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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth De Cicco

Entoloma indigoferum

This illustration was completed for Colored Pencil II at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The final assignment was a composition of a single species throughout its lifecycle. We had 5 weeks to prepare the illustration while also working on other assignments. There was some freedom to choose our own materials and experiment with solvents or other techniques. I used Bristol 500 series paper with Verithins and Polychromos.

In the field, I did an initial sketch of one mushroom with associate species with a limited set of colored pencils. This allowed me to practice mixing the color and study the natural lighting. I used tracing paper to develop the composition, adding more associate species in removable layers. I originally planned to add a stump, some Carex sp., and at least one Chamaecyparis thyoides seedling. After each mushroom was lightly rendered, I decided against adding the additional species.

Species included in this drawing include:

  1. Entoloma indigoferum, the blue entoloma

  2. liverworts pushed up by a fruiting body

  3. Sphagnum flavicomens, a moss that prefers dry microhabitats

  4. a slug found feeding on the cap and gills of one of the mushrooms

This illustration shows the lifecycle of Entoloma indigoferum. The mushroom emerges in the button stage as a deep blue, sometimes hidden below the moss. As it starts to open, it reveals white gills. The cap may retain some of the initial deep blue from the button stage in the center as it ages. Gills become transparent and buff to peach hued, with a similar color spore print. Snails and small mammals may consume the entire cap, but typically leave the stipe behind.

As a side note, this is the time of the year that sphagnum moss takes on its Fall colors, turning deeper shades of red and orange where exposed to sunlight. The orange hue in the Sphagnum flavicomens is typical for this species, but it can be much more vibrant.

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