I stopped by the Beechwoods Park today to take a few pictures of the trail and kiosk and was quickly distracted by the many colorful and beautiful fungi visible in the park. Under the canopy of the beeches, growing on downed logs and rotting branches, and so lush with the dripping rain (courtesy of Tropical Storm Andrea!), there was a fascinating diversity of fungi to observe!
I went online to learn a bit more about what I had photographed and found a great deal of information.
From Wikipedia: Mycology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi, including their genetic and biochemical properties, their taxonomy and their use to humans as a source for tinder, medicine (e.g., penicillin), food (e.g., beer, wine, cheese, edible mushrooms) and entheogens, as well as their dangers, such as poisoning or infection.
The organisms of the fungal lineage include mushrooms, rusts, smuts, puffballs, truffles, morels, molds, and yeasts, as well as many less well-known organisms>> read more on the Tree of Life website: http://tolweb.org/Fungi
The New Jersey Mycological Organization is a “non-profit organization whose aims are to provide a means for sharing ideas, experiences, knowledge and common interests regarding fungi, and to furnish mycological information and educational materials to those who wish to increase their knowledge about mushrooms”. They host forays to county and state parks, have recipes posted on their site—and offer this link for other educational sites http://www.njmyco.org/links.html.
New Jersey “has served as one of the cradles of American mycology” with researchers collecting an publishing on local specimens dating back to the late 1700s! This is a very technical and detailed site on mycology in New Jersey: http://www.eboehm.com/index.html