Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mushroom Wind

I've always wondered how some mushrooms effectively spread their spores when they barely get above the forest duff.

Here is part of the answer: Mushrooms Make Their Own Wind.
LiveScience  |  By Douglas Main

mushrooms wind
Laser light illuminates spores spreading from this Amanita muscaria mushrooms. Mushrooms "make their own wind" to spread spores, new research shows.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

First Frost

Earlier this week the temperature dropped below freezing. Last weekend I had the pleasure of showing some friends a spot I knew to be good for hedgehogs and chanterelles and as it happened we found a small quantity of both.
Then this weekend I visited some old haunts to see if anything was left, and to my delight I found a good number of fairly large belly button hedghogs, and some late Golden Chanterelles. I also visited a log where I had left an Admirable Bolete and found that it had begun to rot. So with the data from several years now in hand I came up with the following table for when the various choice forest mushrooms are likely to flush. I'll adjust it in the future as I gather more data.

August September October November December

White Chanterelle

Pacific Golden Chanterelle


Bleeding Milk Caps

Admirable Bolete

Mika Cap

Pear Shaped Puffball

Conifer Coral Hericium


Fluted Black Elfin Saddles



Winter Chanterelle

Winter Oyster

Friday, November 15, 2013

Best Video on Cooking Mushrooms

After enjoying a feast of Hedghogs tonight, I thought about a classic video on cooking mushrooms I had seen one time, and thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I was able to find it. I love the repartee between Jamie and Genaro. Brilliant.

Here is a video from last weekend of me in a young forest scoring a nice clutch of Hedghogs, the ones I had for dinner tonight in fact. I am a very happy man.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Two Kinds of Hedgehogs -- Hydnum repandum and Hydnum umbilicatum

Last weekend while collecting Hedghogs near Nanaimo I came crashing out of the bush onto a trail and saw two people bent at the waist looking intently at the forest floor. I recognized the stance -- mushroom hunters. I then spent a few happy hours chatting with Chris and Victoria about mushrooms and related topics and wandering through the forest with them looking for mushrooms. I really enjoyed their enthusiasm and it was nice to share tips and observations with folks who clearly enjoyed hunting for mushrooms as much as I do!

Victoria recommended an app she uses called, Roger's Mushrooms. I went home and found the product on the net right away. http://www.rogersmushrooms.com/   The names comes from Roger Phillips, the man behind the project, and he is someone well known for his photographs and films about plants and gardening. 
If you have found a great resource like this one, I would love to hear about it. comment on this post or send me an e-mail at quietlake at stillinthestream dot com. 

Here is a video from last weekend with a tip about collecting fragile mushrooms like Hedgehogs and getting them home in good shape: 

Yesterday, after a trip to Cathedral Grove to look at the big trees with friends, and three separate specimens of Bears Head (Conifer Coral Hericium) which I showed great restraint in not picking, I returned to the Nanaimo area and went into a piece of forest with fairly dense Salal that I have been interested in exploring for some time. I found a large patch of Lobster Mushrooms, only two of which were in good shape, some small thin Golden Chanterelles, and a number of small Belly Button Hedghogs scattered across about an acre of forest. Not terribly exciting. 

Today I went a little further afield to a location I knew to be good for Hedghogs. I found a lot of Hedghogs,  a bunch of Golden Chanterelles still in good shape (and a good number past there prime too!), and Winter Chanterelles at various stages of development. Here is my video from today:
The Bleeding Milk Caps are almost past their prime and the Golden Chanterelles are declining in numbers and quality, so as the frost threatens to knock down the Hedghogs, it seems likely that we soon will be reduced to collecting Winter Oysters, Winter Chanterelles, and Matsutake from the woods of Vancouver Island. 

But, until the frosts hit hard, we still have a couple of good weeks for picking for those varieties. So, happy hunting!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Hedgehogs are Coming (and tons of other stuff is here)

I walked for almost 4 hours today reveling in the beauty of the autumn day and the vast number of mushrooms out everywhere. Here is a video summary:

Here are some photos:
Lactarius rubrilacteus (Bleeding Milk Cap)
Notice that these bleeding milk caps are right beside the parkway trail....

Lactarius rubrilacteus (Bleeding Milk Cap)

Lactarius rubrilacteus (Bleeding Milk Cap)

Hydnum umbilicatum (Belly Button Hedgehog)
I found hedgehogs in two places, both very small. I would say that in about 2 weeks they will be popping up everywhere and lets hope the frost holds off long enough for the to get really big!

Gyromitra infula (Hooded False Morel)

Gyromitra infula (Hooded False Morel)

a GIANT Gyromitra infula (Hooded False Morel)
Gyromitra infula (Hooded False Morel)
Oyster or Anglewing??? It was on a fir log so Anglewing seems more likely, though it smelled like a Oyster.
Very Large Hygrocybe Conica (Witche's Hat)
Hygrocybe Conica (Witche's Hat)
Helvella lacunosa (Fluted Black Elfin Saddle)
Amanita constricta (Constricted Grisette) or related.
Amanita constricta (Constricted Grisette) or related.
Amanita Constricta is edible, but because it is easily confused with at least two poisonous cousins, I left it in the field!

Not sure, probably Cortinarius violaceus but could be Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis
Not sure, probably Cortinarius violaceus but could be Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bleeding Milk Caps

Only had time today for a 45 minute walk but found two Bleeding Milk Caps (Lactarius rubrilacteus):

For details see the following see the following resources:

Mike Orr's Videos: http://youtu.be/MWERw8drHaw
Mushroom GuruVideos: http://youtu.be/cEJATOWm9ZU
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactarius_rubrilacteus

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rosy Red Russula and Fresh Orange Lobster Mushrooms

I walked for almost 3 hours today, checking on some mushrooms I saw last week and exploring new areas. Viewed today:
  • Rosy Russula
  • Short Stemmed Russula
  • Cascade Russula
  • Lobster
  • Fircone Cap
  • Glistening Inkcap
  • Some kind of Stropharia
  • Sulphur Tuft
  • Western Painted Suillus
  • Golden Chanterelle
  • Tootled Jelly Fungus
  • Pear-shaped Puffball

Here is a video of some of the Rosy Russulas.
Often I see these plentiful (and inedible) mushrooms with a flat brown/burgundy colour on top, but the rains have produced these cherry red effects and lots of shinny slime on top. Like candied applies strewn across the ground.

I checked on a mushroom I saw last week which I think is Sulphur Tuft. Here is a side by side comparison with last weeks photo and todays:
These are growing at the base of an old alder tree which sported Oyster Mushrooms two summers ago and fell down over the winter. Growing as it is on this deciduous log, rules out a lot of similar mushrooms, including Hypholoma capnoides, which also has grey gills, which these do not have.

There were lots of LBMs and several patches of what I think is Coprinellus micaceus or Glistening Inkcap.

Further down the trail I checked in an area where I found Cauliflower Mushrooms in previous years, after seeing Mike Orr's spectacular recent find: http://youtu.be/o972nq9ebDw I didn't find any Cauliflowers but found a whole bunch of  Pear-shaped Puffballs. I have not actually found any of these on my own before, only with Jessica Wolf who pointed them out in a forest in Cedar. They were really tiny so I didn't pick any, but will check back in a few days and see how they are coming along.

 Then, towards the end of the day I moved to another nearby forest and found two lovely specimens of Lobster Mushroom which I brought home and cleaned. These were alongside a flush of Cascade Russulas -- their probable victims.
Young Fresh Lobster Mushrooms

Monday, September 23, 2013

Golden Chanterelles Love Rock, Who Knew?

On Sunday, September 22nd, I walked through a piece of forest very near Nanaimo just off a major trail. I found a bag that someone left behind, full of White Chanterelles about 2 weeks old by the looks of them and by my estimate of when the Whites were at their best.

Made this video after walking for about 1/2 an hours:

Was surprised to find the mushrooms just below a scree of rocks, covered over with moss and Oregon grape. The trees were small and tightly packed together in this steep rocky zone with some moss covered logs here and there. I usually associate Chanterelles with pockets of woody debris or in light salal. Further down the hill I found more, just emerging and still in the button form, again, right out of rock falls with a covering of moss.

I suspect that this habitat was noticeable because the salal and other bushes were absent, thus affording a good view of the emerging mushrooms, rather than any preference for rocky soil, but I would be interested to hear if others have found this to be the case.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Revisiting a White Chanterelle Patch

Today I walked up to the White Chanterelle patch I reported on two weeks ago, and had a look around. The little one by the log that I left was gone, but there were lots of new ones. The new ones are softer and bigger, the rains of the last two weeks have accelerated the flush. Here is a video of what I found.
I could have taken how about a dozen nice big Chanterelles, but I still have a fridge full, so have left them for YOU!

Also saw the following mushrooms today:

Short Stemmed Russula
Rosy Russala
Lots of BUMS (boring ubiquitous mushrooms)
Some chorals

And these that I have not yet identified:
A nice large firm fruiting body which I left to check up on when it has opened more.

Maybe Sulfur Cap, I have a spore print on the go.

Another shot of the same mushroom

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Mushrooms I will Taste, or have Tasted, on Vancouver Island

I spent some time this evening writing down all the mushrooms on Vancouver Island I would consider eating or at least tasting. There are 48 of them. Of the ones I have tasted I give a 1 to 5 star rating. In reality I think it is likely I will find and taste about 30 or these. Of those I taste, I expect I will choose to seek out around 20. I'll highlight the 20 that are top on my list. Some on that list are probably pretty rare in the areas I go hunting, so when all is said and done I will probably end up collecting a dozen or so regularly. So far my favorites are the Hedghogs, the Morel, and the Giant Puffball. I also rather like the Lobster when it is not too old. I eat a lot of Chanterelles, but they are not my favorites, though I do like them. I'm keen to find and taste Matsutake, Delicious Milk Cap, Club, and the Pear Shaped Puffball. I also plan to brave the Fluted Black Elfin Saddle this year if I they come out in good numbers. Some reports say they are as good as or better than Morels if cooked properly, so we shall see. I have seen lots of them in the past, as well as lots of the Clubs, but hadn't known they were edible until researching them last year. If anyone is keen to show me a good Matsutake patch, I would appreciate it very much. I'm told there are areas near Ladysmith that are known to produce the much sought after Pine, so if I don't hear from anyone I guess I will just start exploring! Here is my edibles list:

E = Edible
C = Choice
Have Eaten? Visual Feature Common Name Have Found? Latin Rating out of 5 Stars
E N Gilled Delicious Milk Cap U Lactarius deliciousus
E N Gilled Cascade Russula N Russula cascadensis
C Y Gilled Oyster Mushroom Y Pleurotus Ostreatus ****
E w Caution N Gilled Angle Wings U Pleurotus porrigens
E Y Gilled Late Oyster Mushroom Y panellus serotinus ***
C N Gilled Blewit N Lepista nuda
E N Gilled Western Amethyst Laccaria Y Laccaria ametysteo-occidentalis
E N Gilled Fried Chicken Mushroom N Lyophyllum decastes
C N Gilled White Matsutake Y Tricholoma magnivelare
E N Gilled Honey Mushroom N Amillaria mellea complex
C N Gilled Fairy Ring Mushroom U Marasmius oreades
E N Gilled Shaggy Parasol N Lepiota rachodes
C N Gilled Meadow Mushroom U Agaricus campestris
C N Gilled Prince N Agaricus augustus
E with caution N Gilled Alcohol Inky U Coprinus atramentarius
C N Gilled Shaggy Mane Y Coprinus comatus
E N Gilled Glistening Inkcap U Coprinus micaceus
E N Gilled Smokey-gilled Woodlover N Hypholoma capnoides
E N Gilled Gypsy Mushroom N Rozites caperata
E N Gilled Violet Cortinarius N Cortinarius violaceus
E N Gilled Slimy Gomphidius Y Gomphidius glutinosus
E N Gilled Rosy Gomphidius Y Gomphidius subroseus
E N Gilled Wooly Pine Spike U Chroogomphus tomentosus
E N Pored Short Stemmed Slippery Jack Y Suillus brevipes
C N Pored Admirable Bolete Y Boetus mirabilis
C N Pored King Bolete N Boletus edulis
E N Pored Aspen Bolete N Leccinum insigne
E with Caution N Pored Orange Birch Bolete N Leccinum testaceoscabrum
C Y Pored Conifer Coral Hericium Y Hericium abietis
E N Pored Beard Tooth N Hericium erinaceus
C Y Pored Hedgehog Y Hydnum repandum and Hydnum umbilicatum *****
C N Club Club Y Clavariadelphus truncatus
C Y Coral Cauliflower Y Sparassis crispa **
C N Ridges Pigs Ear Gomphus N Gomphus clavatus
C Y Ridges White Chanterelle Y Catharellus subalbidus ****
C Y Ridges Pacific Golden Chanterelle Y Cantharellus formosus ****
E Y Ridges Winter Chanerelle Y Catharellus infundibuliformis ***
E N Ridges Blue Chanterelle N Polyozellus multiplex
E N Toothed Toothed Jelly Y Pseudohydnum gelatinosum **
C Y Puffball Western Giant Puffball Y Calvatia booniana ****
C N Puffball Pear Shaped Puffball N Lycoperdon pyriforme
E N Puffball Dusky Puffball N Lycoperdon nigrescens
C Y Puffball Gem-studded Puffball Y ycoperdon perlatum *
E N Puffball Meadow Puffball N ascellum pretense
C N Morel Black Morel Y Morchella elata *****
E with Caution N Morel Early Morel N Verpa bohemica
E with Caution N Elfin Saddle Fluted Black Elfin Saddle Y elvella lacunosa
C Y Other Lobster Y Hypomyces lactifluorum ****

Saturday, September 7, 2013

White Chanterelles are Out!

Walked through a forest near Nanaimo and after about 40 minutes found some White Chanterelles, and then found a very large patch a little further along. Ended up with several pounds of them.

There had been pickers out before me, as evidenced by cut stipes, and I met a man and his son who also had a bag of Chanterelles. We chatted about the best places to find them in the area and it seems that both he and I have been finding them beside logs and in the lower slopes of hillsides.

Here are some photos from the field:

And a couple of videos. This first one shows a typical forest habitat favoured by Chanterelles, and the second one is a few questions for other enthusiasts.


Close up:

White Chanterelles