Must Be Spring on Buffalo Bayou
Feb. 28, 2018
Went for a walk with a visiting friend on the bayou in Buffalo Bayou Park recently. Aside from the barren ruin of the landscaping from the Harvey flooding, it’s jarring to have summertime weather with empty, leafless trees and vegetation. But there in the bank along the walkway some tiny violets had sprung out of the sand. And if there were violets, there were going to be wild chives. And there were! Growing everywhere. Couldn’t help grazing and munching on the tender little onions.
Later on a stroll through the Old Archery Range — that part of Memorial Park just west of Loop 610 at Woodway — we saw what at first looked like fields of orange flowers poking up through the leaves. Upon closer inspection the flowers turned out to be mushrooms, odd column-like things poking out of an egg-like sac.
There are some delicious mushrooms growing in Memorial Park and along Buffalo Bayou, including the armillaria tabescens (or ringless honey mushroom) and the beautiful white oyster mushroom. But this wasn’t one of them. The strange fungus was definitely not edible. Our nature advisors Tom Helm and Bruce Bodson identified it as an octopus stinkhorn or “devil’s fingers.” Definitely not edible. And definitely did not smell edible. Especially after sitting forgotten in a plastic bag in a purse for a few days.