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Thread: Local plants/fungi - help appreciated!

  1. #1
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Eagle River, AK

    Question Local plants/fungi - help appreciated!

    I need to come up with a list of the most common local plants for something I'm doing with my students, and while I've got something of a list started, I sure could use some help. Every year I have them survey 4-6 sites around our school for species diversity and species richness as a function of human disturbance. We survey a lawn that has been in place over a decade, a stand of second-growth birch/cottonwood, and two sites that are relatively undisturbed - one being primarily a well-drained deciduous forest while the other is primarily a black spruce stand in a wet bog. I've always done this with lab notebooks and such, but this year I'm collaborating with a UAF professor to incorporate a smart phone app along with a web-based GIS system in order to crowdsource our data onto an online map that will serve as a single repository for all class data. What I need before moving forth is a list of plants that we expect to see in order for my UAF contact to build a drop-down menu for the app that we'll be using. I have a pretty good grasp of what we've seen in years past and will certainly consult a field ID guide sometime in the next day or so, but if anyone wants to throw up a list of the 20-50 most commonly seen plants/mushrooms/etc in a southcentral forest (and near-forest areas) at about 100' of elevation, it would be much appreciated. I don't need the super obscure ones, but primarily those that would be seen in an average 30 minute walk through the woods.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default fungus amoungus

    There is a classic that you can observe for the next month or so, not much longer. It is the classic mushroom from Alice in Wonderland, the Amanita Muscaria. It only grows a few places in the world and this is one of them.

    You didn't mention any of the four areas having both spruce and birch; those places are the only ones where you'll find it. Go out one day after any decent rainfall and you'll see a lot of them. They're easy to find due to their very bright colors and their extremely large size. Also they are poisonous; you can make a fly poison from them (google fly agaric). Search google images for lots of specimen photographs of amanita muscaria.

    This mushroom does not grow in captivity so its good to see it when you can, afield.

  3. #3
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Eagle River, AK


    Yep, the 3rd site that I mentioned as primarily deciduous also has some white spruce and we do see those at times, depending on where our randomized grids place us.

    The list of things that we often see off the top of my head:

    pineapple weed
    black spruce
    white spruce
    lowbush cranberry (lingnonberry)
    highbush cranberry
    watermelon berry
    mountain ash
    northern yarrow
    fiddlehead fern
    sphagnum moss (+multiple other types that I don't know the names of)
    club moss
    various lichens
    labrador tea
    shaggy mane
    inky cap
    Amanita muscaria
    devil's club
    cow parsnip

    I know some of these are not the proper names, but the goal of the investigation is not to learn the specific names, but rather to measure species richness and diversity. I also know that I am missing a LOT of species - this is just the top-of-my-head list after a loooong day. Other species to add to the list would be much appreciated.
    Last edited by Brian M; 09-09-2013 at 19:04.

  4. #4
    Member LIVIN907's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Palmer, AK MERICA


    I picked some red and black currant berries and rasberries. Also your mushrooms birch and king bolete, chicken of the woods, sulfur shelf, puff balls and tinder polymore to name a few.

  5. #5
    Member ergoman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009


    There is the yellow bolete with bright yellow flesh(cant remember the latin name). orange bolete. Found 4 boletes species, all good eating last weekend, getting late in the season though. Also found a 3# goats beard (bear tooth) that tasted great. Oyster mushrooms, ink caps, sulfur shelves on birch are still soft. Spore prints for ID would be fun in class for the dozens of fungus varieties found here.

  6. #6


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