The 2020 Virtual Fall Mushroom Show

By Paul Hill

We are doing the annual show! This year it is virtual. Register at the PSMS website.

I thought it would be fun to explain what it takes to put on a show and for all those members who have helped over the years, we all can relive the experience. For all those members who haven’t volunteered to help helping at the fall show is a great opportunity to get involved and meet lots of mushroom people. This is how it all happens.

In the weeks before a show, speakers are lined up, and vendors are coordinated, supplies for the show are ordered, and volunteers are lined up for everything from ticket taking, to doing demonstrations, to providing snacks for the 100+ volunteers working at the show. The challenges with any venue are that speakers need a good convenient, but separate space to give presentations.

There has to be space for vendors without sticking them down a hall where people won’t see them.

Of course the central part of the show are the many tables of mushroom displays built from mushrooms brought in by members who pick them as close to the show date as possible.

The first show way back in 1964 was in the Pacific Science Center at the Seattle Center campus just two years after the Seattle World Fair. In fact member #1 was the first director of PacSci, Dixie Lee Ray. As the years went by the show has been in a surprising number of locations. It eventually settled into where we have our monthly meetings at the Center for Urban Horticulture on the University of Washington Campus . By the early 2000’s we were out growing that.
PSMS 2013 Fall Show at the Mountaineers building . Time for a bigger venue!
Recent venues have included The Mountaineers building out on Sand Point Way; Bellevue College, our first show outside of the City of Seattle; and for 2018 and 2019 the show was at North Seattle College.

Who knew that we’d go virtual in 2020!

So much goes on behind the scenes to put on a show!

We haul tables, lamps, displays, mushroom kit supplies, books to sell, cooking demonstration supplies, and lots of other stuff from our storage.

A large amount of what we bring are the tables and mushroom trays. Some of the trays are more than 50 years old! Every now and then we have to replace a few.

The night and morning before the show opens, members bring in fresh mushrooms gathered from near and far. Some years members have to go farther than other years, but we always have something to show. As we occasionally get asked; no we do not grow the mushrooms ourselves. Most don’t take to domestication, so we have to search them out in the forest and lawns.

Friday and into Saturday, the mushrooms are sorted by genus.

Meanwhile, many trays are filed with sand ready for creating trays.

The morning before the show opens, volunteers arrange trays by genus or a few related genera.

While trays are being built all the tables and displays are assembled.

To the tables are added decorations, lights, signage, sound systems, projections, posters etc. waiting for vendors to set up, demonstration to be added, and then cooks, crafts demonstrators, helpful floor walkers, and expert identifiers to main their stations.

Coordination is essential between the head tray producer and the head tray wrangler. It is not known until late in the game how many trays of what kinds will end up getting built, because every year is different. The two of them keep an eye on how things are developing while everyone scurries around to get the trays built and onto the floor.

The experts find and label each species on each tray once it is arranged.

Tray building continues through the morning. Now, you know why we don’t open until somewhere near mid-day.

Multiple groups of volunteers help build trays while others are sorting the continuously arriving mushroom.

Once trays are built, the identifiers correct and add any last minute changes. While others haul trays into position.

Eventually, rows of trays on tables come together and signs are arranged, but often this requires moving trays between rows of tables to get the final organization.

By opening, all the mushrooms are arranged, and ready for 1000-2000 visitors to visit the show each day.

Also ready to go are setups like this mushroom-dyed yarn display and demonstration.

Here is a little know step. Once everyone goes home on Saturday, the mushroom trays are misted and covered. All those warm bodies crowded in the main room during the day heats things up and dries out the displays.

The next morning some of the trays need some refreshing. Hopefully, some members have spied a few inky caps somewhere in town to replace the deliquescing Coprinus, Coprinopsis, and Coprinellus species which have turned black or just wilted over the last twenty four hours. Other species which need replacement include large boletes which often come to the show already buggy.

On Sunday it all begins again. We open the doors for another 1000 or more visitors.

There are more cooking demonstrations.

Another day of identifying by the experts of mushrooms brought in by show attendees. The identifiers are rarely stumped.

More teams of friendly volunteers staff the show on Sunday.

Luckily Puget Sound Mycological Society is full of friendly and knowledgeable volunteers, ready to put on a show and share their knowledge and love of all things mushroom.

At the end of the second day, all the mushrooms are removed from the trays. This is trickier than you might think, because there are nails holding up the base of many mushrooms just like in flower arrangements.

All the mushrooms, all the sand, and all the forest, field, and lawn decorations are sent off to be composted.

After packing all of our equipment into a truck, all the volunteers who are still around head out for an after party for pizza and beer, but the tasks are not done.

The next day all the tables, boxes, displays, and equipment are hauled back to storage to await another PSMS Wild Mushroom Show.

The 2020 show may be in cyberspace, but expect Puget Sound Mycological Society to be back again live for another Fall Wild Mushroom Show. I don’t expect the club to miss a show no matter the obstacles in its way. After all, we’ve been doing this over and over since 1964. See you next year!

May you fill your basket with mushrooms and your soul with adventures.
-Paul Hill

Wild Mushroom Recipes 2.0

1969 PSMS cookbook - cover

by Derek Hevel

On June 17th, some of the PSMS cookbook team met for our first official cookbook potluck!  Sunny day, some fun engaged cooks, and some tasty mushroom dishes.  We met in Heather and Chris’ yard for some culinary tasting and cookbook discussions.  Our two hosts, Sarah and myself took some time to “act out the process” of making mushroom recipes, taking photos and saving recipes of prepared dishes, and tasting dishes so we will have an idea how it will go over the next year.  The four of us also got into a richer discussion about the cookbook’s content, organization, photos, and style.  We had the 1969 cookbook and some contemporary cookbooks to review for possibilities and directions, and I think we made real headway in imagining the finished cookbook itself.

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The food:

Heather’s Mushroom Pâté

Sarah’s Mushroom Potato Bake

Derek’s 6 types of Stuffed Morels

Everything was delicious!  I couldn’t ultimately tell you what went into each of my stuffed morels since the cooking process turned a bit experimental at moments, but I’ll try again with more precise measurements.  The iPhone photos I took are ok, but I’ll level up to a better camera and a proper lighting setup soon.

 If you’re a PSMS member and want to join the cookbook team, let me know!

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What to Expect on a Fiel Trip Poster:Wren

Wren Hudgins, Chair, Field Trip Guiding Committee

New PSMS members (welcome to you) or infrequent field trip attendees may have varying expectations about our field trips. Although unexpected events can and do occur, the following represents how things generally happen on our trips. First, there is a lot of good information on our website, so be sure to read that.  The website also has a link to a page called “Harvesting Rules”. It would be good to review that page in advance, relative to the locale where the field trip will take place. You will find information about permit requirements if any, harvest limits, etc.

Unless specified otherwise, no reservations are necessary for any trip. Trips are for members and considered a member benefit. On occasion in the past, we have let members bring one non-member guest, once, as sort of a free trial, to see if they like the experience enough to join. If you are in that situation, ask Brian Luther, our Field Trip Chairperson, (and Identification Chairperson as well) if it’s OK to bring a friend once. Sometimes carpools can be arranged in advance via the group email lists. Members generally arrive at the trip site between 8am and 9am.

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PSMS Monthly Meeting Tuesday, April 10th


William Padilla Brown – Fungal Fortunes


The field of mycology has never been more accessible to the public. With online forums, books from experts and workshops in almost all major cities in the U.S., we are seeing more and more ‘amateur mycologists’ contributing to our understanding of Fungi! William will be speaking on how he went from dropping out of high school to culturing wild mushrooms, starting a farm and learning how to grow Cordyceps militaris. Learn how fungi and mushrooms can be incorporated into whole system designs for the home/farm and community for food, medicine and remediation.

William Padilla-Brown had the opportunity to grow up traveling, living in England, Taiwan, Mexico, New York he now is back in his hometown of New Cumberland, PA. He is a social entrepreneur, citizen scientist, mycologist, amateur phycologist, urban shaman, poet and father to his beloved 3-year old son, Leo. Leaving high school at age 16, Will pursued a non-traditional, independent approach to learning and actively promotes alternative education. He holds Permaculture Design Certificates from Susquehanna Permaculture and NGOZI. In 2014, he established Community Compassion, a nonprofit focused on radical sustainability, based in New Cumberland, PA. In 2015 he founded MycoSymbiotics LLC – a mycological research and mushroom production business. He has raised over 30 types of mushrooms and 6 types of algae. He is driving mycological research in the areas of food production, mycoremediation and medicinal value. Will educates children and adults alike about topics ranging from nutrition to mushroom cultivation, having led workshops and various programs all over the country. Will is proud to be a contributing editor for Fungi Magazine, the foremost Mycological periodical.

Doors open at 6:30 pm at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Come early and bring any mushrooms you want identified!

PSMS Monthly Meeting

Tuesday, November 14, 2017-7:30PM

Danny Miller presents

Mushroom Prejudice,

or “You would think that, you’re human!”

Danny Miller Mushroom Prejudice

Doors open at 6:30 pm at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Come early and bring any mushrooms you want identified!

Danny’s talk will be an entertaining take on human bias in mushrooming, how wrong we’ve been when trying to figure out what’s important about a mushroom, and how the things we dismiss as irrelevant often turn out to be the most important features. It includes some of the strangest and most surprising results to come out of DNA studies lately and he will piece together a bit of the history of the evolution of mushrooms shapes.

Danny Miller is the PSMS Librarian, Education Chair and one of Brian Luther’s ID Committee members and an emergency poisoning point person for King County Washington Poison Control. Danny also belongs to the PNW Key Council, a group of amateur and professional mycologists and is a co-author of MatchMaker with Ian Gibson, the free PNW mushroom ID program for the PC and MAC. He has a big interest in taxonomy and figuring out where all of the mushrooms fit into the fungal tree of life.

Dyeing to Cross the Rainbow Bridge

AA DyeTuesday, September 12th- 7:30PM

 Monthly Meeting

Doors open at 6:30 pm at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Come early and bring any mushrooms you want identified!

It has been nearly 50 years since the first publication on using wild mushrooms to produce dyes for textiles. What started as a curious discovery by a natural dyer caught like wildfire through the 1970’s but then smoldered for another 20 years… until the dawn of social media. Alissa Allen will take us on a journey through the past, present and future of mushroom dyeing. She is an avowed mushroom missionary, spreading enthusiasm for mycology by enticing unsuspecting fiber enthusiasts to the darkest corners of the forest, in quest for color. On this journey, curious adventurers can’t help but be enchanted by the colorful and charismatic fungi along the way, and become entangled in the web of mycology. You will see magical transformation of color born from seemingly mundane mushrooms and learn new ways to illuminate the hidden spectrum found in your own fungal wonderland. Whether you are a fiber artist, a forager or a citizen scientist, mushroom dyes can work for you.

Alissa Allen is an amateur mycologist and the founder of Mycopigments. She specializes in teaching about regional mushroom and lichen dye palettes to fiber artists and mushroom enthusiasts all over the country. Alissa got her start right here at PSMS in 1999 and has been sharing her passion for mushrooms for over 15 years. She has written articles for her website as well as Fungi Magazine and Fibershed. In 2015 she created the Mushroom and Lichen Dyers United discussion group and The Mushroom Dyers Trading Post. These groups have grown into a community of over 5000 members. Alissa uses brilliant colors found in mushroom dyes to entice people to take a closer look at mushrooms and their relationship within the ecosystem. To read more about her work, visit

Lichen Tuesdays!


by Kim Traverse, PSMS  President

Lichen study might pass for exoteric if it weren’t that lichens are almost everywhere- on the sidewalks and streets we use daily, on the walls and trunks of trees that we walk past, clinging to the branches of those trees and on shrubs. From the shore to the top of mountain peaks, lichens coat the rocks and sometimes cover the ground. They are part of every ecosystem except the deep sea and can live in the harshest places on the planet- the driest, the coldest, the hottest- at least one grows underwater.

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Don’t forget to check out the Union Bay Natural Area just behind The Center for Urban Horticulture, also known as the Montlake Fill.  A great place for a stroll with the family, make sure to bring your binoculars as it is one of Seattle’s best birding hotspots.

For more info check out their website, Union Bay Natural Area

PSMS Bridle Trails Funga Survey

Gallerina vittiformis BTSP DW Ms

Gallerina vittiformis

by Brady Raymond

photos by Daniel Winkler

The Bridle Trails Survey is underway and shaping up to be a unique opportunity, not only to hone your mushroom identification skills, but also to participate in a bit of citizen science to better understand our region’s funga.  The two main goals for this project are to hopefully christen the next generation of mushroom identifiers and to preserve specimens for the herbarium.

A lot of work has to be done before this project can fully take flight, this includes creating a custom voucher sheet for the study as well as a system for filing of specimens.  Linking all the data to specimen photographs and making it available online needs to be figured out as well.  Creating a curriculum and a way of testing knowledge is also important in churning out the next generation of identifiers.

Heterotextus alpinus BTSP DW Ms

Heterotextus alpinus

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