November 9, 2005

The Jack-O'-Lantern Mushroom

The Jack-o'-lantern mushroom (Omphalotus olearius) is a common wild mushroom which may be distinguished by its funnel-shaped cap and its bright yellow to orange color. It is usually found from July to November in woodland areas of North America, where it grows on decaying stumps, buried roots or at the base of hardwood trees, especially oaks. The mushrooms are produced in clusters of various size and they emit a sweet fruity aroma, attractive to some and offensive to others. The Jack-o'-lantern mushroom should not be eaten because it is poisonous to humans.

Why Did the Caterpillar Cross the Road?

As you drive down country roads in the fall, you are probably noticing many caterpillars crossing the road. These are woolly bear caterpillars and there are 8 or more species in the U.S.