Santa Cruz Mycoflora Foray Wrap-Up

     We had a really good foray this December, and I've finally gotten around to compiling the complete species list from both our iNaturalist observations ( as well as the collections that came to the tables from our forays.     

     The story of the fall in Santa Cruz County was the heavy, early rains brought by Typhoon Songda: some locations had received 8 to 11 inches by the end of October! This resulted in a tremendous early flush of butter boletes, porcini, and various Amanita. By the time our foray came around, the transition to winter fungi had already begun, but most were still fairly sparse, so in a sense we were between peaks of fruiting. Although the biomass of typical fall and winter species was lower than it might have been two weeks earlier or later, we had the advantage of getting a boost in biodiversity due to the seasonal overlap.

     Between iNaturalist observations and foray collections, we managed to identify a bit over 300 species (with a number of obviously-distinct Mycena, Cortinarius, Entoloma, etc. that we couldn’t name). I suspect that with better knowledge of species identification we would’ve easily approached 320 named taxa.

     It was interesting for me to see that some species were observed on iNaturalist but didn’t make it to the tables – a great example of how the use of two protocols can result in richer picture of diversity. The most amazing example was AJ Bradley’s find of Arrhenia chlorocyanea – a tiny but beautiful blue mushroom that I’ve personally never seen in the County, and of which there are only a few prior records. See the observation here: Arrhenia chlorocyanea – AJ Bradley

     Mushrooms that were markedly abundant this year included the Sandhills Amanita Amanita zayantensis nom. prov., which is likely endemic to Santa Cruz County. The foray to the sandy manzanita-Ponderosa Pine habitat around the Henry Cowell Observation Deck turned up dozens of fruitbodies! See one observation here: Sandhills Amanita

     Cortinarius cylindripes sensu CA (pictured below) had a great year as well. This amethyst-purple species with a gooey cap and stipe seems to prefer the oak-manzanita interface, and you all came back with a number of nice collections.

     We even got a few new records of fungi for Santa Cruz County! Else Vellinga brought in a piece of pine bark covered in the unbelievably inconspicuous fruitbodies of Ascocorticium anomalum; Darvin DeShazer found and identified Datronia cf. stereoides (pictured below), and Ron Pastorino brought back a nice collection of Cortinarius cf. mucosus.

    Although not new for the county, the locally-rare Scutiger pes-caprae came in from Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and a number of different forays came back with Amanita porphyria (a species I knew had been found in the County, but had not yet personally seen here). The award-winning Hygrocybe virescens from Marshall Fields was both rare and seemingly somewhat early – more typical of January/February as are many other waxycaps.

You can download the 2016 SCMF Wild Mushroom Foray Species List( ~ 302 taxa ) in PDF form at this link here.