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Mushrooms Of North America

Many species of mushrooms occur in the forests, prairies, fields, and towns and cities of North America. Obviously, it is not possible to deal with these in a comprehensive fashion. Some of the more widespread of the stranger species are briefly described here, while poisonous and edible ones are discussed in the following sections.

The largest mushroom to occur in North America is the giant puffball (Calvatia gigantea and C. booniana). These species develop huge, ball-like mushrooms that can achieve a diameter of up to 19.5 in (50 cm).

The stinkhorn fungus (Phallus inpudicus) is a saprophyte that grows up out of the forest floor. This species is also sometimes known as the dog's-penis or devil's-penis, because of the anatomically-correct shape of the mushroom, and in the case of the latter name, it's terrible smell.

The artist's fungus (Ganoderma applanatum) is a large, semi-circular, relatively hard and corky mushroom that grows bracket-like out of the side of heart-rotted trees. The white surface of this fungus turns a darker brown when it is bruised. Consequently, the smooth, lower surface of the mushroom is sometimes used as a substrate to record messages and make drawings. The related sulphur shelf (Laetiporus sulphureus) also grows out of the side of heart-rotted trees, and is a bright yellow in color.

The scarlet elf cup (Sarcoscypha coccinea) is a lovely mushroom, with a deeply concave cup, that is white on the exterior, and a brilliant scarlet on the interior. This species occurs on rotting sticks and small logs in forests in the springtime.

The white worm coral (Clavaria vermicularis) occurs in clusters of erect, white, worm-like clubs growing out of the forest floor, and is found during the summer and autumn.

The collared earthstar (Geastrum triplex) grows out of the forest floor. This species has a bulbous spore-case, surrounded by pointed, ray-like structures that gives an overall appearance of a star-burst.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Molecular distillation to My station and its duties:Mushrooms - Biology And Ecology Of Mushroom-producing Fungi, Mushrooms Of North America, Poisonous Mushrooms And Drugs