Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage 2015 Day 2

(This is part 2 of 4 posts about the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage 2015)

I’m continuing this week to talk about my experience at the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. I hope you enjoy it!

Here are the pictures that I took during Day 2.

Here is the list of flora and fauna that we saw this year.

This morning we did our first hike, which was on Edible Mushrooms. We learned the do's and don'ts about recognizing edible mushrooms and their habitat preference with field and culinary mycologists Marisol Sanchez, and Brian Looney. They were students at the University of Tennessee and were very knowledgeable about their subject. We hiked along the Engine Creek Trail and were told there was an old railroad engine at the end of the trail. We also saw a lot of wildflowers on this hike! My favorite mushroom we came across was The Devil’s Urn.

Our afternoon hike was a Wildflower Walk along the Bullhead Trail. We hiked with Roger Hedge, who works for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. He was an awesome leader! There weren’t a lot of flowers in bloom but he was able to point out a lot of flowers that were blooming along with finding the foliage of some that weren’t blooming. He was full of interesting stories and when he stopped, he did a good job of getting in the middle of the group to talk so everyone could hear what he was saying.

We were supposed to meet up with friends, Dan and Sherrie, but my Verizon cell service was out all day. We had no way to contact each other so after we finished hiking we went back to our room to wait and see if my phone would work again. I also sent Sherrie a Facebook message in case she could get it. Luckily I told them where we were staying and they came to the Microtel to find us! We went to No Way Jose restaurant for lunch and when we were done, it was raining so Don went back to the motel to get the car for us. After we got back, we went to a wonderful program on Birds of Prey.

Things I Learned:
  1. Summer and fall is the best time to see mushrooms.
  2. Cup fungi is found in the spring and summer.
  3. Morels are also known as dry land fish or land sponges.
  4. You can legally collect up to 2 lbs. of edible mushrooms per person per day in the Smokies.
  5. Morels are found around tulip poplar, hickory, or elm trees.
  6. Oyster mushrooms are found in the spring, off logs, usually a lot of them.
  7. Dryad saddle – conch fungi that grows on side of trees; get really young in order to tast good.
  8. Lung Lichen is an indicator species.
  9. The Devil’s Urn is a cup mushroom.
  10. Turkey tail has color banding
  11. Lenzites betulina is the only polypor with gills.
  12. Common Split Gill (Schizophylum commune) is known worldwide.
  13. Showy orchis is one of the few that has an aroma and nectar in it.
  14. About 30 species of orchids in the Smokies.
  15. Rue Anemone is also known as windflower
  16. Mustards have 4 petals.
  17. Make back up plans with friends in case you have no cell service to call each other! 
Come back tomorrow to hear how Day 3 went!

Original photo by Pat Hensley

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