Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
from the August 3, 2007 Newsletter issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, QUERÉTARO, MÉXICO
OLD MAN OF THE WOODS
Last weekend in the moist, magnolia-populated little cove I visited, all alone in the middle of a trail there was an Old Man of The Woods, whom you can admire below:
If you have trouble making sense of that photo, it's a mushroom with a black, shaggy cap, STROBILOMYCES cf. CONFUSUS. The "cf." in the name stands for "confirm," in recognition of the fact that two look-alike species exist and I'm just guessing that this is the one with the more southerly distribution, one extending into Costa Rica.
I assume that the mushroom's name is a comment on its cap's shagginess, as well as its tendency to be found alone, all dark and broody-looking, in such isolated places as that shadowy little cove. Books say that the species is edible, but very bland, and not making a pretty dish, so few people bother to pick it.