Random Fungi: Various mushrooms on logs

I recently took several photos of some mushrooms growing on a pile of logs.  I know almost nothing about mycology (the study of fungi) so I can’t say much about them.  I’m fairly certain they’re in the phylum Basidiomycota, but that’s as specific as I’m willing to go on the taxonomy.

Unknown fungus (probably of the phylum Basidiomycota), photographed 10/01/2010 near Clayton Michigan.

I can identify many insects to the familial level on sight, and many plants to the general or specific level with minimal observation.  The fact that I’m lucky to know the phylum of a fungus even after some research is pretty revealing of my lack of knowledge of the kingdom Fungi.

Unknown fungus (probably of the phylum Basidiomycota), photographed 10/01/2010 near Clayton Michigan.

Fungus identification seems really challenging, and apparently even experts are often left scratching their heads.  At a minimum, many different morphologic characteristics have to be evaluated, and often microscopic analysis of the spores is required.  Even then, it’s possible to be wrong.

Unknown fungus (probably of the phylum Basidiomycota), photographed 10/01/2010 near Clayton Michigan.

For all I know, some of these mushrooms may be of the same species.

Unknown fungus (probably of the phylum Basidiomycota), photographed 10/01/2010 near Clayton Michigan.

I’ll confirm my ignorance of fungi with this superficial statement:  This last mushroom is my favorite because it looks like it has a face and it reminds me of a character from Super Mario Brothers:

Unknown fungus (probably of the phylum Basidiomycota), photographed 10/01/2010 near Clayton Michigan.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
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