On Sunday, D. and I went to Villa Montalvo to hike the Lookout Trail. As we wended our way through mixed oak woodlands, a young redwood forest and some chaparral toward the 1200'-elevation lookout, we were stunned to see mushrooms and other fungi sprouting up along the trail at nearly every step of the way. It seemed like every ten feet we were stopping to take another picture of their fantastical forms and striking colors. First, here's some of my pics.
A gazebo peeks through the trees near the trailhead.
They have a serious oxalis problem here. It is everywhere.
The Lookout Trail. Where will it lead us?
We found a lot of wavy-leaved soaproot plants on the lower part of the trail. Native Ohlone Indians used the bulbs for soap and food.
We found lots and lots of ferns too.
Our first fungus is this fuzz on scat. It's probably the mold Rhizopus.
(That sounds like a good punk band name, Fuzz On Scat.)
These look like Laetiporus.
Here's a whole log full of turkey tails. Like all fungi, they help break down the nutrients and minerals in the wood, releasing them into the substrate for new life to utilize.
The fuzzy mold is a parasitic fungus growing on the turkey tails. Yes, some fungi grow on other fungi. It's like fungi squared.
I think this one is from the genus Hypomyces.
Here's the fuzz just beginning to colonize these turkey tails.
Fungi are amazing organisms, and profoundly photogenic.
Isn't this appetizing? Not!! This vomity-looking stuff is probably a slime mold, not a true fungus.
Madrone trees have fascinating bark. This one shows signs of having been scorched by a fire long ago.
As we steadily climb higher, a bend in the trail provides a peek across the Santa Clara Valley just before plunging into a redwood forest.
Now we're in the redwoods, still climbing higher.
The types of mushrooms found among the redwoods are different from those in the mixed oak woodland below. I think these are from the genus Gymnopus.
The fauna changes among the redwoods as well. Here's a banana slug, sliming its way along the side of the trail.
The flowers of a California bay tree, also known as California laurel and Oregon myrtle.
Here's another mushroom, I don't know what kind.
Pensive tree . . . is pensive.
Here's a goth mushroom. It might be Pseudoclitocybe cyathiformis.
We are nearing the lookout point, as the trail opens up and manzanita comes into view.
A couple of the views from the 1200', cloudy, foggy lookout.
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Next, here's some of D's pics.
Another view of the gazebo.
Ubiquitous oxalis growing up between wooden steps.
Some of the vegetation near the beginning of the trail.
Maidenhair ferns like the cool, damp, shady forest.
Here's some tiny brown mushrooms, I don't know what they are. (Mushroom hunters have a technical term for them: LBMs, for Little Brown Mushrooms).
Turkey tail fungus is quite photogenic.
Here are some fuzzy turkey tails, colonized by a parasitic mold-like fungus. It's fungi squared!
I have no idea what this is, unless it's a turkey tail fungus just emerging from the log.
There's lots and lots of soft, cool, green moss in these woods.
Here's some more little brown mushrooms, I don't know what they are.
Ew, slime mold!
Maybe another Gymnopus?
Every fallen log hosts moss, mushrooms, lichen, or a combination of 2 or even all 3.
Lichen encrusts the branches of manzanita bushes at the lookout point.
Returning on the Nature Trail, we see several brilliant vermillion and orange mushrooms. They look like Hygrocybe.
These look like white chanterelles.
These club fungi are commonly called fairy fingers.
No stump escapes hosting some fungi.
Back at the main grounds, lavender is in bloom.
A mossy wall near the Lilian Fontaine Garden Theater on the main grounds.