Mushrooms and Winter Rains in California

March 04, 2016

CA_MushroomsEPOD submission (1)

Photographer: Cindy Todd
Summary Author: Cindy Todd

With the recent rains in California, the mushrooms have popped out. Thanks to El Niño, the rains this winter have been perfect for mushrooms. I've seen species during the past several weeks that I don't recall ever seeing before, such as the fly agaric mushroom (Amanita muscaria), with its vivid red color (top photo). But watch out -- it's toxic. Additionally, chanterelle (Chantharellus cibarius) have been abundant this winter in the wooded areas around Cambria, California (middle and bottom photos).

Mushrooms have a symbiotic relationship with trees, which is why you see them primarily in wooded areas. Because they accumulate more water than do most tree roots, they release any excess to a tree's root system. But mushrooms can't manufacture their food, so they get their nutrients from the same roots to which they provide moisture. Take photos, but don't disturb them -- they have an important job. Photo taken on January 29, 2016.