A few days ago, Glen Dreger sent me two pictures of a large mushroom he collected near Tunkwa Lake. I sent the photos to a mycologist colleague in Vancouver and he suggested that it was Neolentinus lepideus, having the common name of the “Train-Wrecker.” The common name derives from the fact that it is tolerant of several wood preservatives used to treat railroad ties, including creosote. In earlier days, before our current more effective wood preservatives, it was an important cause of rot in ties. This species is recorded as occurring in BC, but only from the Kootenays, not in our region.
After looking at some references, I realized that Glenn’s mushroom did not match all of the features for N. lepideus. It is supposed to have a prominent, membranous ring (partial veil) high on the stem. This mushroom lacks a veil. The absence of the vail means it matches the description of another species, Neolentinus ponderosus, having the common name, “Ponderous Lentinus.” The largest online database of mushroom species (E-Flora BC) does not list N. ponderosus as occurring in BC.
The next step is to confirm whether any herbarium in BC has a voucher specimen of N. ponderosus that, for some reason, has not been recorded in the E-Flora database. If there is no existing voucher, Glenn’s mushroom will be the new record of the species in BC. I have another mycologist colleague in Victoria who will be able to confirm if this is really a new record in a week or so. I will update this post when the final decision is in.