Category Archives: natural history

Flammulina velutipes (Curtis) Singer Edible, but tough. Despite appearances, the commercially produced “enoki” mushroom found in many grocery stores is a cultivated form of this mushroom. One of the best-known and most-produced mushrooms in the world, Flammulina velutipes has a … Continue reading

Entoloma salmoneum (Peck) Saccardo  Entoloma salmoneum can be found growing alone or scattered in leaf litter under hardwoods, or in moss under conifers; frequently on rotting, moss-covered conifer logs. When thumbing through Mushrooms of the Midwest, you see Entoloma salmoneum among the … Continue reading

Mutinus elegans (Montagne) E. Fischer Usually at least partially submerged in the ground; appearing like a whitish to pinkish or purplish “egg” up to 4 cm high; when sliced, revealing the stinkhorn-to-be encased in a gelatinous substance. Mutinus. Inspired by … Continue reading

It was my first day on the Falkland Islands, and our group of five headed to Volunteer Point. I felt as though I was not supposed to know the point’s location—and I didn’t—as we piled in the Range Rover at … Continue reading

Born on July 12, 1909, Herbert S. Zim taught at the University of Illinois in the 1950s. It was during his years in Champaign-Urbana that Zim penned or cowrote several of the Golden Nature Guides that taught generations of schoolchildren about … Continue reading

Volvariella bombycina (Schaeffer) Singer [The cap is] oval at first, becoming bell-shaped to broadly complex or nearly flat; whitish or tinged yellowing to brownish in age; the margin not lined; dry; covered with silky hairs. Volvariella bombycina sounds like a nickname … Continue reading

Morganella pyriformis (Schaeffer) Kreisel & D. Kruger The habitat on wood and the abundant white rhizomorphs make this puffball easy to identify. Morganella versus Lycoperdon. It’s the mycologist’s version of pepperoni or sausage, Godzilla or Mechagodzilla, Tastes Great or Less Filling. A … Continue reading

It’s spring, and the insects have returned in force. Though, unless you live in Antarctica, it’s doubtful you go a day without seeing an arthropod even in winter. These creatures are everywhere and have been for tens of millions of … Continue reading

Feel the breeze as you wander among the cottonwoods. To your left, the burble of the great river. To your right, forests busy with rabbit and beaver, where bald eagles build nests in the peaks, the better to keep an … Continue reading

Clear LaRue Road. Today marks the day officials close the storied roadway to assist of one of Illinois’s majestic natural wonders: the spring snake migration in Shawnee National Forest. The limestone bluffs come alive as snakes, as well as various turtles, frogs, toads, … Continue reading