Back in Chiang Mai for the last stretch of my journey through Northern Thailand, I discovered the charm of the Monk's Trail. This path, a stone's throw away from Chiang Mai University, is more than just a popular hiking route; it's a walk through history. Traditionally used by monks to reach Wat Pha Lat, every step on this trail unveiled unique growth.
One of my first encounters was an olive-green Austroboletus species of mushroom with an interesting, reticulated stipe.
I encountered staining boletes, that left vibrant blood-red and black marks on my fingers. Much like the red-staining Sanguinoderma rugosum stalked brackets. And following the theme of color-changing mushrooms, I found a blue-bruising Phylloporus, as well.
All growth stages of Scaly Tangerine mushrooms were spotted along the way.
And plenty of bioluminescent Luminous Porecaps.
These ones in particular only glowed in their stems – abruptly stopping where they were bent or damaged.
I also stumbled upon viscid Scalycaps (Pholiota sp.), petite Earthstars (Geastrum sp.), and a small, strikingly purple Xanthagaricus ianthinus. Not to forget a velvety, ruby-colored Tylopilus sp. and a massive Boletellus sp. that revealed a surprising blue bruising.
The journey culminated with reaching Wat Pha Lat, offering a rewarding view of Chiang Mai.
To cap off the trip, my birthday coincided with a visit to the Huay Kaew Waterfall. There, among the serene sounds of flowing water, I came across a fascinating variety of mushrooms: a peculiar stinkhorn (Phallus indusiatus), a delicate pink Mycena, and even locals skillfully foraging Termitomyces, Macrolepiota, and Russula sp.
UPDATE: Exciting news from the University of Chiang Mai. A recent publication has unveiled the formal description of a couple new Russula species. Although these mushrooms were familiar to locals for their edibility, they had not been officially named until now.
I reckon that the specimens collected most closely resemble Russula sribuabanensis.
As my adventure in Northern Thailand comes to a close, I find myself eager to return. The rich biodiversity and untapped mysteries of the region during the rainy season beckon me for future explorations.
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