These are images of mushrooms from the Uwharrie National Forest in Montgomery County, North Carolina. The fungi are from the genus Amanita (Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Amanitaceae). The bulbous stem base and other features put these in Amanita section Lepidella. I have not attempted to determine a species. These are relatively young. When mature, they will have a characteristic mushroom shape with gills.
The Amanita are very common in North Carolina. Some are edible but some are also deadly, and the variants are hard to identify. The caps of these specimens have not opened yet. Early on, they may look like puffballs, but a cross-section (see one of the images below) will show the developing mushroom shape. These particular mushrooms have swollen, bulbous stem bases that are conjoined. The stem and base are somewhat shaggy. The caps are covered by dense warts, remnants of a universal veil. These species do not discolor when bruised (some Amanita do), have a mild scent, and a dense flesh like bread dough.
All of the images you see here are from a relatively small area under a hardwood, mainly oak, cover and in very rocky soil. As usual, I discovered these specimens on the way to doing something else, in this case geologic mapping but I expected to see many fungi because it was June, peak season, and not long after heavy rain. Enjoy the mini-tour.
Flat Creek southeasterly through Lancaster County, South Carolina. The stream feeds into Lynches River, that farther southeast joins the Great Pee Dee River. The Pee Dee joins the Waccama River at Georgetown on the SC Atlantic Coast.
Flat Creek carries a heavy load of sediment. Where this image was made, the stream crosses the Pageland granite, a pluton that is about 300 million years old. The granite is coarse-grained and sheds considerable quartz and feldspar grains as it weathers and erodes.
This image is a 180° panorama around a meander bend in Flat Creek. Lower water velocity on the inside of the meander causes the coarser sediment load to drop out to form a sandy point bar. The near bank of the river is being undercut by erosion on the outside of the meander where water velocity is greater. In time, the stream channel will migrate toward this cut bank.
It’s difficult to see in the shadows, but in the lower left corner of the photograph a tributary trickles into the main channel, and there are abundant beaver tracks there. Beavers use the tributary mouth as a slide.
In the lower right corner of the photograph you can see a boulder of Pageland granite. It’s rounded shape is characteristic of spheroidal weathering of a larger mass of granite bedrock.
Not far to the southeast, Flat Creek crosses from Piedmont igneous and metamorphic rocks into sedimentary rocks of the Sandhills.
This image was made late on a Spring afternoon under a brilliant blue sky reflecting off the water’s surface and under the long shadows of hardwood trees yet to put out theire leaves.
Ignatius Watsworth Brock (1866-1950) was a photographer, artist, and poet who worked out of New Bern and Asheville, NC. Images that he made roughly between 1889 and 1934 are collected at the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Nace Brock made photographs (and drawings) of people and places in North Carolina. Some of the photographic materials in the archive are from glass plates, others from photographic prints.
Some of his portraiture is stunning in how he captured his subjects’ personalities in stillness. Most of the character photographs in the collection are from 1889-1938. During most of that time period, people did not smile for portraits by convention, although in some of the photographs you can see a hint of a smile on the subject’s lips or in her eyes.
Here are a few images extracted from the collection. It’s impossible to view these images without wondering who these people were, what they were thinking, and where they went for the rest of their lives. You can almost reach out and touch them.