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.
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.
Thanks to Sweta Agrawal for sharing some snapshots of her success this season finding the “Spring King.” Persistence is key when trying to locate this mushroom. It seems that you have to check your spots regularly and catch them just at the right moment if you want to have any real success.
Keeping things simple like the salad pictured above is a great way to enjoy the more subtle flavors of this enigmatic mushroom. On the other hand, you can get quite decadent. If you were lucky enough to find as plentiful of patches as Sweta you can try all sorts of recipes.
Having not found any Boletus rex-veris myself I can’t comment much on distinguishing features. I have a feeling though, that if you have found Boletus edulis in the fall and saw one of these Ceps during spring growing in front of you, alarms would sound and the hunt would be on. Names and seasons aside a Porcini is a Porcini.
Some specimens grow quite large and will be enough for a few meals. But remember, the more you pick the more you’ll have to clean. Always clean your mushrooms in the field as best possible. Doing so makes kitchen chores much more enjoyable. Also, make sure to check for bugs in the field by cutting your mushrooms in half. Remove buggy areas immediately. The bugs will continue eating the mushroom, even after being picked and wreak havoc after a long ride home from the mountains.
If you didn’t find any Spring Kings don’t fret yet. The season is not over for Boletes and Boletus edulis the fall cousin of Boletus rex-veris will be fruiting later this year. So read up and scout some locations while out hiking this summer.
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:
Full time students (with IDs): $5
Children 12 and under: free.
Tickets will be pre-sold online on our website at http://www.psms.org starting Oct 1st.
Morel season has started in the PNW! Check out this cool timelapse video of growing morels.
Thanks to the excessive amounts of moisture on the west side of the Cascades, Washington is a great place to find and learn about lichens. Many might not realize that lichens are fungi, but they are! In fact, lichens are the product of a symbiotic relationship between a fungi and green algae and/or cyanobacteria. The fungi provides a home and protection, while the “green stuff” provides nutrients via photosynthesis.
Today we’ll be talking about one particular local lichen, Lobaria pulmonaria.
Lobaria pulmonaria (left) next to one of its common look-alikes, Lobaria oregana (right). L. pulmonaria has much smoother edges and is not so white on its underside.