Several species of fungi (mushrooms) are adapted to grow in burned-out areas. Some mushrooms fruit only in burnt ground and others have a definite affinity for such habitats. Several species that prefer these scorched landscapes are even known by the descriptor “charcoal loving”. After Mt. Saint Helens erupted, mushrooms were among the first organisms to colonize the volcano slopes.
Approximately eleven weeks (on 10-28-2017) after the Cove Fire destroyed over 30,800 acres of the Modoc National Forest near Adin Ca (Modoc County), Leonard and I returned to Forest Road 40N11 for our monthly observation of the forest’s recovery. Among other newly emerged plants, we also saw the first fungi following the fire.
Many clusters of shaggy mane mushrooms (Coprinus comatus) were scattered among the reemerging flora. Coprinus species are among the mushrooms that appear first and grow well in burned areas.
Shaggy manes are common throughout North America and are found in grassy areas, hard ground, particularly along roads and trails, and disturbed areas as well as burned terrain. These tall, columnar mushrooms expand to almost a bell shape as the gills deliquesce (liquefy) from the bottom up. The crowded gills are free, or nearly so. The stem is hollow.
More information on shaggy mane mushrooms may be found in a previous post (10-17-11 “Shaggy Mane”). “Resilience” (08-28-17) and “Recovering” (10-06-17) are two of my posts about the Cove Fire aftermath.