|Image Number||Image (Click to Enlarge)||Caption||Image Viewed|
Ravenel's Stinkhorn fungus
Height: 5-1/4" - 7-3/4"
This is one fungus you'll not soon forget! It smells like animal feces to attract flies (note the two flies and a moth). The flies spread the sticky spores on their feet to other areas. Check out the genus name! Mr. Ravenel must have really liked this fungus! ;) Mushrooms and other fungi are not plants, therefore they do not produce flowers. Fungi reproduce by making microscopic spores.
December 24, 2006 Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction! I found this weird stinkhorn fungus while walking my parents' dog in Florida. I thought the "arms" might open at the top, making it a "Stinky Squid" Stinkhorn, but upon closer inspection I realized it does not open. Like the previous stinkhorn, it produces a slimy spore mass which is spread by flies. I noticed several small flies on the fungi. It didn't smell quite as unpleasant as the Ravenel's Stinkhorn, the aroma reminded me of the odor of a slightly sweet, rotting lettuce!
|3||Columned Stinkhorn with flies Clathrus columnatus Height: 3" Milton, FL December 26, 2008 This Stinkhorn is being visited by flies which will spread its spores.||4214|
|4||Columned Stinkhorn emerges from the soil by these veiled, slightly slimy buttons. They reminded me of some creepy alien being getting ready to erupt from the soil!||4157|
|5||Stinky Squid Stinkhorn Pseudocolus fusiformis Oak Ridge, TN July 3, 2013 This weird fungus was growing in the mulch at a friend's house. The "arms" were not open at the top.||2178|
Milton, FLDecember 24, 2006 I had been looking for an Earthstar fungus to photograph for quite awhile, but this was not exactly what I had in mind. The name of this puffball sounds like an unpleasant, scaly skin condition! When it opens to release its' spores, the outer covering splits, looking like a small star on the surface of the soil. See next photo.
Scleroderma geaster An opened Earthstar Scleroderma. The dark powder is the spore mass. These puffballs are often found growing in sandy soil. The species name, geaster, means "earth star".
|8||A cluster of opened Earthstar Scleroderma (Scleroderma geaster).||3250|
White Earthstar Puffball
Dec. 26, 2008
Height: 1-1/4" - 3" I like these pretty puffballs. They often occur in groups.
Height: 1-7/8" - 3-1/4"
This has to be one of the strangest fungi I've ever seen! They are covered in a thick, gelatinous, slimy pulp which is like "aspic." I found them growing in a coniferous forest in the Cherokee National Forest during an unusally wet July. The fungi will grow a stalk then release the spores. The species name, cinnabarina allude to the color of this puffball.
|12||I found these strange Brown Puffballs at the Obed Wild and Scenic River.||3227|
A Puffball fungus
Touch a puffball and watch the spores puff out the hole in the middle, like "smoke."
|14||Puffball Fungus spores I asked Kenny to poke some puffballs so I could get a photo of the spores being released... (see following photo)||3733|
|15||Kenny got a bit carried away when I asked him to poke some puffballs to release the spores! There's nothing like a "cheap thrill", we find entertainment in the strangest places!:)||3751|
|16||Cedar Apple Rust Gall Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae This may look like something from outer space, but it is just a strange fungus. The Cedar Apple Rust Gall leads a double life, one part on Eastern Red Cedar trees and the other part on apple trees. In the winter it lives as a hard brown gall on the twigs of a cedar tree. The orange, spore-producing growths, called "telia" swell when they absorb water from rain. As the telia swell and shrink they eject spores into the air. If the spores land on the wet leaf of a near-by apple tree they can grow. Later in the summer spores are released and drift to cedar trees, starting the process all over again. The following photo shows a "ripe" gall.||7506|
|17||A nearly-ripe Cedar Apple gall||2509|
|18||This "unripe" Cedar apple rust gall was photographed in early March. The little circles are where the fruiting bodies will emerge.||3112|
Oak Ridge, TN
March 15, 2009 I noticed this weird gel fungus growing on an Eastern Red Cedar tree in my neighborhood. It had just finished raining, so the tree was still quite damp. According to a plant pathologist from Cornell University (who kindly identified it for me), this fungus will "infect the stem and will eventually girdle and kill the infected branch." This fungus is in the same genus as the Cedar Apple gall (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae). We do have quince and apple trees growing nearby which serve as the "summer host" of the fungi. The spores alternate between the two different kinds of trees through the fungi's life cycle.
Frozen Head State Park
April 11, 2009
I was delighted to find this unusual mushroom, I've been wanting to photograph one for a long time! These are supposed to be delicious to eat sauteed in butter, but I've never tried one.
|21||I found this large Shelf fungus growing on a dead tree in the Smokies.||2780|
|22||The underneath side of this Shelf Fungus is full of tiny pores where the spores are released. The "shelf" is the reproductive body of the fungus that was growing in a decaying log.||2500|
Mitrula paludosa / Earth Tongue Family
Height: 7/8" - 2-1/4"
I found this weird aquatic fungus growing in a spring runoff at Frozen Head State Park in mid-April. It grows on decaying leaves. One of the fun aspects of fungi is the funny names many of them have!
Moss and Mushrooms on a log
Fungi perform a very important function in the forest by decomposing fallen logs. The mushrooms are the "fruiting bodies" of the fungus, they appear when the fungus has grown enough to reproduce. Mushrooms are very difficult to identify, so I will not put the names under the photos unless I am completely sure of what they are.
|25||A "Fairy Ring" of mushrooms forms when the root-like mycelia grow out from a center point (perhaps an old tree stump). Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of the fungus, they grow when the fungus has consumed enough nutrients to produce spores. Some fairy rings can grow to a diameter of many yards. This was not a full ring. I took this photograph at the visitors' center at Cumberland Gap National Park in Kentucky.||2442|
|26||To make a Mushroom spore print, remove the cap and place it gill side down on a piece of paper. Leave it there for a few hours or overnight to give it time to drop the spores. Lift the cap gently to avoid smearing the spores. Spray the print with hairspray or laminate the paper to preserve it. (see next photo)||2391|
|27||This Mushroom spore print was made after leaving the cap on the paper for 5 hours. The pattern of the gills is left beneath the cap where the spores have dropped. It is not always possible to tell what color the spores will be by looking at the gills. This mushroom had white gills, but the spores were dark brown. White spores show up nicely on black or other dark paper.||2065|
|28||Mushroom Spore print||1768|
|30||Fungus Mycelium on a leaf||2539|
American Caesar's Mushroom
Oak Ridge, TN (Haw Ridge Park)
August 16, 2009
The summer of 2009 has been unusually rainy, so the mushrooms have been quite prolific! These beautiful specimens made my jaw drop when I spotted them along the trail at Haw Ridge. I really liked the way they grew in a stair-step fashion. :)
Purple-bloom Russula Mushroom
Height:1" - 3" I found this beautiful little purple mushroom along the trail at Haw Ridge in Oak Ridge. It is amazing how many different colors mushrooms can be!
Indigo Milky Mushroom
Frozen Head State Park (Wartburg, TN)
August 23, 2009 What a great surprise it was to see this spectacular mushroom growing along the trail! It was late in the afternoon, so I had to use my flash. I was amazed to see the beautiful blue gills on the underside when I looked beneath it! (see next photo)
Indigo Milky Mushroom
Frozen Head State Park (Wartburg, TN)
August 23, 2009
A White, gilled Mushroom
Mushrooms can have pores or gills for spore production. If you cut a mushroom from its stalk and leave it on a piece of paper overnight the next morning the spores will be left behind on the paper.
Old Man of the Woods Mushroom
Height: 2" - 4-3/4" I like the charming name of this mushroom. I found it growing in the woods at Haw Ridge.
Boletellus betula I found this interesting mushroom on the trail to Piney Falls in 2005. Boletes have their spores in small pores instead of gills. I used my Nikon Coolpix 5700 to take this photo, it had a moveable LCD viewer, so the camera could be put on the ground and I didn't have to!
|39||Tiny (about 1") Red mushrooms at Frozen Head.||3970|
|40||An orange chanterelle mushroom||3500|
|41||A Bolete mushroom||2128|
Magnolia Cone mushrooms
Strobilurus conigenoides Talk about species specificity in fungi, these little mushrooms grow only on decaying magnolia cones!
|43||Tiny white Marasmius mushrooms on a twig.||2267|
|44||My husband and I saw this Giant mushroom growing at the base of a tree along a trail at the Cherokee National Forest. It was over a foot across! I didn't want to get too close to try to measure it, the mushroom smelled awful and it was surrounded by hundreds of fruitflies!||4507|
|45||I found this giant Fungus while hiking on a trail in the Smokies. I put my backpack next to it to show how large it was!||2856|
|46||A white polypore fungus||3380|
Resinous Polypore Fungus
Oak Ridge, TN (Haw Ridge Park)
October 21, 2009
This strange fungus exudes drops of water in its early growing stages. I found it on a decaying log along the trail at Haw Ridge.
|48||A long-stemmed mushroom||2302|
Crested Coral fungus
Clavulina cristata I found this pretty fungus growing on the ground in the Cherokee National Forest.
|50||This stalked Coral fungus was photographed in the Great Smoky Mountains in September 2005.||2286|
|51||A Yellow Coral Fungus Great Smoky Mountains NP July 12, 2007||1754|
Cyathus striatus This fascinating little Birdsnest fungus grows on mulch. The spores are located in the little "eggs" (spore sacs) which are ejected when hit by falling raindrops. One of my students spotted a cluster of these fungi during an outdoor activity and she became very upset. I couldn't understand why she would freak out over a fungus until she started saying something about a wasp nest on the ground. It took me awhile to convince her they weren't harmful!
Cyathus striatus / Birdsnest Fungus Family
Racheff Gardens - Knoxville, TN
July 19, 2007 These cute little fungi often grow on mulch. The tiny "eggs" are spore cases which are released when hit by falling raindrops. The brown ones at the bottom and the white one second from the top have not yet opened.
Eyelash Cup fungus
Scutellinia scutellata I used to teach a class about the ecology of decaying, fallen trees. It was always fun to see the different types of fungi that lived on the wood. This one was among my favorites! It's easy to see how it gets its' common name .
Common Brown Cup fungus
Peziza badio-confusa This cup fungus grows on the ground in the late spring. In this case, the scientific name is more fun than the common name! :)
Scarlet Cup Fungus
Sarcoscypha coccinea / Ascomycetes
March 20, 2010
Norris, TN Norris Dam State Park I got quite a surprise when I tried to blow a bit of dead leaf out of one of these cups, it puffed back with its spores! It looked as though it was giving off smoke!
Devil's Urn fungus
Urnula craterium This cup fungus is often found on dead oak trees. Many types of fungi are species-specific to the substrate they will grow on.
Velvet Blue Spread Fungus
Pulcherricium caeruleum / Crust Fungus Family This was a beautiful blue fungus (which is what the scientific name means), we called it "Blue Jean Fungus" since it was the color of denim.
Green Stain Fungus
Chlorociboria aeruginascens This is a fungus commonly seen in the Smokies. It stains dead wood with a dark teal green.
Orange Jelly; Witches' Butter
Dacrymyces palmatus This fungus is found on decomposing coniferous logs. It feels like gelatin when wet. Although a lot of fungi have names that pertain to witches, the Devil, or fairies, they are not evil organisms! Early people did not understand the life cycles of fungi, they just assumed fungi came from the underworld. Fungi often pop up out of the ground or from decayed wood after a rain.
Chocolate Tube slime mold
Stemonitis splendens I had heard of slime molds (Myxomycetes), but I didn't know much about them until I attended a workshop about myxomycetes at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont in July 2004. These organisms are in the Kingdom Protista and are often invisible until they enter their vegetative (reproductive) phase, where they produce brightly colored spores. Slime molds begin their life cycle as a multi-nucleated spore which becomes an amoeba. This large cell reproduces and becomes a slowly-moving organism called a "plasmodium." The plasmodium oozes across dead leaves and decomposing fallen logs in search of bacteria to consume. When the plasmodium has had enough to eat it produces a spore case, which can be quite colorful. This species is large and fairly easy to find, it is my "favorite" slime mold (strange as that may sound!). The spore stalks are up to 1/4" tall. I found this growing on a decaying log at the University of Tennessee Arboretum in July.
|62||Many-headed Slime Mold Physarum polycephalum Racheff Gardens - Knoxville, TN July 19, 2007 I found this strange yellow Slime mold growing at the base of a dying tree. My two friends probably thought I had truly "lost it" when I pulled out my camera and started focusing on a moldy pile of sawdust! One of the women had been my roommate in college, it brought back memories of the time I had this slime mold growing on oatmeal in a petri dish in my dresser drawer in the dorm. (It was given to me by my biology professor.) She was afraid it would "escape" and attack her, like in the movie, The Blob! We got a good laugh out of that! :) The species name, polycephalum means "many-head".||2759|
|63||I found this oozing Slime Mold growing on the side of the trail to the base of Fall Creek Falls. It is easy to see how it creeps over the surface of this moss.||3175|
|64||I'm using a hand lens to look at tiny slime mold sporangia ("stalks") on a dead tree in the Cherokee National Forest. Photo by: Debbie May||2026|
|65||This tiny orange slime mold has clusters of spore-bearing "fruiting bodies" called fructifications.||2342|
|66||Slime Mold stalks and a red Velvet Mite||2519|
|67||I found this orange fungus growing on a log at Frozen Head State Park.||2160|
|68||Orange Slime mold||2081|
|69||I saw this unusual Slime mold growing on a decaying log at Haw Ridge. It was made up of hundreds of tiny orange balls. I was glad I had my small tripod with me on the hike!||4391|
|70||I photographed this tiny orange slime mold on a log at Haw Ridge with my 105mm macro lens and a 36mm extension tube. It is interesting to magnify these fungi to see the fascinating details.||1794|
|71||Slime mold spore cases||1850|
|72||Scrambled Egg Slime; Dog Vomit Slime mold Fulgio septica This slime mold often grows on landscaping mulch, much to the dismay of home and business owners! It dries to a nasty-looking yellowish-brown powder.||5042|
|73||I found this bright yellow Slime Mold growing along a trail near Tremont in the Smokies.||8683|
|74||Slime molds come in a variety of colors. I found this pretty red one growing on a log in the Smokies.||2832|
|75||Wolf's Milk slime mold Lycogala epidendrum I call this "Bubble Gum Fungus" because of its' pink color. The genus name means "wolf milk". I would love to know how some of these fungi got their names!||5742|
|76||Another common white slime mold||2359|
|77||A white Slime mold I found growing on a log at Haw Ridge.||3431|
|78||Powdery Mildew on Columbine leaf Eyisiphe spp. This fungus is commonly seen in the fall before the leaves of the Columbine plant die, it is a parasite that takes its nutrients from the leaves. This photo is one of the first I took with my new (Nov. 2007) 105mm macro lens.||2489|
|79||Mold Sporangia I found this mold growing on the side of the compost container when I emptied it. I thought it was interesting how the sporangia were attached to the stalks. This probably gets them above the substrate to help them spread the spores better. Mold grows a lot long before it is ever seen, remember that before you are tempted to cut it off bread or cheese, to eat it anyway! Small threads, called hyphae (pron.: hi-fee), decompose organic materials and consume them until the mold is ready to reproduce. It is then that the mold becomes visible, when the the spores mature and cover the fruit, cheese, bread, my compost box, etc. I did clean the box after taking this picture! :)||2182|
|80||White Mold on grass Milton, FL Sept. 6, 2008 I had noticed patches of grass in my parents' neighbors' yard. When I looked closer, I could see these small white mold spore cases.||3820|
|81||Penicillium Mold Penicillium digitatum Leave an orange around long enough and this is what will happen! Mold spores are always present in the environment. If they land on a suitable surface, such as this orange, they will begin to grow. The mold starts out white, but as the spores mature they turn a grayish-green. Penicillin information||2148|
|82||Chicken Mushroom; Chicken of the Woods This lovely young Chicken Mushroom was growing on a dead tree along the Cumberland Trail near Chattanooga.||2116|
|83||Chicken Mushroom; Chicken of the Woods Laetiporus sulfureus I'm pretty sure this is a Chicken Mushroom, but I wouldn't eat it! This was a beautiful fungus that I saw growing on a log on the Cumberland Trail near Chattanooga. The following photo shows the log with the fungus.||2733|
|84||Chicken Fungus on the log||2181|
|85||I was surprised to see this hairy, gray Fungus growing on what appeared to be an old Chicken Mushroom.||1657|
|86||A Fungus on fungus||1626|
|88||Copy of Slime mold white2||2694|
|89||Black Jelly Roll Fungus Exidia glandulosa Great Smoky Mountains NP March 18, 2009 I love the descriptive names of some of the fungi! This is one of the "jelly fungi", it feels squishy when it is damp! It is fun to hear the kids say, "Oooo!" when I tell them to touch those kinds of fungi!||2391|
|90||Fuzzy Splash Cups fungus||1949|
|91||Fungi Mycelium growing in the soft wood of a rotten log. This is the "eating" part of the fungus, it decomposes the dead tree. Squirrels often eat fungi mycelium.||1763|
|92||A velvety Gray fungus||2075|
|93||Crown-tipped Coral copy||891|
|94||Amanita mushroom possibly Panther GSM 8-24-13 copy||931|
|95||FireCap Marasmius GSM 8-24-13 copy||870|
|96||Fetid False Coral GSM 8-24-13 (2) copy||787|
|97||Cauliflower mushroom GSM 8-24-13 (6) copy||1394|
|98||Moth with fungus GSM 8-24-13 (2) copy||987|
|99||Mossy Maze Polypore GSM 8-24-13 copy||1084|
|100||Neolecta irregularis possibly GSM 8-24-13 (3) copy||829|
|101||Pinwheel Marasmius GSM 8-24-13 (2) copy||810|
|102||Hygrocybe cantharellus GSM 8-24-13 (1) copy||1154|
|103||Straight-branched Coral GSM 8-24-13 (5) copy||1043|
|104||Tiny white mushroom GSM 8-24-13 (1) copy||993|
|105||Violet Toothed Polypore GSM 8-24-13 copy||907|
|106||Velvety black Earth Tongue GSM 8-24-13 (9) copy||810|
|107||Worm fungus Clavaria vermicularis GSM 8-24-13 copy||900|
|108||Yellow Unicorn fungus GSM 8-24-13 (1) copy||948|
|109||Amanita flavoconia possibly copy||1074|
|110||Indian Pipes (3) copy||1077|
|111||Black Trumpet Mushroom GSM 7-17-13 (3) copy||968|
|112||Chanterelle Waxy Cap GSM 7-17-13 (2) copy||1123|
|113||Brown Funnel Polypore GSM 7-17-13 (1) copy||1073|
|114||Marasmius Marasmius capillaris Milton, FL 8-17-13 This species grows on decaying oak leaves.||1055|
|115||Hemlock Polypore Ganoderma tsugae Milton, FL 8-17-13||926|
|116||Green-spored Lepiota Chlorophyllum molybdites At a rest stop along I-65 in AL 8-17-13 These very large mushrooms often grow into "fairy rings". These mushrooms are poisonous if eaten.||1467|
|117||Green-gilled Lepiota fairy ring At a rest stop in AL 8-17-13||1107|
|118||Beefsteak Polypore Fistulina hepatica Great Smoky Mountains NP 7-17-13||1192|