Monsoon Mushrooms: Two-Wheeled Adventures in Northern Thailand - Part III

Explore the Monk's Trail in Chiang Mai and discover a fascinating array of mushrooms, culminating in a visit to Wat Pha Lat.

August 2023

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.

green capped Austroboletusgreen capped Austroboletus
Austroboletus sp.

One of my first encounters was an olive-green Austroboletus species of mushroom with an interesting, reticulated stipe.

red staining boletered staining bolete
red staining boletered staining bolete

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.

Phylloporus sp.

All growth stages of Scaly Tangerine mushrooms were spotted along the way.

scaly tangerine mushroomscaly tangerine mushroomscaly tangerine mushroom
Scaly Tangerine Mushroom / Agaricus trisulphuratus

And plenty of bioluminescent Luminous Porecaps.

glow in the dark Filoboletus manipularisglow in the dark Filoboletus manipularis

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.

local Thai collecting mushroomslocal Thai collecting mushrooms
Local harvesting what appears to be wild edible 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.

Phallus indusiatus
pink Mycena mushroomspink Mycena mushroomspink Mycena mushrooms
Mycenaceae

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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Joseph Pallante