The 2018 mushroom season here on the Sunshine Coast was adequate—certainly better than last year’s—but some species were noticeably lacking, particularly Hydenellum. However, I did spot two H. caeruleum in an area where I can usually count on finding a few, and I’ve been watching them grow over the months. Today, after a few nights of light frost, it was time to bring them in.
I thought it would be interesting to document their progress, particularly since they can resemble their dyeing cousins, H. aurantiacum and H. peckii, as they age. Here’s how my little blue dolls (affectionately titled No.’s 1 and 2) grew:
August 27, 2018
September 27, 2018
December 7, 2018
I have a few of these I saved from last year, so together they should make a fair dyepot; I’ll keep you posted.
I went back to a spot where I’ve found Hydnellum caeruleum in previous years, but since I didn’t see any last year or the year before, I wasn’t expecting to find anything, especially with the extremely dry weather this year. So imagine my delight when I found five of these little beauties!
I normally find these earlier in the season—late August/early September. This little cluster clearly started earlier, probably after the day of heavy rain we had in mid-August, and have been sitting and waiting ever since. Now, following another day of rain a couple of weeks ago, they’re sending out new, pastel blue growth, which will soon age to brown as the caps open up. (A measure of the severity of this drought: we can remember every day of rain since June—two by my count, plus a few inconsequential showers.)
Last year I left a growth of Hydnellum aurantiacum to mature in place, and when I got back to them they were a slimy, black mass. I put them through the dyepot anyway and got the usual lovely green, so I plan to leave these for a while before I harvest. Except for one specimen that will go to the Sunshine Coast Mushroom Festival October 14, where any and all specimens will be welcome.
This image is a bit fuzzy, but it does show the Hydnellum “teeth” clearly. This is the first H. caeruleum I’ve ever found—the distinctive blue-gray border gave it away. It was a real surprise, given how dry it’s been lately, but these were growing in a shady spot near a stream.
These were in the same area as a good number of H. aurantiacum, so I’ll be able to do some comparison dyepots later in the season. For now, I’m mordanting as much fibre as I can, to get ready for the great mushroom pop-out that’s sure to happen soon. (Rain is predicted for later this week, so I have high hopes.)
CELEBRATING THE BEAUTY OF SUNSHINE COAST MUSHROOMS