Mushrooming Motivation

by Paul Hill

In early November when you think season for the Golden Chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus) may be winding down, what other mushrooms are there to find?  As we head closer to winter, the edibles become less common, but once you start looking you will see there are still many species out there.   Maybe you won’t find gourmet edibles all year round, but that might not stop you from enjoying the hobby of mushrooming.

There are many variations of mushroomers out there.  Myself, I love to take photographs of mushrooms.  When after the late summer and fall Boletes have faded, I am content with finding the curious, weird, and unusual mushrooms, including finding mushrooms in urban and suburban areas.

Another group of mushroom hunters sometimes found in parks of Washington and Oregon are the folks who found their way into mushrooming because they want to find the “magic mushrooms”.  Those are the little brown mushrooms which contain psilocybin, an hallucinogenic or psychedelic compound.  Mushrooming has a challenge in store for those looking for these mushrooms; making sure you have the right mushrooms requires learning technical features of mushrooms, because there are many little brown mushrooms growing in the Pacific Northwest in late fall and early winter – many more than are hallucinogenic.  Some of them are best identified by characteristics like having a peelable

LBMs in a Seattle Park

A least four Little Brown Mushroom species are in this photo.  There are so many LBMs to find!

 

pellicle and having a blue bruising reaction.  If you don’t know what a pellicle is, you might not  be sure you had a Liberty Cap (Psilocybe semilanceata).  Knowing what is meant by various descriptive features is important, because there are a dizzying array of other little brown (and gray) mushrooms that grow in the same areas.

Identifying a Golden Chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus) is easier and certainly safer.  Those short gills, often called “ridges”, “veins” etc., because they are so short compared to most gills; along with the color; distinct silhouette; and a certain string cheese-like texture to the flesh is about all you need to separate the Chanterelles from anything else.  The one thing you learn about the popular edibles is that the ease of identifying helps to make them popular.

Golden Chanterelle

A Golden Chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus) in the Cascade Mountains of Washington.

Sometimes the non-edibles catch my eye.  Here are some photos taken in November 2018. Here are some other picturesque mushrooms you might find in late fall in our area.

Witches Cap (Hygrocybe singeri) in Seattle

A colorful Witches Cap (Hygrocybe singeri) in Seattle in November

A Black Earth Tongue (Geoglossum umbratile)

A Black Earth Tongue (Geoglossum umbratile) in moss in Seattle.

Candlestick Fungus (Xylaria hypoxylon)

Candlestick Fungus (Xylaria hypoxylon) Curious white spores on black stems looking like a group of sticks. You might not think they are even a fungus.

reddish cap, widely-spaced gills, with a thick layer of clear slime on the long stipe (stem).

A Spike-cap (Gomphidius species) with its stipe covered in slime. Can you believe this is not the species Gomphidius glutinosus? There are even slimier species.

Fall has Fallen: Chanterelles are Popping!

Wow!  What a difference a few weeks make.

A month ago the talk was about anticipating the coming autumn mushroom season and the hope it wouldn’t be as bad as last year.   On September 8th, Seattle’s own celebrity weather professor, Dr. Cliff Mass, said “Take out your sweaters and rain gear”.  I don’t know about you, but I think I missed that transition until a few days later when we had a few days of overcast and even a little drizzle. I didn’t get my hopes up, because after some overcast and even a bit of drizzle we got just as many sunny days. Soon the overcast and occasional drizzle was more typical than not and we seemed to be settling into a nice damp Pacific Northwest autumn. Continue reading

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!

dfhevel@gmail.com

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Morel Hunting In Washington

 

Mt. 1

Oh, the glory.

 

by Brady Raymond

What will be the outcome for the “Spring 2018 Washington Mushroom Season?”  Only the future knows.  However, I know that I’m finding Morels at various elevations.  I also know that I’m loving every second of it.  I worry a little that the weather is going to get too hot too quick and before we know it the season will be over.  I cast these thoughts aside though, and I focus on the task at hand, which is quite simple, “To find as many Morels as I can.”

So far, the pickings have been a little slim for me, but what I have found has been thoroughly enjoyed.  I’ve seen a few other folks while out and only one looked to have a bag with very much in it, so I don’t think I’m doing too bad.  The two times I have been out this season We’ve collected enough to feed three for both breakfast and dinner.  These are meager pickings comparatively speaking but, one has to be thankful for anything Mother Nature is willing to offer up.

 

2018 Morel Breakfast

Even the simplest of meals is awesome cooked over campfire coals, especially breakfast.

 

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Winter Into Spring

 

Hyphloma?

If you want to learn about mushrooms gather round for Brian’s table tours at PSMS field trips.

by Brady Raymond

Morels are here, and that means it’s time to gear up and head out.  I have reports of landscape Morels being found in the Puget Sound lowlands and as warmer weather moves in we can start moving up into the mountains.  Landscape Morels are good but mountain Morels are better and probably cleaner too.  Make sure if you find landscape Morels to be discerning when picking them for the table.  Many urban landscapes are fouled with pesticides and other harmful contaminants, caution is urged when collecting near human populations.  If you are lucky enough to spot some locale landscape Morels count it as a good omen for the rest of the season.

Spring also means the beginning of the 2018 PSMS field trip season.  If you’ve been on field trips in the past you probably already know that it is one of the best ways to learn about mushrooms and if you haven’t been on a field trip let me reiterate, it is one of the best ways to learn about mushrooms.  There is no substitute for getting out in the woods and finding mushrooms first hand, taking in all of the peripheral clues and of course having access to one of PSMS’s most valuable resources, Brian Luther.

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PSMS Monthly Meeting

Tuesday, January 9th  7:30pm

Greg Hovander Presents

Central Cascades Romp Through Mushrooms

Greg-Hovander

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

This stunning photographic presentation by mycologist, mountaineer, and naturalist Greg Hovander will present the diversity of wild mushrooms gracing the most pulchritudinous plethora of peaks in the Central Cascades between Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass, Washington. He will emphasize edible species and attempt to sharpen identification skills for the astute forager. You will accompany him through strenuous wilderness few people have ever been, up and down mountains east side of the Cascade crest in a circuitous route to properly capture the essence of one of the most beautiful real estates on Earth with its myriad of mushrooms, plants, and wildlife used to sustain him in his endeavor. If the audience looks trustworthy, he will share some of his concocted recipes for wilderness “thrival” before publishing them.

Greg Hovander is a native of Washington, living in Sultan, WA with his wife, working as the owner pharmacist of a small, independent pharmacy, Sultan Pharmacy & Natural Care, where he cares for patients in old-fashioned ways, including the identification of wild mushrooms and plants, use of natural products, and preparation of prescriptions. At age 70, he remains active climbing mountains, studying the wonders of nature, and sharing his enthusiasm for life with now countless audiences. Greg began his lifelong pursuit of mushrooms at the UW School of Pharmacy when offered a research job with radioisotopes for elucidating metabolic pathways utilized by certain mushrooms in producing mind-altering substances. He was the founder of the Skykomish Valley Mycological Society, and currently is a member of the Snohomish County Mycological Society and the Pacific Northwest Key Council.

Happy New Year!

Morel 2 5-13-17

Wow, it’s 2018!  That means we can move on from the dismal fall season of 2017 and start getting our heads right for the 2018 spring season.  And as we all know spring means, Morels.

Morels mean good times and great eating.  I can’t wait.

Ben Woo 2

Ben Woo Waterfall 2017 Banner

by Brady Raymond

“Things are looking good” and “Things are good” are two very different statements.  As I stepped out of the car this year at the 2017 Ben Woo Memorial Foray my heart was filled with excitement.  My brain, on the other hand, was much more suspicious of what awaited us in the forests skirting Mt. Rainier this year.

“What’s the scoop?”  I asked Milton who was nearby as I hopped out of the car.

“Not good.”  He replied.

My heart sank a bit, surely there had to be something.  Once all the attendees arrive we’re bound to find mushrooms.  Over a hundred sets of eyes will be searching these woods, zigzagging and crisscrossing each others path.  My heart lifted a bit at the thought, but then froze as a few flakes of snow started to fall.  It’s just not the year I guess, not like last year, at the Ben Woo All Sound Foray.

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“Lepiota exudate”

 

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The stems in the specimens at center and the caps in the specimens at left have changed color where the droplets were located before drying.

by Jeff Stallman

On a West Coast road trip in the summer of 2012, California was in the middle of one of its now-famous droughts. In dry Yosemite Valley, I joined a ranger-led walk to hear about the natural history of the area. Enjoying learning about unfamiliar trees and mammals, I was surprised when we happened along a large fruiting of chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sp.). Although the brown grass crinkled beneath our feet and many annual flowers were already deflated by the mid-summer heat, this fungus was fresh and covered with water droplets, nearly to the point where it was dripping on the ground.

This had always impressed me, and I occasionally shared the experience with others as one of those “aren’t fungi interesting and unexpected” stories, but did not think much of it again until years later when hunting in Hawaiʻi.

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