Mushroom Hunting in New Britannia

Braemar, New Britannia (PaxLair Times) – February 24, 2014 – by Ashlynn – Over the weekend I was once again whisked off to New Britannia and while I shall write about my visit in more detail over the coming week, I feel it important to first focus on the important things.

Rather than wander the town of Owl’s Head like a vagrant I decided it was time to use my skills as PaxLair’s most knowledgeable mycologist to document the types of mushrooms to be found in New Britannia and to see if they bore any resemblance to those we are all more familiar with. Determined, off I went hunting and immediately hit my first snag.

There were no mushrooms in Owl’s Head. None.

At this I was most distraught! Had the people of the town picked the village clean? Scoured every vale and grove and plucked each mycological delight free from the earth? Was the soil of this “hidden vale” inhospitable to the mycelium from which such lovely things sprouted?

The people of the town had no thoughts on the matter themselves – in fact they seemed rather ignorant about mushrooms in general. And then I felt fear. Terror gripped me as a certain possibility coursed through my mind.

What if mushrooms did not exist in New Britannia?

No, I was determined this could not be the case and was even more resolved to find some specimens. I soon traveled to Kingsport to see what I could find but alas – there were no mushrooms to be found there either. It was not looking good.

SotA_hiddenvalemapmushroommapHowever word of my search must have spread because I was soon gifted a simple map to aid in my efforts. The stranger who provided it had little to say and left with only a simple nod but the map was annotated and suggested I try a village deep in the middle of a forest that I was yet to visit. Though poorly scrawled on cheap parchment, the map was clear enough that I could discern which way to go and I immediately began my travels.

20140225braemarI decided to take the road and arrived as night fell. The village was small and a little eerie with strange red-eyed spider-like creatures scurrying around. I considered looking for mushrooms right away but it was dark and I had no proper source of light. I therefore decided it best to wait until morning before beginning my search – and worth the wait it was!

The number of different types were few but of the kind that existed there were many – two types of brown mushroom with large flat caps being particularly abundant. What follows is a description of each kind I came across. I have given them simple names as I do not know what they are actually called and the townsfolk were not very forthcoming with answers.

20140225bracketfungiLThe Red Bracket

I found this mushroom while searching the forest surrounding the town. It is a large red bracket fungus that grows in clumps on tree trunks. It has a sweet smell though I do not know if it is edible as I did not get the chance to try and the people in the village had little to say on the matter.

I only found this mushroom growing on fallen trees so I can only conclude that it is saprotrophic.

20140225browncapsThe Giant Brown Cap

The first of two kinds of mushroom I found growing in the leaf litter mainly along the roads and trails that run through and around the town. It has a very large convex cap that is a uniform shade of brown, with a comparatively narrow stipe the same colour. This mushrooms has adnate gills that are a light off-white colour.

I did not find any young samples of this mushroom growing nearby or even further afield. As for the edibility of the mushroom – that is also unknown at this time.

The Spotted Wax Cap

Smaller than the brown cap but always found growing nearby, I have so named this mushroom for the large dark brown spot on it’s light brown cap. The cap itself is convex and also has adnate gills, while the stipe is a light brown colour.

There seemed to be a slightly waxy substance on the cap which was a little unpleasant to the touch. I’m not sure if it is edible and I would be apprehensive about trying!

20140225housefungiThe Porch Shelf

I had missed this particular specimen and stumbled across it on my return to Owl’s Head. It is so named because I curiously found it growing above the front door to someone’s house – a tree house that is. Or rather a house over which a tree had grown.

The Porch Shelf is a dark-red bracket fungus though it is not a uniform colour and darker groves run horizontally along the surface. The underside is a much darker shade of brown and has more resemblance to wood than anything else. It is a very tough fungus and appears to be parasitic unlike it’s smaller cousin.

I do not personally think it is edible – it is as hard as the wood it grows on and would probably require hours of boiling just to soften it.

Unfortunately these four were the only samples I could find but I must confess that even with only these few it was a huge relief to know for certain that mushrooms do exist in New Britannia. These mushrooms were just what I found growing on the island of the Lost Vale and who knows what I might find when I finally reach the mainland. And I’ve also not explored underground yet!

Hopefully I will have more mushrooms to document in the future though the way there seems hazy, preventing any further travel and exploration. But I have no doubt the way will open up once again in the near future.

About Ashlynn

I play with movable type on behalf of the PaxLair Times. I sometimes move the little wooden letters around to create something resembling an article. And I come and go like the wind.
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