Entries Tagged as 'Help with Identification'

Sparassis and Hericium!

Sparassis on old growth Doug fir

Noodle-like petals of Sparrasis

the cauliflower-like underside of Sparassis

Several folks are finding Sparassis and Hericium despite the drought.  Today Buddy brought a beautiful “Bear’s Head” by to confirm its ID.  It was in excellent shape and beautiful.  Earlier this week, someone else posted photos of this large Sparassis, another species that grows on wood.  Keep looking at the base of trees and on fallen logs in wet areas. Both of these are excellent to eat and good beginner mushrooms because there are no look-alikes  Let’s just hope you beat the worms to them!

"Bear's Head"

Honey Mushrooms – to eat or not to eat?

It’s sad to say, but the most common mushroom in the woods right now is the Honey mushroom, Armillaria ostoyae (to the best of my knowledge,) a parasite that eventually kills and decomposes  its host. Until we get rain and more edible species make an appearance,  many of us will pick and eat the tasty fruit of this destroying fungus. This is such an incredibly variable mushroom, making it hard to identify, a real challenge for beginners.  The buttons look totally different than the mature mushroom. The whole mushroom can be giant or small. This white-spored species growing on wood can be confused with several others such as Pholiota (brown spores) and the deadly Galerina (rusty-brown spores and small stature.)   We searched for any  look-alikes this weekend and found nothing other than Honeys, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there!  It seems more and more rare to find the poisonous look-alikes, but mushroom hunters must know of all possibilities if they plan to eat wild varieties. The main point I want to make, however, is that Honeys are more likely to cause some people gastric upset than others.  The rate of allergic reactions to this mushroom is much higher than others. One unfortunate student discovered this fact from the Honeys we all took home and enjoyed without problems.   I know that there are tons of Honeys in the woods and I know they are tasty.  Just be so very sure of what you are picking and don’t overdue it.   Eat only a few to start and wait a couple hours before trying more.  Test out one new type of mushroom at a time or you won’t know which one caused you a problem.

BE THOROUGH AND CERTAIN OF YOUR ID.  Before cooking them, look each bunch over carefully as you cut them up and if in doubt, throw them out – but NOT in the compost, only in the trash.  Your yard does not need a parasitic mushroom.

Having said all that, Honey mushrooms are popular with my students.

French Chanterelles…

I have a few friends that are traveling in France right now. They posted a picture on FB of a market in France with many Chanterelles on plates for sale. The sign on the table says “Girolles”  6 (?) I don’t know what the symbol means, but 6 something.   How do you pronounce “girolles?”

Class field trip fruitful, but sparse

Our class field trip to Santiam Pass old growth areas ended with everyone having something to take home, even if it was a few semi-dried Chanterelles. The usual abundance of species was seriously absent.  We need rain!  For edibles, we found white Chanterelles, a few Hericium specimens, Pigs. Ears, a young Sparassis, more Honey Mushrooms, a couple Shrimp Russulas,  and a couple small but nice Admirable Boletes.  I think that is it.  None of this in any quantity, quite unusual.  The area had been picked over before we got there, so it took plenty of looking to find our stash, but 15 pairs of eyes can see a lot.  If it had recently rained, the picking wouldn’t have mattered because there would have been plenty for everyone.   I guess I will just have to find wetter spots in future.  How about the rest of you? Is it dry?

Here is a Cynthia’s photo of what she brought home to eat:

“Look what the rain brought…”

From Randy and Margie C.

“Our local shrooms coming on strong”

Hericium comes up without rain!

I have seen two fruitings from busy mushroom hunters of Hericium albietes, one from the Pass and one from the valley.  Go check your logs!  They come up in the same spot every fall. Very delicious!

Yellow Chanterelles and Other Interesting Possibilites

We have been too busy to visit our usual yellow Chanterelle (Cantherellus cibarius) spot until yesterday. We were a bit worried that they would be totally dried, but thankfully we were wrong.  Yes, we found many smallish specimens and some were too dry to take, but the bunch weighed in at 2 1/2 lbs. If it had rained recently, they would have been much heavier.  Ron cooked them with olive oil, garlic, heirloom tomatoes, and a hint of anchovies over pasta.  Yum!

We also found a small Hawk’s wing (Sarcodon imbricatum,) a small black Chanterelle (Polyozellus multiplex,) and fresh firm Coral (Ramaria sp?) as possible edibles.  If all this sounds surprising in the drought, it is.  We hunted in and near swamps, that weren’t swampy,  on the west side.  In a “normal” year, we find many more mushrooms and come home with wet feet instead of dry.

It is a popular deer and elk hunting area and the roads were busy with big trucks and dust.  Be sure to wear bright colors out there and make lots of noise!

Rhizopogons – by the pounds

photo by Fred Stevens from Mykoweb site

Today a couple of landscapers brought by a 5 gal. bucket full of Rhizopogons, all from one yard, hoping they were white truffles.  No sooner had they left than I got a call from another man who was ready to eat what he was sure was Oregon white truffle -another large Rhizopogon.  I didn’t have time to identify which Rhizopogons were in the bucket, but they seemed close to Rhizopogon occidentalis.  There was likely more than one species in the bunch. According to Arora, this hypogeous fungi (fruiting underground, or near underground,)  can fruit in profusion at times and may get as large as 3 inches across, just like today’s specimens!  They are not truffles and in fact, are much more closely related to the Boletus family, and the genus Suillus specifically.  Even though the book says these are “palatable,” please do not eat what you don’t know, no matter how tempting they smell.

Our common Rhizopogons love the roots of pine and fir trees (and other confiers.)  They are a firmly spongy and inside resemble a puffball, though species differ in color.  They are not marbled inside like truffles.  Outside you will see small reddish veins running along a yellowish skin.  Some in the bucket had no red veining and many were more beige than yellow.  It takes microscope work to figure them out.

More Shaggy Parasols to consider

Paul P. sent and email about the Chloropyllum rhacodes fruiting in his yard this week.

“Last year in class  I believe you identified the group of mushrooms from our backyard as Shaggy Parasols. I took some pictures of the same type of shrooms from the same place in our yard and wondered if you can confirm them as Shaggy Parasols.”

My reply:

They do look like shaggy parasols, Chlorophyllum rhacodes. You can look at Clair’s photos from an email yesterday that I posted on the website.  The trick here is to make sure there is no volva like in Amanitas and to do a spore print on dark and light paper of one of the older specimens. Make sure it’s WHITE. There is a look-alike that has made its way north into Oregon, though relatively rare.  The look-alike, Chlorophyllum molybdites, has GREEN spores in maturity and will make you wish you had never touched them, but nothing life threatening. Look them up online. They look just like the yummy shaggy parasols!

Your books will call the shaggy parasols Lepiota rhacodes or Macrolepiota rhacodes.  The Chlorophyllum designation is new since DNA work.
If these are the real shaggy parasols, they are delicious and worth learning to identify absolutely.  There is lots of info online, but be sure of your id.

First Chanterelle post of the season!

Jim B.  sent this email today:

I am not sure how to post a photo on this website.  I found these today around 3500’ in the Clear Lake area on the west side of the pass.  Wish I had gaiters on as the low foliage sure got the pants wet, but well worth the picking.

Jim's white chanterelle buttons. Woo hoo!