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Bolivian Amazon Fungi - Best of the Day

Here a few images taken during Mushroaming Bolivia in February 2017 in Madidi National Park.
There is another blog entry for the "Amazon Fungi Late Night Show" that shows bioluminescent, stinkhorns and UV light lichens. ENJOY!!


My favorite Xylaria, the Rubied Xylaria globosa.

Annulohypxylon sp.,Xylariaceae, Bolivian Amazon
Annulohypxylon sp., a member of the Xylariaceae. This patch has a diameter of about 5cm, thus the central structure showing the perithecia is easily overseen unless one looks out for these otherwise boring looking black spots on fallen branches and trees.

Clitocybula azurea
A group of very young Clitocybula azurea. With age the blue color of these shade loving wood decayers looses intensity.

Cookeina_tricholoma
Hairy Jungle cups - Cookeina tricholoma Cookeina tricholoma

Leptonia_calliderma group Amazon
Entoloma (Leptonia) callidermum group, a pink sporing forest jewel.

Clavulinopsis fusiformis-Golden Spindles Amazon
Clavulinopsis fusiformis, the Golden Spindles. A gracious mushrooms always fun to find, but often encountered with disappointment, since the first thought when seeing them from the distance is "Cordyceps!", which they are not, but still cool.


What a cool slime mold! These green lampshades are just awesome!

Physarella_oblongaPhysarella oblonga, growing from an old conk. 


Tetrapyrgos nigripes, Blackfoot Parachute or at least very similar to it. However, most of the times I found Tetrapyrgos nigripes (a.k.a. Marasmius nigripes) on decaying wood and not on leaves.

 Gymnopus / Marasmius sp branching horsehair Marasmius
Check out the odd stem structure of these branching Horsehair Parachutes. In the past they would have been close to Marasmius androsaceus, which now is Gymnopus androsaceus.

Well, what do we have here? Xeromphelina tenuipes is quickly invoked due to the hairy "slender-foot" (=tenuipes) and the big, but thin yellow caps. However, we found three distinct mushrooms that look very similar, all growing on dead wood A clear difference beside tones of red and brown in the yellow caps was the different amount of lamelullas, the gills that do not reach all the way from the cap edge to the center. 


What colors and what a cool structure. Probably Metacordyceps martialis (=Metarhizium martialis) on scarab or dung beetle. Found by Kathy Macbride at Cero de Brujo near Rurrenabaque. 
I will publish a special Cordyceps page on my Cordyceps-blog. Tatiana and I found 45 species of Cordyceps this trip! Several of them pretty sure new to science! 

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis group, the Zombie ant. A tiny ant with a big fungus growing from its neck.

Marasmius_haematocephalus
Marasmius haematocephalus, the Mauve Pinwheel. I can not help myself but have to take a dozen picture sof this mushrooms each time in the rain forest.

Polyporus_udus
Polyporus udus, a big (up to 20cm) softish polypore, that looks a bit like a bolete and also taste a bit like boletes! One of the best edibles I found so far in the Amazon, but I have not eaten more than maybe a dozen of Amazon mushrooms species. There is enough adventure to be had in the forest, and really no point going out on a  dangerous culinary limp. Polyporus udus is always growing from dead wood, often relatively fresh fallen trees, whose big branches are still attached to the trunk. To my knowledge there are no look a-likes of this size and and with such a soft, like water-logged texture. Actually "udus" is Latin and means "wet". 

Fungus beetle
A Fungus beetle feeding on its favorite food as its name suggests!


Not sure what I shot there. Seeing it a leaf it was cool, glad it did not land on exposed skin of mine, that blood red color reminds me of blood I donated to plenty of thirsty bugs in the rainforest, though this insect is probably harmless. 

Coral Snake Micrurus lemniscatus?
Not so harmless is this Coral Snake, probably a "South American Coral Snake" (Micrurus lemniscatus), which is deadly poisonous, but luckily not aggressive at all. When humans approach this snake digs its head underground and shows his body as warning.

All the cuter animals such as monkeys, peccaries, tapirs, hoatzins, macaws etc. will appear here later.

 

 

Last edited Sat, 03/25/2017 - 00:01

Amazon Fungi - The Late Night Show

- Next Mushroaming adventure in South America : Colombia - From the Andes to the Caribbean Coast -Sep. 24 to Oct.5, 2017 -

While it is much more comfy to stay in your mosquito secured quarters during the night in the Amazon, you are missing out on all kinds of very impressive sights. Down below my favorites from the February 2017 Mushroaming Bolivia trip. All the photos were taken in Chalalan Eco-lodge (unless noted) located in the incredible Madidi National Park. There is another blog entry for The best of the Day encounters. ENJOY


Phallus indusiatus, the "Veiled stinkhorn", but I like to refer to it as the "Cross-dressing stinkhorn".
Usually we small it before we see it. It fruits only in the dark, in the morning most are laying flaccid on the ground. During our night walks we keep sniffing for it and once we smell one we have good chance of finding it, but it sometime stakes as 10 min to locate it, and sometimes we give up.

Phallus indusiatus UV light
Phallus indusiatus seen from above with UV light. Not that such a cool mushroom need such a gimmick, but still nicely spooky. And since you can not smell its impressive odor that its oozes out to attract feces and cadaver loving insects, we have to settle for optic tricks. Anyway the odor is much closer to moth balls, not pleasant for sure, but nowhere near to feces, but intense for sure!

 Gerronema bioluminescent
A bioluminescent Gerronema, probably Gerronema viridilucens, which translates to "shining green".


The same group of Gerronema seen with a flash after I had removed a few broken mushrooms. Seen in Madidi Jungle Lodge

Gerronema bioluminescent in daylight
We found a fallen tree covered by hundreds of Gerronema viridilucens. At this point I was not sure if these were bioluminescent, but that abundant fruiting alone caught my eye.

Gerronema bioluminescent Amazon Bolivia
At night the whole trunk was lit up. At first I thought there was a beam of moonshine. What a sight!  It was an awesome experience sharing this sight with our native guides, who explore the rainforest every day, but had no idea that these mushrooms were glowing at night. It really blew their minds.
The light was less powerful than what bioluminescent Mycena chlorophos emanated in Japan (see previous entry). Taking a picture was a challenge. I am not really happy with my image, but it was the best I could take. It was exposed for nearly 7 minutes, nearly 15 times longer than what it took for M. chlorophos. In addition, my camera took another 5 minutes before it was done processing the image. So 4 images per hour is pretty pathetic, especially when you are standing alone at night in the rainforest while being swarmed by blood sucking insects and all kinds of creepy critters on the move, such as bullet ants. 

Gerronema yellow Amazon
Another beautiful Gerronema sp., most likely not bioluminescent. 

hatching Cicada wings uncurling
A cicada just emerging. I love the rainbow of colors!

 


Same cicada just a few minutes later.

 lichen under UV light
These lichens display incredible colors when exposed to UV light. The left image photographed with a flash shows the same lichens as the image on the right, which is lit up by UV light. But not every UV light will do. You need a frequency below 370 nm (= nano meters).  Most regular UV lights do nothing, as I learned in 2015 when these barks remained more or less gray... 

translucent alien Orchid flower
Not really a creature of the night, but this translucent alien-looking orchid flower fits the theme. Originally this tiny flower (less than 1.5 cm / 1/2 in) was growing on a moss covered fallen tree, you still can see the moss on its base, but we collected it and I posed it for a picture.

 

- Next Mushroaming adventure in South America : Colombia - From the Andes to the Caribbean Coast -Sep. 24 to Oct.5, 2017 -

Last edited Wed, 03/29/2017 - 13:45

Bioluminescent Fungi

Returning home from Mushroaming Tibet, I made a dream come true. For years I have been looking for bioluminescent mushrooms in the Amazon, but mostly we just found bio-luminescent mycelia and once we found a bunch of little Mycena on a log, but the insects had already munched most of the caps and it was a rather sad scene. Anyway, in early August I stopped by in Japan to hunt for bio-luminescent fungi. Although June, I found out later, would have been better timing - the mushrooms react enthusiastically to the first phase of the summer monsoon rains - still I got lucky. A typhoon messed quite a bit with the logistics and the mushrooms, the intense winds dry them out, but in the end I am very happy with what I experienced and quite alright with what I managed to photograph. 

In the dark of night finding these glowing jewels is an indescribable feeling!
I admire and love mushrooms, but
 the feeling sitting in the dark with these light-emanating mushrooms is really awe inspiring.
They quietly radiate a mysterious and impressive energy.


A group of the glowing Mycena chlorophos growing from a palm frond.
(Note the automated image sequencing by watching a couple seconds)


The 
gills emanate the most bioluminescence. Mycena chlorophos stems do not have light emanating cells and the tissue of the cap itself is so thin that the relatively thick gills are much brighter. 
However, the mycelium is also bioluminescent - see below, but is too dim to compete with the bright caps, which are extremely viscid.

   
The darker image of the Mycena chlorophos was exposed for 15 seconds with an ISO 1000 and aperture F4. The second image is slightly lit with indirect light of a LED flash light (Note the automated image sequencing). 

bioluminescent Mycena chlorophos
Mycena chlorophos (Berk. & M.A. Curtis) Sacc.was first described in 1860 from material collected in the subtropical and tropical Bonin Islands, Japan,
as part of the U.S. North Pacific Exploring Expedition (1853–1856) under Commanders Ringgold and Rodgers (after Desjardin et al. 2010). 

bioluminescent Mycena chlorophos
Bio-luminescent cap and gills of Mycena chlorophos. This Mycena is a saprobic mushroom, meaning it lives of digesting wood. Bio-luminescence lasts under normal conditions for about 3 days.

 
Favolaschia peziziformis
Favolaschias are also wood decayers. And as all bio-luminescent mushrooms they are white rot fungi, which break down the lignin in wood.
It is speculated that in the enzymatic process of breaking down lignin bioluminescence could be a by-product.
 
 

Tiny Favolaschia peziziformis growing on a palm frond. The first photo is taken with a the built-in flash, the second is a composite image of several 30 second exposures (Note the automated image sequencing by watching a couple seconds). 
 


The bright spots are primordia, "fungal buds" where mushroom fruiting bodies might grow very soon when temperature and humidity are right.
 
Two branches with bioluminescent mycelia. 
Below the two branches photographed with flash.
 
The auto-focus apparently aimed at the palm trees in the back, but the two branches leaning against the trunk of a palm are clearly visible.
However, the photo also shows that mycelia are active in a dead palm fonds in the back top right corner.

 
Mycena chlorophos bio-lumiescent fungi
Mycena chlorophos growing out of a palm frond. Note the typical basal disc and the primordium, the bud of a growing fruiting body.
 
Link to my Mushroaming blog page showing the Cordyceps specimens I found while in Hachijo Jima
 
Acknowledgements
Special thanks to my friend Ikuko Okuyama who helped me make my dream come true and Steve Huysman for being a very supportive travel buddy.

Sources

Desjardin DE, Oliveira AG, Stevani CV. 2008. Fungi bioluminescence revisited. In: Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences 7(2): 170-182. 
Desjardin, Dennis E.; Brian A. Perry ; D. Jean Lodge; Cassius V. Stevani; Eiji Nagasawa 2010. Luminescent Mycena: new and noteworthy species. In: Mycologia 102.2, p. 459-477.

Interesting link:

LiveScience.com: Behind the Scenes: Freaky Fungi Glow in the Dark

First uploaded: August 28, 2016
bioluminescence bioluminescent bio-luminescence bio-luminescent tbioluminiscencia bioluminiscent bioluminiscente bioluminiscentes chlorophanos chlorophos foxfire fungi fungus glow glowing green  hongos luminescent mesófilo mesófilo mushroom mushrooms mycena mycenaceae mycenachlorophanos phosphorescent
 
 
 
Last edited Sun, 03/26/2017 - 14:20

Gyromitra californica

During a hike along gorgeous Boulder Creek in old growth forest not too far West of Darrington WA we found these beautiful ascos, Gyromitra californica aka Pseudorhizina californica. These Umbrella False Morels or California False Morels were growing along small creeks feeding into Boulder Creek in stands of Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) and some true firs (Abies sp.) in about 750 ft above sea level. I was fascinated by their structure, especially their stem ribs and how they shaped the cap and the purplish stem base.

I could not find any information if anyone had previously tested it for edibility. Raw they should be toxic like many ascos, i.e morels (Morchella spp.). The question is, are they as toxic as some of their close relatives in the Gyromitra genus, like the European Gyromitra esculenta, which can be deadly when eaten raw due to its gyromitrin content, a water-soluble hydrazine compound hydrolyzed in the body into monomethylhydrazine (MMH), a cancerogenous compound used in rocket fuel. Also poisonings happen when inhaling its off-gassing MMH while cooking or eating it seriously undercooked. 

Now, why would anyone in their right mind ask, are these Gyromitra californica fine to eat when cooked properly? Well, Gyromitra esculenta is very popular in Finland and Finish mushroom connoisseurs insist it is only a question of proper preparation. Furthermore, there are plenty of people who eat Gyromitra in North America, but some still get sick, see the detailed NAMA report by Beug et al. (2006) on mushroom poisoning in North America from the last 30 years. And in Western North America poisonings are even rarer.

Furthermore, taxonomically speaking Gyromitra californica is located in a clade with Ps. sphaerospora that seems not to contain Gyromitrin or very small doses. However, there is no conclusive data available. It is very hard to measure a volatile compound from an organism collected in teh wild that needs some time making it to a lab. Anyway, so far there are no poisoning reports in the NAMA database regarding Gyromitra californica, but that does not mean they did not happen. Dr. Michael Beug who keeps track of poisonings for NAMA does not recommend trying it out, which seems sound advice.

Anyway, I ate at first a tiny amount I had cooked very well and really enjoyed it, actually more than expected, nutty taste and a good chewy consistency. And my liver did not complain, not that one can feel short term liver trouble. I ate a few of them three days later, well cooked again and it has been 48 hours since I wrote this. However, I am done with that, it is just not worth my precious organs and I have less questionable mushrooms in the freezer I can enjoy. If you have had experiences with this mushrooms I am curious to hear about that, but I do not want to encourage anyone to try them out.

Gyromitra Pseudorhizina californica Umbrella False Morel
Umbrella False Morel or California False Morel, note the widely spaced ribs that extend into the underside of the cap.

Pseuorhiza Gyromitra californica 

Gyromitra californica

References:

Beug, Michael W. 2014. Gyromitras, Which one is it and Can I Eat It? In: The Mycophile vol. 54.2, p.16-18, 20.

Michael W. Beug, Marilyn Shaw, and Kenneth W. Cochran. 2006. Thirty plus Years of Mushroom Poisoning: Summary of the Approximately 2,000 Reports in the NAMA Case Registry. From summary athttp://www.namyco.org/toxicology/tox_report_30year.html

Last edited Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:33

Mushrooms found in the Carolinas 2015

In late September 2015 I traveled to the Carolinas to part take in the annual NAMA foray held in Asheville NC. I also visited my mushroom friends Todd Elliott in Union Mills NC and Tradd & Olga Cotter of Mushroom Mountain, Liberty SC who took the time to take me out in the woods for mushroom hunting. Unfortunately I got to the Carolinas at the end of a extended dry spell that was followed by intense rains and flooding. Still we ran into abunch of interesting and beautiful mushrooms, some of them easily overseen when the forest are full of mushrooms. The Cordyceps found on that trip have their own entry in my Cordyceps blog.

Pseudocolus fusiformis Asheville NC
Pseudocolus fusiformis, an introduced stinkhorn gone wild in Eastern North America,  Asheville NC. I grew this stinkhorn from the "egg" I found two days before fruiting.
I try to retain as much rhizomorph as possible when digging out and place the egg carefully in soaked paper towel/ toilet paper in a plastic water bottle whose neck I cut off. This way i fruited about 4 species of stinkhorns while traveling, success rate about 70%.

Cantharellus cinnabarinus Asheville
Cantharellus cinnabarinus, the Cinnabar Chanterelle, a beautiful edible seen near Asheville, NC.


Marasmius nicely lined up on the mid rib of a leaf. Seen near Asheville NC. 


What an attractive Phlebia
Wow, I never thought I would utter "attractive" and "Phlebia" in the same sentence! Anyway, Phlebia incarnata has a great color and check out the cool hymenium structure. Seen in Union Mills, NC.


Stereum sp. soaked by the rain. What a special pleasure, getting soaked to the bone in a forest that had been deprived of rain for many weeks.

 
Scleroderma polyrhizum, Dead man's hand or Star earth ball, could be mistaken for Earth stars (Geastrum et al.). Especially these specimens that still hold their dusty gleba in the center, a rare occurrence only to be observed in long draught periods, otherwise a drop of rain will destroy the gleba ball. Seen near Asheville NC.


Fellow fungal enthusiasts Todd Elliott and Camille Truong marveling at Scleroderma polyrhizum.


A very young Hericium coralloides, the Coral Lion's Man, a great tasting wood decayer.


Hericium americanum, a beautiful lion's mane, cultivated in the woods of Mushroom Mountain. It is a great edible with gorgeous structure.


Black fruiting bodies of Xylaria magnoliae growing from the black seed of a Magnolia seen in Union Mills, NC. Some Xylaria-species are very host specific, others like the very common Xylaria hypoxylon, known as Carbon antlers or Stag's horn fungus has a very wide range of host, all kind of decaying wood. 


Annulohypoxolon sp.,
a Xylaria relative growing on a downed hardwood in Asheville NC. 


An oyster mushroom (Pleurotus sp.) under attack by an slime mold.


Here a close up of the same slime mold action that nearly finished up digesting the oyster mushroom. It is probably Physarum polycephalum. but there is a slight chance it could be Badhamia utricularis.
 I love these supply chain veins! When I see them, to quote Lou Reed: "Then I tell you things aren't quite the same".


Possibly Cantharellus lateritius, the  Smooth Chanterelle  encountered in Union Mills NC. Often the hymenium is smooth and in age shallow gill-like folds develop.  


A Cortinarius, whose rust brown spores are caught by the sticky remnants of the spider web like partial veil.

 
Trichaptum biforme, the Violet toothed polypore, is a beautiful hardwood decayer showing its typical purple edges of young tissue.
 


Entoloma abortiva, an edible, but strange mushroom. It is not always clear if it is an Entoloma parasitizing a member of the honey mushrooms (Armillaria mellea gr.) or vice versa.


Hygrophorus russula, a waxgill that looks a lot like a Brittle gill (Russula). With age the gills turn red. The red oozing is caused by insect activity. In Tibet and Bhutan a mushroom with the same name is eaten frequently.

 


A wasp killed by the insect parasitizing fungus Ophiocordyceps sphecocephala. Out of the thorax grows the base of the stroma, the fungal fruiting body. The whole insect-fungus complex and many other Cordyceps images are uploaded at my Cordyceps and allies seen in the Carolinas blog entry.

Last edited Tue, 03/01/2016 - 18:31

NAMA Photo Contest

2014 North American Mycological Association photo contest

The contest has three categories: Documentary, Pictorial and Judge's opinion

Here my winning submisisons

 Ophiocordyceps blattae on Blattaria cockroach
Documentary - First place:: Ophiocordyceps blattae on Blattaria cockroach photographed in the Bolivian Amazon 

Lepiota rubrotincta group
Third place: Lepiota rubrotincta / Leucoagaricus rubrotinctus group seen in Chicaque, Colombia


Honorable mentionXerocomellus (Boletus) zelleri, San Leandro CA

Pictorial :

1st Place: Xeromphalina species with ghost fungus primordium seen Mushroaming in the Bolivian Amazon

Phallus indusiatus Dictiophora indusiata Amazon Bolivia Veiled Stinkhorn Schleierdame
2nd Place: Veiled Stinkhorn Phallus indusiatus (Dictiophora indusiata) seen in the Bolivian Amazon 


Honorable Mention: Favolaschia species growing in the Bolivian Amazon

Judge's opinion:

1st Place: Golden Chanterelles (Cantharellus formosus), Winter Chanterelles (Craterellus neotubaeformis), Hedgehogs (Hydnum umbilicatum) and Chanty vodka made from Golden chanterelles. I sliced the chanties, stuffed a jug and topped  it off with vodka and let it sit for 3 days. than I squeezed every drop out of the chanterelles and voilá, a vodka that tastes like chanterelles. I usually do not care for vodka, but a sip of chanty essence is a different story! It still tastes great a year later!

Last edited Wed, 11/12/2014 - 20:51

Barrow's Bolete Bonanza

Boletus barrowsii patch

It looks like the unusually warm fall encouraged this Barrow's bolete to put out an incredible amount of large fruiting bodies. However, I think part of this mass fruiting is that the host oak tree handed over an extra large amount of sugars to its root-associate. I read some German research that ectomycorrhizal fruiting is heavily influenced by how well the host tree fared in the previous year, not just the current season. And last year was an totally outstanding mushroom fall in the PNW, but this year these oaks have about 7 to 10 times as many mushrooms amongst them.

Boletus barrowsii
Boletus barrowsii has a whitish to grayish cap with suede-like texture. Its pores are white when young, do not bruise blue and turn light brown-yellowish when old.
The stem [with a reticulated upper part] ranges from whitish to grayish and can be darker than the cap.
  

Boletus barrowsii baskets

I brought a laundry basket to the site for harvesting. All in all it added up close to 50 pounds, crazy. 
It is a choice edible mushroom, and I prefer its firm and aromatic flesh to our endemic Cascade mountain variety of Boletus edulis, which is one of my absolute favorites.
I left the biggest boletes growing, gave a bunch away to friends, but ended up processing boletes for days. 


bolete drying

The dryer was running continously for days. Young and medium aged pores I keep, since the pore tissue has the most taste. 
However, the oldest pores I collected and put in a watering can and spread the spores in the neighborhood under suitable potential host trees.

Greater Seattle area - photos Oct. 20-24, 2014

Last edited Wed, 10/29/2014 - 14:44

May Morels in the Midwest

Photo report from a trip to Chicago and Milwaukee in connection with presentations for the Illinois Mycological Association and Wisconsin Mycological Society

 Morchella esculentoides growing in a meadow around a dead elm tree. Easy to spot and waiting to be picked!

 

Morels in the woods are much harder to spot than in the grass.

Heidi with a nice group of young blond morels.

 
We had a great time in Chicago with Rebecca Fyffe and her husband Vito. They took us out for morel hunting, the very first flush of the 2014 season.
 
Heidi and Howard with a couple of morels. How happy they are!
 
Coprinellus micaceus - Mica cap, edible, but tiny mushrooms.
 

Pycnoporus cinnabarinus, a cousin of the tropical P. sangineus, that is used to lower fevers in South America

 

Allium tricoccum - commonly known as ramps. Finally i found the North American cousin of Europe's Bear leek -Allium ursinum a favourite wild green of mine. I ate these leaves all right after the photo shoot. Yummy!

Prairie trillium (Trillium recurvatum), now I know the lineage where these red flowering Trilliums in our yard spring from.

Globifomes graveolens, a cool conk!

Prairie, Rebecca's and Vito's daughter with Globifomes. 

Our Chicago morels ready to go in Britt Bunyard's kitchen. Britt cooked up a storm, delicious storm that was, while we were visiting with him and his family. 

Britt Bunyard on the stairs of his home half an hour North of Milwaukee.

Seeing all the Germanic stuff in Milwaukee was quite a trip for me, never sure how to relate to the stereotypes that survive in the New Country, sorry no photo documentation.
As if orchestrated my presentation for Wisconsin Mycological Society was scheduled in New Berlin. 


Britt knows how to put his basement to good use. Fermentation rules!

 

Last edited Mon, 05/26/2014 - 01:27

PNW Late Fall Mushrooms 2013

What a mushroom season! Sounds just like my last blog entry. However, that was about this past September. Now it is mid-November and the mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest lowland forests are still growing strong. Now if I was ungrateful I could say, I am done collecting, cleaning, cooking and  freezing mushrooms. I already had the thought crossing my mind "I hope next year will be a poor year, so that too many of these freezer mushrooms are not going to remain uneaten. But luckily there is so much more about mushrooms than just being a delicious and nutritious locally sourced food item. There is all the joy observing all these beautiful fruiting bodies growing in such uninhibited abundance covering dark forest floors and dotting meadows and parks. After three poor years, especially 2012 with the driest combined August & September on record. Well, that fungal power play is a result of fruiting suppression in previous years and consistent moisture, although October had only about half the average rainfall with 1.5 inches, while the October average is 3.5 in. However these nearly 40mm in October were apparently sufficient, since the soils got soaked in September by 6 inches (1.5 is the average). By now the forest are full of slimy, deteriorating Brittlegills (Russula), Amanitas, Slippery Jacks (Suillus) and Boletes that peaked weeks ago. And right next to them are hordes of fresh Fibercaps (Inocybe), Poison pies (Hebeloma), Elfin saddles (Helvella), Funnelcaps (Clitocybe) and Milkcaps (Lactarius). And don't get me started on honey mushrooms. I never seen such abundance of Armillarias, having hundreds growing in my lawn, a clear indication that our way past prime apple trees are seriously on their way out. Usually I don't really pick honeys for the table, but I can not let them all just go bad.... So they ended up in phillo dough rolls jazzed up with fried apples, onions, parsley and bit of Riesling and cream. Quite enjoyable these honeys, but which edible mushroom wouldn't please the palate with such a delectable treatment. Back to talking of late fruiters, we also had a great flush of candy caps - Lactarius rubidus, but they still await processing beyond drying. Anyway, enough verbage, time for some photos.

November 2013

First the edibles....

During an outing on Nov. 13 we found Golden Chanterelles (Cantharellus formosus), all freshly grown. It must be at least the third flush or so, Winter chanterelles or Yellow feet (Craterellus tubaeformis) and hedgehogs (Hydnum umbilicatum)! Also there is a bottle of Chanterelle Vodka. The freezer is already full! What to do with all the chanties. Can't just let them go bad in the woods, right?
So I tried chanty vodka, though I really do not care for Vodka or these kinds of hard liquors, but chanterelle vodka is a different issue! Yummy! I just put some cleaned chanties in Vodka. It really takes the aroma on very nicely.

Sparassis radicata also known as Sparassis crispa. This is a huge, slow growing, long lasting mushroom and one of the best edibles.
More details on my Pacific Northwest Edibles page

A beautiful cluster of Honey mushrooms (Armillaria mellea group, probably Armillaria solidipes = A. ostoyae). Hundreds of Honeys seem to be all over this November.
Though this cluster was encountered in the woods, in our yard two ancient apple trees that are tolerated for providing wildlife housing, are surrounded by a hundred honeys and each of them has giant fruiting out of their half rotten stems. I am just sharing this to indicate I had a real reason to give them yet another chance in my kitchen. So they were fried up with onions, deglazed with white wine and finsihed with a bit of cream and broth. While honeys do not offer too much of a consistency, even a solidipes, the fungal taste was fully sufficient to m ake a great meal rolled up in phylo-dough, but which mushroom wouldn't? 

Candy caps (Lactarius rubidus) are renowned for their maple syrup-like taste, but when they are fresh there is only a very faint burnt aroma that is not easy to detect. However there is proabably half a dozen smallish reddish to brown Lactarius that could be mistatken for candy caps. In short, they are quite difficult to identify until you are familiar with them. Candy caps only reveal their true nature after carefully drying them, carefully means a slow low temperature drying as most mushrooms appreciate anyways. And just then you will clearly detect their maple syrup-like aroma. However, our Pacific Northwest version is just not as pungent as its California relative, whose odor once dried will fill any room and add a very special flavor to any desert, cookie or sauce. More Candy cap details on my Pacific Northwest Edibles page.

 

In some years in the PNW this a common lawn mushroom: Leucoagaricus leucothites. Formerly this beautiful mushroom was known as Lepiota naucina. It is reputed as edible, but since it shares so many key characteristics with deadly Amanitas, such as white cap, gills, stalk, annulus and spores, the only thing missing is the volva and the deadly Amanitatoxins. Thus it is much safer not to try it out. 

 Gymnopilus luteofolius, the Yellow-gilled Laughing mushroom growing on wood chips in our yard. It has a fibrous partial veil and a rusty orange spore print, which might mislead to a Cortinarius identification. However, Corts are ecto-mycorrhizal and this is clearly a saprobic mushroom feeding straight of wood. Its bitter taste is typical for Gymnopilus. Just like the more infamous Gymnopilus spectabilis, this G. luteofolius contains the hallucinogen psilocybin. However, I have no idea in what concentration.

A patch of huge Orange Peel Fungus (Aleuria aurantia). Check out my finger tip on the lower left. This is a widespread ascomycete in the order Pezizales. It showed up on soil we had moved the previous year. There was at least 20 clusters, but most were smaller. And yes, this brilliant orange, cup-shaped ascocarp is supposedly edible. I tasted a fresh piece and there was not enough taste that I would pick some.

October 2013

One of the annual highlights: The Puget Sound Mycological Society's Wild Mushroom Show. It was PSMS 50th show. And this year we had 3000 visitors for our two day event. Saturday alone we had more visitors than in any show in the past. All the mushrooms growing everywhere generated immense interest. In addition, there is more and more talk of mushrooms in the media and more and more people discover wild mushrooms as an awesome food.  I took the photo right after opening. It got way too crowded for a couple ours Saturday early afternoon.

Phallus hadriani

Pål Karlsen cooked up a storm while I was working on a mushroom presentation. This breakfast included a winter chanterelle omelet (Craterellus tubaeformis), 6 types of king bolete preparations of Boletus edulis, Boletus edulis var. grandedulis and Boletus regineus, grilled caps of Milkcaps (Lactarius deliciosus) and Gypsy mushrooms (Cortinarius / Rozites caperatus). What a feast! Come back soon, Pal

 

I went for some suburban mushrooming one morning. I found 3 species and one more variety of of Porcini / King boletes: Boletus regineus (pictured), B. edulis, B. edulis var. grandedulis, and B. barrowsii. Boletus regineus originally described from California is an oak associate. It was my first find in Washington state.

 

What a season we have!

 

Boletus erythropus, or at least what we know as B. erythropus growing in Breitenbush, near Detroit, Oregon. There is no point in keeping up with the latest taxonomy of B. erythropus and turning it into B. luridiformis, since this West Coast bolete is different from its European namesake anyway. In general on the Pacific West coast, most mushroom hunters regard all red-pored boletes as toxic. However, this is not the case.
Boletus erythropus = B. luridiformis is widely eaten in Europe and also in East Asia. And I already enjoyed it several times in Switzerland, Austria and Tibet. So I had cooked it two years ago after finding it in Breitenbush and again this fall without any ill effects. Not as good as a porcini, but still nice firm flesh and an enjoyable taste. Just watch out, uncooked or under-cooked it probably will cause digestion trouble. However, since they seem to be very rare, NOT eating them is probably the best solution anyway. Having settled that question of edibility I will let them live unless they show up in greater numbers.

 

 Chalciporus piperatus, the Pepper bolete is a smallish spicy tasting bolete. These are very colorful specimen, usually they are much duller, especially there pores. However, these were encountered growing under oak, so they might be a different variety or species than the more common conifer associate from the PNW.

The colors of the tubes blew my mind!

Entocybe nitidum formerly also known as Entoloma nitidum is a smallish member of the pink spored Entolomataceae that likes to grow on decaying wood.

 Many Ramarias are such beauties, but unfortunately many are hard to identify. 

Hypocrea (=Podostroma) leucopus

Podostroma / Hypocrea leucopus

Hypocrea (=Podostroma) leucopus

Breitenbush Mushroom Conference: The Final Kick!

Breitenbush Mushroom Conference: The Final chunks!

Last edited Thu, 08/25/2016 - 00:48

PNW Fall Mushrooms 2013

What a great September for mushrooms. All kinds of mushrooms from porcinis to puffballs are popping up everywhere in the Pacific Northwest!
Record rainfall spaced out over the month of September after a mid August shower soak the soils that have been deprived of good fall rains for several years now. 2012 was one of the worse fall seasons for decades. But that is the past.....

Best color-coding of the season....

What a rare beauty we encountered in at Yard Creek in Sicamous. It keyed out to Hygrocybe parvula.

 

Now, let me introduce The King

Boletus edulis

I am always torn to pick such a beauty. It will lose its perfection when tossed around in my basket, but they taste so good!

An hour of picking on the way to Yakima, when I gave a talk for Yakima Valley Mushroom Society, netted a nice basket of porcini. Processing always is much more arduous than picking.

My wife Heidi with the cleaned bounty of our first bolete haul September 6. The red cap in the left is a Boletus smithii, see below.

 

And then finally I was able to take great shots of perfect Cantharellus roseocanus, the Rainbow chanterelle. 
In the Pacific Northwest Cantharellus roseocanus is usually associated with spruce, be it Picea sitchensis on the coast or Picea engelmannii in the mountains. Due to its ectomycorrhizal association with spruce it is much rarer than the Golden and the White chanterelle in the Pacific Northwest. Commercial picking is rarely aimed at the Rainbow chanterelle. Cascades Mountains, WA, 9-11-2013

On the left young Golden Chanterelles and on the right young Rainbow Chanterelles.
Both Chanterelles have a strong fruity, apricot like smell and the after-taste of their raw flesh is spicy. The spiciness gave rise to the German name Pfifferling, meaning Pepper mushroom, but it takes quite awhile to develop that in your mouth. Many people might miss this characteristic, but slugs and bugs might stay away from Cantharellus due to that chemical defense. Aroma and taste of to these two Chanterelles is quite similar, but the Rainbow chanterelle's aroma and taste seem a bit more intense when raw. However, after cooking I could not tell any difference in taste.

Perfect Golden Chanterelles (Cantharellus formosus)

So many delicious mushrooms! It is hard to catch up in cooking and preservation. For the first time Heidi and I marinated Golden chanterelles inspired by our friend Animal. I do not like to dry Chanterelles. I am afraid they turn bitter and for rehydration one better takes a day. I usualy cook Chanties and then freeze them. 

Up in the mountains Boletus smithii is quite common. The reddish hue of its cap and the red marking on the upper stem whose base is yellow are tell-tales. 
It is edible, but does not compare well to a king bolete.

A Scaberstalk (Leccinum sp.) growing amongst conifers in Sicamous BC. I have a hard time identifying these brown cap conifer-associated Leccinums. 
I have enjoyed eating them several times, including this specimen. 

 

A very young Cortinarius violaceus. It actually is edible, but I have eaten it only once. It turns black when being cooked and does not have an enticing taste. Much better to enjoy its beauty.

An Amanita gemmata is standing very all alone in the forest. 

An Amanita porphyria, Gray-veiled or booted Amanita growing in Sicamous BC. Pretty surely a poisonous Amanita.

Lichen magic of the Northwestern rain forest, Lobaria pulmonaria, Lungwort, a good indicator for air quality. It can not thrive in polluted air.

How often do you run into true Newtstools?

 

 

Check out my "Field Guide to Edible Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest" in my  "guides & goodies page"

 
Last edited Mon, 09/30/2013 - 20:50

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