Winter Mushrooms


Keep a look out for interesting mushrooms year round.  The cold of winter and hot dry summers don’t usually scream mushrooms but whispers of them do exist for the observant. 

A Pep Talk for Beginners

by Brady Raymond

February at first thought doesn’t usually bring to mind mushrooms here in the PNW, but it is a great time to start honing your skills for the months to come and the bounty that is sure to follow (hopefully).  The winter months do yield some mushrooms to find and although usually more scarce this time of year, it can be less distracting for someone trying to learn mushrooms.  During prime season it is tempting to trek one more bend on the trail, or cross the next ridge in hopes of finding that forty pound Sprassis or basketful of Boletes but if you’re new to mushrooming why not get a head start on learning the basics about mushrooms now.

One of the first things a newcomer should do is obtain a reputable book on the subject.  If you are unfamiliar where to start PSMS sells books at our monthly meetings and at our annual spring and fall shows.  It is recommended to get a book that encompasses your area and I would recommend having a couple books if funds allow.  Here is a link to a previous post I wrote talking about books a little more; Where to Start, Tips and Tools for Learning Mushrooms.

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NAMA Photo Contest Winners

The North American Mycological Association recently announced the winners of the 2016 photo contest.  PSMS Vice President, Daniel Winkler, was awarded first and second place in the Pictorial category!


First place: Boletus reticuloceps


Second place: Ceratiomyxa sphaerosperma

Congratulations Daniel!  You can see the rest of the winners here.


Cyttaria darwinii


PSMS member Denise, is currently on an extended trip around the world with her husband and is documenting their experiences on their blog.  She recently saw Cyttaria darwinii while on a tour through Tierra del Fuego National Park, which is accessed from Ushuaia, Argentina, at the southern tip of South America.

Check out the full post on Denises’ blog here:  Notes from the sunny side of the world – Cyttaria darwinii

Exploring Psilocybin as a Tool for Modern Psychology and Medicine


Exploring Psilocybin as a Tool for Modern Psychology and Medicine

Tuesday February 7th, Center for Urban Horticulture 7:30 PM

Research on psychedelics as an aid in the treatment of mood and substance use disorders has generated renewed interest over the past decade. Recent pilot studies have shown safety and feasibility of psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic found in some mushrooms of the genus Psilocybe, as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of depression, end-of-life anxiety, alcohol, and tobacco use disorders. Moreover, data suggest a notable effect of psychedelics in occasioning profound and lasting changes in mood, behaviors, and attitudes consistent with enhanced health and well-being. Despite these compelling findings, the mechanisms of action of psychedelic-facilitated treatments remain poorly understood. Preliminary evidence indicates that spiritual and mystical-type drug effects are associated with positive outcomes in psilocybin-facilitated treatments, consistent with early researchers’ observations that the subjective effects of psychedelics play a pivotal role in mediating ongoing benefits. This discussion will present an overview of contemporary research with psilocybin, with a focus on the work conducted since 2000 at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Albert Garcia-Romeu, Ph.D. is a member of the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he studies the effects of psychedelic drugs in humans with a focus on psilocybin as an aid in the treatment of addiction. He received his doctorate in psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA where he researched self-transcendence, meditation, and altered states of consciousness.


Mushroom Dyes 4 – Projects


Excellent results from our most recent dye day.

by Erin Raymond

Happy New Year!

Now that you have mastered the mushroom dyeing process from the previous posts (part 1, 2, 3), you might be wondering what you will do with all your beautiful yarn. I have this problem too and have a tendency to hoard my yarn, waiting to come up with that ‘special’ project that I keep putting off. Since it’s a crafting time of year, I thought I would try and share some ideas of what I have done in the past with my dyed yarn.

One of the problems I have is figuring out what to do with small amounts of yarn I have dyed.  This happens a lot, especially when I am doing a dye test with a new mushroom and want to see how saturated of a color I can get.  But what do you do with 1/4 ounce of yarn?  Tapestry is a great way to use these small bits.

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Introduction to Mushrooming Class


There is still space left in both “Introduction to Mushrooming”
classes, Sat Dec 3 and Sun Dec 4! Learn about ecology, ID, edible and poisonous
lookalikes, taste some wild mushroom dishes and take home a cultivation

We won’t able to offer another one for a while, so get in while
you can! Go to and click on Events
for all of the details and to sign

You must be a PSMS member to guarantee a spot in the class.

Ben Woo All Sound Foray


Cortanarius smithii, there were at least two species of dye costs found the other being the more orange gilled Cortanarius cinnamomeus grp.  There were so many corts found though that you wonder if some other species didn’t make it to the ID table.

by Brady Raymond

photos by Brady Raymond except as noted

The Ben Woo All Sound Foray was a smashing success.  Not only did we luck out on the weather there just happened to be mushrooms everywhere.  Once turning off highway 410 onto the forest service road our eyes were greeted by mushrooms and lots of them.  There were clumps, clusters and collections all waiting to be picked by eager foray attendees trickling their way in throughout the afternoon.

Erin and I arrived a few hours early, we had some things to get around before the dye workshop she was teaching the following day.  We checked in at the registration table and to our surprise there had already been found a few Matsutake and some Cortanarius species that Erin would be able to use in her workshop.  We were very pleased by what we saw and that giddiness that all of us mushroom hunters know started to set in.

We couldn’t unload the car fast enough, I had never found a Matsutake and I figured my chances were high, especially since we had arrived early, before any competition.  We decided to check out the “Longhouse” this building would be home base for specimen ID, the cultivation workshop as well as the dye workshop.  The Longhouse was about a five minute walk from our quarters but what could have been walked in five minutes turned into a forty-five minute mushroom extravaganza.

Erin quickly spotted some dye corts then I spotted a few more, and on and on.  Erin spotted a Boletus mirabilis, then it was my turn, then another and another.  I have never seen so many of these Boletes so close and all in one day.  “This should be a fun weekend” I cried and with a bit of a childlike chuckle, “Yeah” Erin responded “Very fun.”


Buck Creek provided us a beautiful backdrop for the weekend.  There are a few mushrooms visible in this picture.  Can you spot them?

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Mushroom of the Month, Hygrocybe ‘conica’ (witch’s waxy cap)


by Danny Miller

Just in time for Hallowe’en but a day early for the November mushroom of the month, we have the classic Hallowe’en mushroom – Hygrocybe ‘conica’, the witch’s hat. I thought it would be fun to follow up last month’s colourful Leptonias with my other favourite group of colourful mushrooms., the waxy caps. Just like in Leptonia, there is something extra magical about these colourful little beauties. Not only do different species come in different bright colours like red, orange, yellow, pink, green and blue, but the texture is often like a fake mushroom made out of wax. And you will soon have success if go looking for them, as they can be very common and are much easier to find than Leptonia.

Of the dozens of common colourful waxy caps around here, I want to talk in particular about Hygrocybe ‘conica’ (perhaps more accurately called Hygrocybe singeri). Not only is it a bright red-orange-yellow that looks like it is made of wax, it is the only one that will turn black after it is touched. Wait long enough, and it might turn entirely black! Plus, it has one of the most sharply pointed caps, like a witch’s hat. This definitely qualifies it for the nickname of Hallowe’en mushroom. And when are you most likely to find it? You guessed it… right around Hallowe’en!

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Our 2016 Annual Fall Wild Mushroom Exhibit will be on October 29th and 30th. For the second year the show will be held in the cafeteria at Bellevue College, 3000 Landerholm Circle, Bellevue, WA 98007. This location is a large venue for our event, abundant free parking, and all of the exhibit is under one roof on one level! Bellevue College is close to and is easily accessible from I-90 and does not require a toll going over the I-90 Bridge from Seattle. It is also well serviced by Metro for people who prefer to ride the bus.

The exhibit will be open to the public on:

Saturday, Oct 29th: Noon – 7PM
Sunday, Oct 30th: 10AM – 5PM.

Admission fees for this event are:
Adults: $10
Full time students (with IDs): $5
Children 12 and under: free.
Tickets will be pre-sold online on our website at starting Oct 1st.

Mushroom Dyes 3- Experimenting


by Erin Raymond

Once you are comfortable with the dye process, starting to play around with changing colors is really fun and adds a whole new level of excitement when dyeing with mushrooms.  Adjusting your mushroom dyes is most commonly achieved by altering the pH.  This can be done directly in the simmering dye bath or after in a separate bath, in which case no simmering is needed.  To do this, you will need pH paper (I got mine on Amazon) and something to make your dye more alkaline or acidic.  To increase the pH, I use washing soda and to decrease the pH, I use white vinegar.  Ammonia can also be used to make an alkaline bath, but you need to be sure not to breathe in any of the vapors and the dye bath tends to become more neutral faster than with washing soda.  When using washing soda, be sure to only add 1/8th tsp at a time, checking the resulting pH.

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