March 14, 2022
Good afternoon, friends,
This week’s mushroom is Trametopsis cervina, commonly known as the deer-colored Trametes (even though it’s technically no longer in the genus Trametes). We found this mushroom yesterday on the New York Mycological Society’s mushroom walk in Central Park. It was nice to be back in the park, brief as it was, but Lisa you should really do something about all the lesser celandine carpeting the north woods.
This was identified in the field as Trametopsis cervina, although I initially thought it was Trametes hirsuta, and after searching online thought it could be Trametes Ochracea, but after another consult with Ethan from NYMS (the original identifier of this mushroom) and juhakinnunen (the top identifier of T. Ochracea on iNaturalist), I believe we’re now fairly firm in this ID.
There isn’t a wealth of information online about Trametopsis cervina, other than it used to be Trametes cervina but now resides as the only member of the genus Trametopsis. Trametopsis just means “resembling Trametes” (Trametes meaning thin), but as duly noted in the field yesterday (by Steven or Elan?), the species name ‘cervina’ relates to deer and specifically the fawn color of the mushroom.
When Ethan first ID’ed the mushroom he noted the daedeloid pores, referring to the maze-like formation of the tubes through which the spores are released. The term refers to Greek mythology and the skilled craftsman/architect, Daedelus. Daedelus was known for creating the labyrinth which was used to imprison the minotaur, and he was also the father to Icarus. In fact, he was the one that crafted the very wings Icarus used to fly too close to the sun. He was such an accomplished craftsman he unintentionally made his son a victim of the sun. Suffering from Success, the seventh album from disc jockey and American pop-culture icon DJ Khaled, is a title that describes the scenario best. The fungal genus Daedaleopsis is also named after Daedelus.
T. cervina is found throughout eastern North America with a few, rare reports in Europe and Asia. It is saprobic, causing a white rot, on hardwoods and rarely conifers. This was found on elm and what was most noticeable were that the mushrooms were fresh and flexible – probably the freshest mushrooms we found all day. They smelled fungal – not the most descriptive as they just had a “general mushroom smell” – but it was quite refreshing after spending the morning looking at scentless, old mushrooms.
It’s quite possible that after some precipitation and warm temps recently – perhaps even because the Celandine keeps the ground moist – these just grew within the week. The mushrooms are annual – meaning the fungus won’t produce spores from the same mushroom the following year, it will just produce more mushrooms if conditions are right – but T. cervina mushrooms can persist through the winter which could be the case here. Mycoquebec notes that the growing season is July through September, but it looked and felt like these grew more recently than that.
One other feature used for identification purposes was the elongated pores seen in the photo below. The pores are larger than that of both T. versicolor and T. ochracea which became one of the deciding factors in this identification. Ethan also hypothesized that T. ochracea may not be in the area at all, or that it could be prevalent and we just misidentify it as T. versicolor. Confusing and mysterious, the way mushrooms tend to be.
In fun fungal news, I’m going to Puerto Rico tomorrow to spend a week in El Yunque with friends/fungal mentors John Michelotti and Gabriela D’Elia. I’ve got a feeling we’ll be getting tropical during next week’s edition of MM.
Have a fun St. Paddy’s Day,