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2006 Inventory of Fungi Found at Col. Danforth Park

September 30, 2006

As part of the Highland Creek Community Stewardship Program, the Mycological Society of Toronto (MST) was asked to participate and lead the foray Fungus Amongst Us with the objectives of providing the public with a discussion of the various species of fungi, and the role these play in forest health in the Highland Creek watershed. The Program is supported by Toronto Region Conservation Authority, City of Toronto, Scarborough Arts Council, and Centennial Community & Recreation Association.

Fungi are essential for healthy forests. In part, this is because they form mycorrhizal associations with trees, shrubs, and herbs which enable these plants to exploit water and nutrients more effectively. Without these fungi, many plants, especially trees, are unable to grow or grow extremely poorly. Also, fungi are the main agents in the breakdown of wood, and thus make a major contribution to nutrient recycling in forests and other ecosystems.

The foray was led by Dr. John Sparling with assistance from Tony Wright and Brenda Gibson; all members of the MST. The foray took place on the 30th of September between 1:00 and 4:00 pm. There were approximately 70 participants. A list of species found is provided below. We refer to each species by its binomial name since common names vary between users and from region to region. We have also included common names taken from various mushroom field guides where these are available.

Nearly 90 species were identified. They are arranged in groups which generally follow those of Lamoureux (2000). 

Toronto Parks and Toronto Region Conservation Authority properties maintain a no picking of fungi policy. The picking of fungi for identification was permitted for the purpose of this inventory.

The list below provides an inventory of the species found.

1. Slime Moulds

Slime moulds are small slimy amoeboid organisms that engulf bacteria and other detritus, eventually transforming or coming together to form spore-bearing structures. Slime moulds were once included in the fungi; however, DNA analysis indicates that they are only distantly related and have affinities with unicellular animals. They are included in the Phylum Myxostelida. Mycologists still include them in their studies.

  • Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa (Coral Slime)
  • Fuligo septica (Scrambled Egg Slime)
  • Lycogala epidendrum (Wolfs Milk Slime)

True Fungi

2. Cup Fungi, Carbon Balls, and Earthtongues

This group of fungi forms small to large cup-like spore-bearing structures. They grow on logs, branches and on the ground. Often brightly coloured browns, orange, red, green or blue. Several are jet black in colour and form crusts or balls on decaying logs, and are often mistaken as charcoal from a previous woodland fire.

  • Apiosporina morbosa (Cherry Black Knot)
  • Bisporella citrina (Yellow Fairy Cups)
  • Daldinia concentrica (King Alfreds Cakes)
  • Humaria hemisphaerica (Brown-haired White Cup)
  • Microglossum rufum (Small Yellow Tongue)
  • Orbilia curvispora (Small White Cup) (Uncommon in our area)
  • Peziza badio-confusa (Common Brown Cup)
  • Peziza repanda (Recurved Brown Cup)
  • Peziza succosa (Yellow-staining Brown Cup)
  • Rhytisma acerinum (Maple Tar Spot)
  • Scutellina scutellata (Eyelash Cup)
  • Ustulina deusta (Carbon Cushion)
  • Xylaria longipes (Dead Molls Fingers)

3. Jelly Fungi

This group of fungi are gelatinous in texture, and are often bright yellow growing on rotting wood and are related to mushrooms and bracket fungi. Some other species are white, reddish or brown in colour.

  • Dacrymyces palmatus (Orange Jelly)
  • Dacryopinax spathularia (Fan-shaped Jelly)

4. Polypores and Parchment Fungi

This group of fungi includes many of the bracket fungi often seen growing on dead or dying trees and logs. They are important contributors to the break down of wood in the forest and the recycling of nutrients as well as soil improvement. Mostly, they have a hard or corky structure. Several have been used for various purposes such as the Tinder Bracket were used by First Nations as tinder to light fires. Some provide dyes or have been used medicinally.

  • Bjerkandera adusta (Smoky Polypore)
  • Daedalopsis confragosa (Maze Polypore)
  • Fomes fomentarius (Tinder Polypore)
  • Ganoderma applanatum (Artists Conk)
  • Ganoderma tsugi (Hemlock Varnish Polypore) (used medicinally)
  • Gloeophyllum sepiarium (Yellow-red Gill Polypore)
  • Irpex lacteus (Milk-white Tooth Polypore)
  • Ischnoderma resinosum (Resinous Polypore)
  • Oligoporus chioneus (White Cheese Polypore)
  • Oxyporus populinus (Mossy Maple Polypore)
  • Phlebia tremellosa (Jelly Phlebia)
  • Piptoporus betulinus (Birch Polypore)
  • Plicaturopsis crispa (Crimped Gill)
  • Polyporus badius (Black-footed Polypore)
  • Polyporus brumalis (Winter Polypore)
  • Polyporus elegans (Elegant Polypore)
  • Polyporus squamosus (Dryads Saddle)
  • Stereum ostrea (False Turkey-tail)
  • Stereum complicatum (Yellow-margin False Turkey-tail)
  • Trametes elegans (Elegant Bracket)
  • Trametes pubescens (Pale Polypore)
  • Trametes versicolor (Turkey-tail)
  • Trichaptum abietinum (Violet-toothed Polypore)

5. Tooth Fungi

The spore-bearing surface in these fungi covers a surface of conical teeth which are borne on the underside of the fruiting. Some are hard and corky, while others, and all those found on the foray, are delicate and pure white in colour.

  • Hericium americanum
  • Hericium coralloides (Comb Tooth)

6. Coral and Club Fungi

These fungi are found growing from the ground or well-rotted logs, they may be unbranched or repeatedly branched, and the species range in colour from pure white, yellow, pale pinkish-brown or purple.

  • Clavicorona pyxidata (Crown-tipped Coral)
  • Clavaria vermicularia (White Worm Coral)
  • Ramaria sp. (Branched Coral)
  • Thelephora caryophyllea (Carnation Ground Fan)

7. Clavarias and Allies

This family includes some of the choice edible fungi such as the chanterelle and the horn of plenty They are more frequently found during the summer. The spores develop on folds on the outer surface. The folds resemble true gills but are developed differently.

  • None found.

8. Oyster Mushrooms and Allies (Pleurotoid Fungi)

These are gilled mushrooms resembling bracket fungi, and they fruit shelving on wood. They play an important role in nutrient recycling.

  • Panellus stipticus (Bitter Oyster)

9. Waxycaps

Fungi in this family are often bright scarlet, red or yellow. The Parrot Waxycap, Hygocybe psittacina, is quite spectacular being bright green when young. All appear waxy to the touch, hence their common name.

  • Hygrocybe conica (Conic Waxycap)
  • Hygrocybe flavescens (Golden Waxycap)
  • Hygrocybe miniata (Vermilion Waxycap)
  • Hygrocybe niveus (Snowy Waxycap)
  • Hygrocybe psittacina (Parrot Waxycap) (uncommon in our area, but commoner this year)
  • Hygrocybe punicea (Sticky-cap Scarlet Waxycap)

10. Trichs and Allies (Tricolomataceae)

This is a large and diverse family of mushrooms. It includes the Honey Mushroom, Armillaria mellea complex, a good edible and an aggressive fungal parasite of trees.

  • Armillaria ostoyae (Honey Mushroom) (one species in the complex)
  • Clitocybe gibba (Forest Funnelcap)
  • Clitocybe robusta (Robust Funnelcap)
  • Hypsizygus tessulatus (Elm Oyster)
  • Laccaria lacata (Deceiver)
  • Lyophyllum decastes (Fried Chicken Mushroom)

11. Collybias, Mycenas and Others

This group includes many of the fragile fungi, including Marasmius which dry up during dry periods and revive completely following the next rainfall. Many are delicate with light shades of pink, brown or yellows. There are choice edibles in this group including the fungus enoki-take or Velvet Stalk, Flammulina velutipes.

  • Collybia butyracea (Buttery Collybia)
  • Flammulina velutipes (Velvet Stalk)
  • Marasmius rotula (Pin-wheel Marasmius)
  • Mycena haematopus (Bleeding Fairy Helmet)
  • Mycena leaiana (Golden Fairy Helmet)
  • Xerula furfuracea (Deep Root)

12. Cortinariaceae

This family includes some very poisonous mushrooms including those that do not cause gastric upsets, but affect other body organs. Several are common in Col. Danforth Park. The Deadly Galerina that fruits on decaying logs contains amatoxins, cyclic heptapeptides, which are responsible for many human fatalities from eating fungi. No mushroom is poisonous by simply touching the surface only by ingestion.

  • Crepidotus mollis (Brown Crep)
  • Galerina autumnalis (Deadly Galerina)
  • Inocybe fastigiata (Conic Fibrehead)
  • Inocybe geophylla (Earth Blade Fibrehead)

13. Agrocybes

  • None were encountered during the foray.

14. Pholiotas and Allies

These are large and often spectacular fungi growing in large clumps on the sides of trees. They are yellowish to brown in colour and many have a viscid cap.

  • Pholiota aurivella (Golden Scalecap)
  • Pholiota malicola (Smooth Scalecap)

15. Ink Caps and Allies (Coprinaceae)

The gills of many species in this family deliquesce as they mature to a black inky liquid. Many are common on soils rich in humus material, including dung.

  • Coprinellus disseminatus (Crumble Cap)
  • Coprinellus micaceus (Mica Cap)
  • Coprinopsis atramentaria (Alcohol Ink Cap)
  • Coprinus comatus (Shaggy Mane
  • Parasola plicatilis (Japanese Umbrella Inky)
  • Psathyrella sp. (Psathyrellas)

16. Agarics, Lepiotas and Allies

This group includes the common store-bought mushroom, Agaricus bisporus. It also includes members of the genus Lepiota which includes several very poisonous species, one of which caused the death of a person in Toronto a year or so ago.

  • Lepiota acutaesquamosa (Sharp-scaled Parasol)
  • Leucoagaricus naucinus (Smooth Parasol)

17. Pluteus and Allies

These are pink-spored mushrooms, often including both edible and poisonous species. Common in our area is the Deer Mushroom which fruits on rotted wood.

  • Pluteus cervinus (Deer Mushroom)

18. Amanitaceae

This family includes some of the most deadly mushrooms including the Destroying Angel, Amanita virosa. The active poison in this genus is amatoxin. Two less poisonous species were found in the park. The family includes some of the most important mycorrhizal fungi, which are essential for a healthy forest.

  • Amanita citrina (False Death Cap)
  • Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric)

19. Entolomataceae

These are pink-spored mushrooms and include many poisonous species. One species only was encountered; it is non-poisonous and frequently eaten in its aborted form as Hunters hearts. They are important mycorrhizal fungi.

  • Entoloma abortivum (Aborted Entoloma)

20. Lactarius and Russula

This family together with the boletes and Amanita are the important mycorrhizal fungi. Milkcaps, Lactarius spp., produce milky latex when the gills are cut. This latex varies widely in colour, including white, cream, yellow, green and violet and is important in determining the various species. Russulas are fairly closely related to the milkcaps, but produce no milk, and have a brightly coloured skin over the cap. The cap may be white, yellow, bright red, mauve or green. They appear to be sparsely represented in the park.

  • Lactarius sp. (Milkcaps)
  • Russula silvicola (Woodland Brittlegill)

21. Paxillus and Allies

Some members of this family form a symbiotic relationship with conifers. Several species have been used as a dye for clothing. Some are regarded as edible, however, others may affect the blood and immune systems.

  • Paxillus atrotomentosus (Velvet-stalked Pax)

22. Boletes

This is another important family that form mycorrhizal associations with forest trees. These are large mushrooms with pores on the undersides rather than gills. Almost all are edible although some should be avoided since they cause gastric upsets. Species with reddish pores, such as Boletus satanus are very suspect. On the other hand Boletus edulis is the famous edible Cep of European cuisine. The group is an important food for squirrels and woodland mice.

  • Several species were encountered but all were decayed and no identification was possible.

23. Puffballs and Allies

The only puffball encountered was the Pear-shaped Puffball, Lycoperdon pyriforme. Probably the absence of many of these fungi was related to surface soil disturbance.

  • Lycoperdon pyriforme (Pear-shaped Puffball)


In conclusion, the foray was well attended, and interest was high. The inventory confirmed that there is a high diversity of fungi within this urban park. There are significant findings relating to the sparse numbers of some mycorrhizal species which may indicate that surface soil disturbance is affecting hyphal growth in the humus.

John Sparling
Mycological Society of Toronto
October 10 2006