Urban Fungi



It’s hard to miss the showy bright red fruitings of Amanita muscaria, many other species are demure in comparison, yet are interesting and beautiful in their own right.

by Brady Raymond

In the hustle and bustle of urban living an often unnoticed world exits on the ground amongst the duff and high on branch and tree.  As other forms of life are winding down for the season many species of fungi begin to stir.  Dormant through the hot dry months of summer, the fall rains bring forth a variety of mushrooms in many forms, shapes and colors.  It is easy for the new mushroom hunter to get discouraged when hearing fantastic tails of bucket loads of edibles found on faraway mountain slopes, especially if they lack the means to get to these mushroom wonderlands.  Yet opportunity abounds in our urban environment for someone who wants to hone their skill in photography, identification and just simply finding these things.

In Seattle the obvious place to look would be any of the cities many parks, large or small there is plenty to be found.  Remember though, in the city of Seattle it is illegal to pick mushrooms or otherwise remove them from the parks; this goes for plants, rocks and pretty much anything.  I wonder though, how hard they would come down on you with shoes full of sand from a day at Golden Gardens tromping around on the beach, or a twig caught in your hair from a hike through the trails.  Aside from city parks there are lots of places to look for mushrooms like people’s yards (with permission of course), plantings in parking lots and pretty much anywhere else you could think of that may harbor a fungal find.  There are many micro-environments in the city to explore, and many different species in those environment to be found.  Keep your eyes peeled, a great photo could literally be just around the corner.

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