Wild Mushroom Series: #5 Lobster Mushroom LbNA # 25892
|Placed Date||Sep 28 2006|
|Found By||The Backwards Duo|
|Last Update||Jul 4 2013|
Wild Mushroom Series: #5 Lobster Mushroom
This is part of a series of letterboxes dedicated to hunting wild edible mushrooms in Missouri and the Midwest. This hike is the shortest of the series but it might be the most daunting to anyone who is scared of heights.
The fifth box in the series highlights the lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum). It can be found in summer through early fall and is common across Missouri in mixed hardwoods, especially forests with lots of oak. Lobster mushrooms hide under the leaves on the forest floor, but are easily recognized by there bright red-orange color and their often fluted fan-shape.
The mushroom is actually two mushrooms in one. Hypomyces lactifluorum is a fungus that parasitizes a host mushroom. The outer fungus forms a hard red crust around its white host, looking very similar to lobster flesh when cut, hence the name. Since there are two mushrooms, some people do, on rare occasion, experience an allergic reaction to one of the fungi, much like a food allergy. For this reason, it is wise to use caution when first eating cooked lobster mushrooms in any form and just eat a little bit and wait to make sure you don’t have an allergy.
As when hunting mushrooms, you must leave the beaten path and bushwhack for part of this hunt. Please tread lightly as you move through the forest and always be looking to the forest floor for other types of mushrooms, mosses and wild flowers.
Bring your own ink: Red/Orange recommended. I am around 6 foot tall and 1 pace = 2 of my steps so figure accordingly.
***SPECIAL NOTE ****
This Conservation Area is closed to all users but hunters at certain times each year. In 2006, the dates are: Oct. 6 - 9, Oct. 28 -29, Nov. 11 - 21, & Dec. 9 - 17. No one but licensed deer hunters are allowed to enter the conservation area during this time.
Take Hwy. 63 south from Columbia to 163 and turn right (west.) Stay on 163 approximately 1 1/2 miles. Turn left (south) onto Bennett Road. After a short drive go left when the road turns and turn into the parking area you soon come across on the right.
A trail heads south into a loose forest of cedar trees on the SE corner of the parking lot. Follow this trail a very short distance to a nice quiet camping area tucked in among the cedars. Go to the large rocky fire pit on the far right corner of the camping area.
Standing on the east side of the campfire, go 25 paces at 120° until you come to two large oaken brothers. The one on the right is slowing rotting at the bottom and may someday fall away from his mate.
Standing in between the brothers, look at 200°. Five paces away should be an old fallen tree whose roots point to the SE. From the root end of this tree go seven paces downhill at 180° to find a long fallen “V” which points you further in the right direction down the hill. (Be careful with your footing, the ground slopes down though not steeply, but there are lots of loose leaves and rocks and you would not want to tumble down to the valley below.)
Two paces below the V is a flat rocky outcropping. There are many outcroppings around but this one can be recognized by the large sapling whose roots drapes across the flat part of the rock. Also the flat rock reaches out to a gnarly medium sized oak whose trunk splits into three smaller trunks, one of which (the far left) is merely a tall slender stump.
Two paces from this flat outcropping at 290° is a mossy block of a boulder that looks as if it could slide down the slippery slope at any moment and disappear into the unseen valley below. North of this boulder, notice a long rocky finger that reaches out from the hill nearly two feet to a small cedar. Look at the base of the finger.
On your way out head west of the fire pit to a beautiful section of woods with sinkholes and a huge oak guardian.
Please rehide well and be discreet in your LBing. If the box is missing or damaged please contact me at ahistory (at) centurytel (dot) net or through the LbNA.