Before I headed down to Virginia for Christmas, I had another chance encounter with a highly prized mushroom, the delightful oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus). Pleurotus grows on dead or dying trees in "stacks":
The mushrooms are translucent and have widely spaced gills which run down their 'stems':
When cut, the mushrooms give off a faint fragrance which is often compared to anise. Cut off of the tree, they were delicious stir-fried in a little butter. December was wet and warm, perfect weather for mushrooms. It's gotten colder out now, so I'm not optimistic about these mushrooms growing back anytime soon. At any rate, I got lucky finding these beauties, and have marked the location (a moribund hardwood tree on a street near my primary workplace) for future harvesting. I left a lot of older, tougher fruiting bodies near the base of the tree, so this should be a prime foraging spot until someone decides to remove the tree altogether.