Charlotte Caplan was instrumental in getting our permit (N-13-18) for collecting in Table Rock SP.
Twenty-nine Asheville Mushroom Club members gathered to collect and identify mushrooms on a “very warm” first day of summer at Table Rock State Park (TRSP) in Upstate South Carolina. It was a good one. The TRSP folks treated us quite well, waiving the usual entrance fees as well as payment for the shelter, and allowing the group to operate independently during the collection phase. The welcoming greeting from the gracious lady who checked us in at West Gate set a positive tone for the day.
Carpool groups from Asheville and Hendersonville, led by Dan Manning and Ginger Fisher, respectively, and several non-carpoolers traveled independently to TRSP, checked in at West Gate, and met at the Lakeside Shelter before going afield as four foray groups:
- Ginger Fisher led a group to collect in the vicinity of the Pavilion and along the Palmetto Trail;
- Janet Manning led a group to collect primarily along the eastern portion of the Carrick Creek Trail loop;
- Mike Hopping led a group to collect along the western portion of the Carrick Creek trail loop; and
- Cougar Eberhardt led a group to collect along the western portion of the Lakeside Trail.
All areas proved to be productive. The Lakeside Trail, however, although showing an abundance of some species (Chanterelles, in particular) and producing the foray’s sole Cauliflower Mushroom, was considered by some to lack the diversity of the other areas. It was especially gratifying to note that the new collectors came up with some good findings.
The sun stayed out and the rain showers held off until we were all gathered back at the Lakeside Shelter to have lunch and identify the collected specimens. By the time the first hard shower cut loose, Principal Identifier Mike Hopping and his team were hard at work. Thanks to Mike, Laurie Jaegers, Frank Bartucca, and Gwendolyn Casebeer for their hard work around the ID tables. Gwen, who is in AMC’s Identification Training program, not only worked diligently during the foray’s ID session, but also graciously completed the species list.
We collected and identified 71 species (an exceptionally high number for a June foray), including several of particular interest:
- Arcyria denudata -- Cotton Candy Slime Mold (or Carnival Candy…) -- A first time record for AMC. Collected by Dan Manning along the SE segment of the Carrick Creek Trail loop off the right side of the trail.
- Camarops petersii -- Dog’s Nose Fungus. See the following PHOTO 1 (provided by Mike Hopping). Collected by Jay Englebach between the Nature Center building and the Carrick Creek Trail loop.
- Ophiocordyceps unilateralis – See the following PHOTO 2 (provided by Mike Hopping). Collected by Frank Bartucca between the Lakeside Shelter and the nearby playground to the N. Wikipedia has some interesting information about the workings of this species – and its “zombie ants”. Fascinating reading.
Upon reviewing the species list, Charlotte Caplan made an interesting observation: we had found six Lactifluus species, but only two species of Lactarius. She conjectured that early fruiting as well as plentiful latex might be characteristic of Lactifluus spp., as compared to Lactarius, from which genus they were recently split based on DNA studies. It will be interesting to see if this holds true during future early-season forays.
Special thanks to Michael Trotter, Park Manager, and Scott Stegenga, Park Interpreter, for their invaluable assistance during the planning of this foray. I trust that the species list provided will be a valuable contribution to the resources knowledge base for Table Rock State Park.