ago (edited)

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Visiting the Mountaintops for Mushrooms


Last weekend we decided to hit Snowbird's icy peaks where they held the 2002 winter Olympics for mushrooms and beautiful sights. When we first arrived we were suprised to see brewfest happening, but we weren't there for the drinks! Not today satan! We hit the tram first thing to check out the mountaintop scenery.

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While reaching the top I frightened a hawk who seemed so surprised by my appearance I'm sure he'd gone years alone on that peak. It was a spectacular view with fresh air and the sun was hot. I checked all the soggy groves scattered across the mountaintop to see if any mycelial networks had become established. It turned out the mountain had been weatherstripped by the severe storms and the environment was totally hostile to mold. The tops had been cleared for the skiing and snowboarding slopes and the mushrooms didn't like that either. So we soaked in the rest of the view before heading back down to the pine forests below.

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We were hoping it wasn't too dry

It wasn't looking good at first. The Utah summer sun had dried the forest floor until it began to crack. There was no humidity in the air, and the very first pair of mushrooms we found were completely shriveled up.

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While digging around though, we overturned the leaf litter and humus to find we happened upon a well established fungal colony that carpeted the topsoil throughout the entire forest!

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Literally the night before, my girlfriend and I read a short story from All That the Rain Promises and More of some hunters who found a vein of puffballs growing beneath the desert floor in Arizona. While they were driving they saw from afar one errant, bright-white puffball breaking through the desert crust as a clue. When they dug it up they found another, and another, until they pulled hundreds of pounds of puffball from the Earth! Some were buried more than two feet! So with this knowledge and a little moral boost from the fungus we found, we set our sights to find disturbances in the soil. After just a few minutes we found one little mushroom creating a mound, barely peaking out of the soil just enough to clue us in.

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Hooray! We found a mushroom in spite of the dry spell. A mysterious unnamed species of Cortinarious that isn't in the books!

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We started looking around and sure enough another little mound had been pushed up looking like a person had stabbed a shovel in the soil.

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We were finding more and more mushrooms that were completely buried! The air was too dry for any to make it above the surface for long, so there were little veins of them following the roots underground.

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We found as many mushrooms as we could carry in less than an hour. Here was the greatest find of the day...


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We were elated to find so many good looking fresh specimens on such a dry day, mid-summer in the Utah mountains. This species has been discovered before but has yet to be named. The entire Cortinarius genus including this particular specimen hasn't been fully explored officially. Which means even amateurs can do valuable research! Mycology is a widely unexplored field. It turns out the mushrooms we found are all inedible due to the simple fact that I don't know what they are. Some of Utah's deadliest species are of the Cortinarious genus, so I'll have to take my spore prints, dry em out, and add them to the collection! They were some lucky finds and it was a beautiful day at snowbird with my bfff.
Thanks Lex❤

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Thanks for reading and please upvote if you enjoyed the content! Check out my feed for more Utah finds @fractalobserver and check out @kandywriter to see what kind of weird wonders are growing in Florida! A special thanks to @dber World Traveler for sharing some of his expertise and insight and taking the time to help me out by providing sources that might help me peg these difficult specimens!


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Thank you so much! I appreciate your support more than you know.

Looks majestic, really nice

What an amazing place to explore. wow A mushroom that has not been named. That's great to find new specimens. Thanks for the mention always nice to be included. You never know what lays just under the surface waiting to burst through the woods floor. Good luck with your research.

Thank you and of course! I live vicariously through your field work in Florida haha.

Congratulations on your find! Thanks for including such great pictures.