The joy of fungi

Tom Volk's Holiday Fungi

For the rest of my pages on fungi, please click

Special-- for the Tenth Anniversary of the Humongous Fungus!


  • Fungi that are necessary for a merry Christmas.
  • Dec. 1999 Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric -- a hallucinogenic and poisonous mushroom-- with some Christmas tree ornaments.
  • Dec. 2000 Cladonia rangifera, one of the reindeer lichens
  • Dec. 2002 Saccharomyces cerevisiae, brewers' and bakers' yeast and cause of much holiday merriment. with co-author Anne Galbraith
  • Dec. 2004Daldinia concentrica, the coal fungus, carbon balls, cramp balls, or King Alfred's cakes.
  • Dec. 2005 Asterophora lycoperdoides, the star bearing powder cap mushroom. With co-author Jon Palmer.


  • Fungal Diseases that must be overcome to have a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner.
  • Nov. 2005 Phellinus igniarius, the flesh-flecked polypore, used by Native Americans, espceially Alaskans, as Iqmik. with co-author Diane Pleninger.

    Valentine's day

  • Jan. 2006 Candida krusei, Geotrichum, and Acaulospora scrobiculata, a trio of fungi needed for making chocolate for Valentine's day
  • Feb. 2004 Phellinus tremulae, one of the causes of heartrot, in "honor" of Valentine's Day.
  • Feb 2003 Sporothrix schenckii, cause of Rose-picker's Disease

    President's Day

  • Feb. 2005. This month's fungi are molds (deuteromycetes) that are found on money!

    March Holidays

  • Mar. 2004 Spinellus fusiger, in honor of Albert Einstein's 125th birthday. with co-author Adam Gusse.
  • Mar. 2003 Marasmius oreades, the fairy ring mushroom, special for St. Patrick's Day
  • Mar. 2002 Amanita caesarea, Caesar's mushroom. Beware the Ides of March!
  • Mar. 2001 Phytophthora infestans, a pathogen that causes late blight of potato, which was responsible to the Irish Potato Famine in the middle 1800's. Warning: there's a 232 kilobyte 15-second QuickTime video that will load automatically if you have the right plugins for your browser. If you have a slow connection this may take a while to download. Here's an alternate page without the video.
  • April Fool's Day

  • Apr. 2005 Gymnopilus spectabilis, waraitake, big laughing Gym, a hallucinogenic mushroom..


  • Apr. 2004 Auricularia auricula-judae, Judas' ear fungus, in honor of Easter.
  • It's a mycological Easter egg hunt! Start by clicking here.

    Summer solstice-- June 22

  • June 2005 Faerie cups, various Ascomycota species such as Microstoma floccosum, Aleuria aurantia, Sarcoscypha occidentalis, Geopyxis carbonaria, in honor of the summer solstice. With co-author Rebecca Curland


  • Jul. 2000 A patriotic trio of corticioid (crust) fungi: Phlebia coccineofulva, Hyphoderma puberum, and Pulcherricium caeruleum
  • Jul. 2002 Cladonia cristatella, the British Soldier Lichen, with pictures taken at Minuteman National Park in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
  • Jul. 2004 Suillus americanus, the chicken fat mushroom. The "americanus" part celebrates America on her birthday- and the page may bring back memories of a loved (or hated) childhood song.
  • Jul. 2005 Sphaerobolus stellatus, the cannonball fungus, in honor of "the rockets' red glare." with co-author Laurie Leonard.


  • Oct. 1997 The Jack-O-Lantern Mushroom, Omphalotus olearius or Omphalotus illludens
  • Oct. 1999 Claviceps purpurea, cause of the plant disease ergot and likely factor in the Salem Witch Trials
  • Oct. 2000 Tremella mesenterica, witch's butter.
  • Oct. 2001 Hygrocybe conica, the witch's hat mushroom
  • Oct. 2002 Monotropa uniflora, the ghost plant, aka Indian Pipe.
  • Oct. 2004 Hydnum umbilicatum, the sweet tooth mushroom -- special for Halloween
  • Oct. 2005 Lactarius rubidus, candy caps.


  • Hemitrichia serpula, the pretzel slime mold.

    Veteran's Day

  • Nov. 2003 Penicillium chrysogenum (=P. notatum), the source for penicillin-- making it possible to have more veterans for Veteran's Day.

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