Rain creates colorful mushroom show

Sun streaming into just rain-soaked woods at Jedediah Smith.
Sun streaming into rain-soaked woods at Jedediah Smith.

Aren’t we all more than a little relieved for the recent coast rains after too many dry, drought-stricken months here in California? I always look for mushrooms on the forest floor as proof that the rain has really sunk in.

Last week at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, I hiked through the rain along the Boy Scout Tree Trail and saw so many beautiful mushrooms pushing up through the duff on the forest floor. Walking the woods in search of mushrooms keeps my eyes glued to the ground, just like beach combing for shells. Fortunately, I didn’t have to stare at the ground for too long before seeing mushrooms in a huge range of shapes and colors. One of my favorite mushrooms was showing off big time in the woods, sending up red, orange, yellow and brilliant white castle-like turrets through the brown leaf duff.

Learn more about these coral fungi here and let us know what sort of mushrooms you’re meeting in the woods right now.

About the author

Emily Burns, the League’s former Director of Science, led the research program that includes the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative. She holds a PhD in Integrative Biology on the impacts of fog on coast redwood forest flora from the University of California, Berkeley.

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