Monday, May 13, 2013

Mushrooming Among Some Elm Trees

   The other day I was scouting for morels and early orchids in a patch of Elms.  I didn't see any morels but I did see another kind of (reportedly) edible mushrooms.  I watched some slugs happily devouring the scaly tops of these large, saddle-shaped mushrooms.
   Here is a photo of these mushrooms.  They are called Dryad Saddles (Polyporus squamosus).  Some folks call them Grouse Wings.
Dryad Saddle - Polyporus squamosus on elm stump
   Since Dryad Saddles like to grow on Elms, they were plentiful... I was in a large patch of elm trees.  I could have gathered some of these mushrooms for eating, but I didn't think we would enjoy their smell or flavor.  Bill Russell, in his book, Field Guide to the Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania And the Mid-atlantic , says, "Some people think the mushroom smells like cucumber or watermelon."
Dryad Saddle mushrooms
 He also says, "Someone with a powerful imagination long ago thought that they would make good riding saddles for fairies and such creatures."
Here is a photo of a Dryad Saddle growing out of a moss-covered fallen log.
Dryad Saddle - Polyporus squamosus
 The underside of the cap of Dryad saddles (Polyporus squamosus) is all pores.
pore surface of a polypore

I took some photos of the slugs feeding on the mushrooms.
slugs eating mushrooms
 Large or small, the slugs seem to have a good life with all these large mushrooms fruiting right now.
slugs feeding on mushrooms
 In the next photo the slug has "slimed" it way up a plant stem and is stretching over to "nibble" on the edge of a Dryad Saddle.  That is, if a slug can "nibble" with its radula.
slug feeding on mushroom
 Not all of the fruiting bodies were mature.  I saw some very young Dryad Saddles.
Young Dryad Saddle mushroom
I guess that means the slugs can feast for a little while longer before they have to nibble on some other fungi.


  1. They sound yummy. I haven't seen them around here, and am not confident enough about mushroom identification to ever pick and eat 'em.

    1. Sybil,
      Morels are very tasty. Other than morels, I am like you and rarely risk eating wild mushrooms.