Snowbank Mushroom

December 23, 2008


Photographer: Nevada Ruehlen
Summary Author: Nevada Ruehlen

This picture of an unidentified pinkish-colored mushroom protruding from a snowbank was taken on July 4, 2008. It was observed high on the north slope of Koppen Mountain in the Okanogan - Wenatchee National Forest of Washington. Snowbank mushrooms like this one are unique to the high elevations of the western North American conifer forests, where pockets of snow can persist into the summer months. The fruiting body originates in the layer of air between the ground and the snow known as the subnivean zone. Notice how the mushroom has melted the nearby snow in the same way that trees and shrubs do. The temperature of the mushroom's stalk and head is somewhat warmer than that of the snowbank.