"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Hoosier Mushroom Hunters Expand Ranks
Copyright © 2008 by Bill Scifres

If necessity is the mother of invention, the father of discovery and learning (identical twins) must be curiosity.

So goes the episode in my front yard jungle on Monday morning when my grandchildren awakened to find adventure on the river and in my jungle, having spent formative years of their young lives on the seemingly barren, but very much alive, Baja Peninsula in Mexico.

Maxine Rose and Guiseppe are the children of Patty Rosini, my youngest daughter. They are here for vacation. And, affirming popular belief, they are full of vim and vigor, as children are wont to be.

As one might suspect, they are up and out in my jungle before I have finished my cereal. And before I can say “Jack Robinson,” they are war-whooping it to the house with the jubilant news (even to me) that they have found a morel mushroom. On closer inspection by yours truly (the “mushroom expert” who has yet to find his first morel this spring), it is indeed the stem of a “big yaller,” a much sought commodity in these parts.

I, of course, told them that they probably would find more and that I would fix them for supper.

Half an hour later they came out of the jungle, their cupped hands holding enough morels to qualify them as Hoosier Morellers. So I will cook the morels, and a handful of poke green shoots to complete their adventure. 

It is good to know that the morels are solidly intrenched in my jungle . . . as I suspected—and even better to know that the small army of Hoosier mushroom hunters has increased in numbers.

LARGER BLUE FLAG (Iris versicolor) is on the threshold of blooming, a three or four-inch flower of many colors. It is very difficult to find (look in very damp or wet habitats but the search is most worthwhile).

It is a close relative of slender blue flag, and dwarf iris, all of which I have photographed. Larger and dwarf live here; the slender on the East Coast from New York to Georgia.

INTERLOPER WEED--The interloper weed with the white flower (four petals) atop its branches, probably is garlic mustard. Last week’s column suggested it might be white mustard.

Now, after further study, I would go with garlic mustard, a so-called “invasive” species of the mustard family that escaped from Europe (the Mediterranean countries) some years ago.

In its first year it appears as a green rosette (circle) of leaves close to the earth. In the second year, or later, several stems grow one to 3 ½ feet tall with two-inch seedpods pointing upward along the stems. Seedpods are about 3/16 (three sixteenths inch) in diameter.

It occupies spots other desired wildflowers would occupy. Pulling by roots is best remedy, but herbicides will work if kept off wildflowers.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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