Where to Start, Tips and Tools for Learning Mushrooms

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Just as I suspected…

by Brady Raymond

Learning mushrooms can be a frustrating experience, unless of course you have a photographic memory and hours of free time to devote to studying texts and spending time in the field.  Remember, not even the experts always agree on the expert stuff and there will always be more to learn.  If your interests are beyond finding some basic edible species you will no doubt start on a lifelong  journey of trying to figure these gosh darned things out.  Good luck, so are a lot of other people.  Much progress has been made since humans started documenting the different types of fungi they have found but it almost seems like wasted time as every advancement in science always inevitably disregards the old in favor of the new.  Certainly, we pay homage to the work of those done before us but invariably with a snicker and a grin, “If only they knew what we know now.”  But, what we know now will one day be what was known and still not up to snuff as time rolls on, all the while mushrooms are changing and adapting to new environments, constantly staying a step or two ahead of any attempt we make in really figuring them out once and for all.

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4000ft. Morels

 

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New PSMS members Mike and Alyssa’s first morel find.

by Brady Raymond

PSMS held it’s second field trip of the year on 5-7-16 in the greater Cle Elum area.  It was a well attended affair and there were no complaints in the weather department.  We looked around a few miles out from the meet up place and although conditions seemed perfect we found no morels and not much else of the fungal persuasion.  Erin and I were out this way a couple weeks earlier and things were for the most part the same, conditions were good but little to no mushrooms.  This all took place in the elevation range of  2200-2700ft.

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Mushroom of the Month – Morchella sp. (Morels)

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Morcella tomentosa

by Danny Miller

This month’s Mushroom of the Month is one that is probably already on everybody’s mind… the Morel!

Mushroom hunting comes in two seasons here in the Pacific Northwest, spring and fall. Most of our mushrooms prefer the fall, it is the bigger of the two seasons, but spring is the time to hunt for many people’s favourite mushroom, the morel!

Morels are great to hunt for, because they are pretty easy to learn to identify, unlike the hundreds of common gilled mushrooms that all seem to look alike. Make sure you learn the colour and shape of the true morel, though, as some people confuse them with the deadly poisonous Gyromitra esculenta and G. infula, which usually look more like a brain or a saddle on a stick, respectively. Even closer looking is Verpa bohemica. A Verpa, however, does not have the bottom of its cap attached to the stem, but a true morel does. A Verpa also has a stuffed stem, but a morel stem is hollow.

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