Month: October 2014

Mushrooming update from the Crescent area


From Christina in Crescent:

The mushrooms are in in full fruit down here in Crescent. So beautiful! I was wondering if you know the species of this large, slimy capped Cortinarius that is popping up all over around Odell Lake. I have so many specimens to process, so I don’t have time to sit down and key it out. Any thoughts? Also, I thought you would enjoy the pic I took of an enormous Sparassis. Wow!”

Christina's huge Sparassis!

Anyone know what Cortinarius this might be?

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The rains have brought mushrooms!

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If you haven’t been out mushroom hunting lately, get out before it gets cold!  I have been seeing many mushrooms around town and folks have been bringing me things to identify every couple days.  Many of the specimens are water-logged, but still in edible shape. On Monday, a friend brought me a lovely Sparrasis (Cauliflower mushroom) along with Leccinums, wet Chanterelles,  a couple of King Boletes, and two old Matsies. Among the interesting and non-edible species he brought was a young Amanita smithiana,  small but still fresh with white crumbly scales on the stem (poisonous!)  These were all found on Hwy 58 somewhere near Odell Lake on Monday.

Tuesday someone brought by a huge Hericium abietes from one of the side roads off Century Drive toward Bachelor.  I have never seen Hericium growing up there, but it clearly does!  Yes, it was dripping with water, and will be difficult to clean, but it’s nice to see something so lovely growing closer to home.  Are you still finding Chanterelles or decent King Boletes, Readers?

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Sunday’s stash……

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This is what we picked from our old standby site on Sunday.  The yellow Chanterelles are a little water-logged and we left many that were molded over.

There’s still enough to provide a few good meals.  Dry saute is the only thing that will work for these wet ones, adding the butter after the liquid evaporates.  After tediously cleaning them, my hands smelled like apricot-chanterelle even after washing. Mmmmm…

The Hericium was also a little soggy and this was before today’s heavy rain. It didn’t have a ton of flavor.  The rain must have been a localized shower where we hunted.  Not much diversity fruiting in the area, not even Russula! That should change quickly if it doesn’t freeze hard. The rain is just so late this fall!

I wonder if the shows and festivals in the valley were fruitful.  Did any of you go?  I will definitely be at the Eugene Mt. Pisgah show this Sunday even if it rains, after a short overnighter to the coast.  Keep comments coming.

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Truffle trip to Spain and truffle dog training

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As a member of Oregon Mycological Society (OMS) of Portland, I received this email and thought I would post it for those of you who have been interested in truffles.  Spain, well, that would be great, but the truffle dog training might be more realistic.  All good information.  There is a truffle festival in Eugene in January as well.  It sells out, so if you are interested in truffles, stay tuned here for posts in the winter when they ripen.

Information on Truffle Trip to Spain from Christine Fischer,

Greetings from Spain!

I left Portland and the PNW where I got my start in forest mycology more than 25 years ago to come to Spain where I have devoted my work to the ecology and cultivation of the Black Truffle, Tuber melanosporum.

Having recently decided to teach fungal ecology in a most delicious way, I would love to invite you and your members who would love to hunt and eat truffles to come to Spain for a special tour this winter. This trip is all about Black Truffles and also about travelling into the heart of Spain, rich in regional culinary traditions, the warm Spanish hospitality, and an abundance of spectacular natural beauty and well-preserved heritage from Celtic, Roman, Arab, and medieval times.

I am offering this special guided tour to the region of Soria, Spain – where the Black Truffle grows naturally in the limestone soils, and has been an important “non-wood forest product”  to promote the rural forest economy through cultivation. Soria is a region that truly celebrates mycological tourism and gastronomy. And showcasing and pairing regional wines with truffles is always part of the fun!

I would love to reach-out to your members who appreciate culinary travel adventures with this invitation to journey way-off the beaten path and get to know the history, the landscapes and habitat where this mycorrhizal fungus evolved.

We offer the trip in the second week of February when the truffles are ripe and richly aromatic and the chefs have elaborated their new truffle menus. This is for a small group of travelers who love to get to know the truffle hunters, their dogs, the chefs and take a winter pilgrimage for reflection and enjoyment.

Come have a look at our 2015 trip and join the adventure

Get a taste of last year’s trip

Trip includes: All transportation during the 8 days beginning from the Madrid airport or Madrid Train Station (Atocha) with return the following Sunday; hotel accommodations and mostly 3 meals/day, including 4 special Black Truffle feasts and wines; guided tours. Hotels have been chosen to enjoy the comfort, hospitality and historical settings in Soria.

Maximum of 12 persons for this tour

Trip Cost: $4200/ person with a deposit of $500 to reserve your place by October 20, 2014.

Full payment is due by January 8, 2014.

Truffle Dog Training Sponsored by the North American Truffling Society

Noted dog trainer, Jeannine May, will lead the NATS truffle dog training seminar at

The Forestry Club Cabin at Peavy Arboretum in Corvallis, Oregon, on Saturday,

November 2, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 4 PM.


The seminar will be a combination of lecture, fundamentals of scent training and practical fieldwork.

Attendance is limited to six dogs and six audits.  A waiting list will be maintained.

Fees must be paid at time of registration.  All dogs will be required to be under handler control and be well mannered in the company of other dogs and people.  Dogs that are not friendly with people or other dogs must have instructor approval prior to registering. Auditing may be recommended depending on issues. There is plenty if room for crates next to you for well mannered dogs. If dogs are too disruptive to other participants during the lecture they may be asked to wait in your vehicle. Current rabies vaccination required for participating dogs. Beverages and Continental breakfast will be provided.

Dog and owner training ~       $200 for NATS members

$215 for non-members (includes NATS 2015 membership)

Audit class, sans dog     ~       $100 for NATS members

$115 for non-member (includes NATS 2015 membership)

For questions contact:

Marilyn Hinds,

North American Truffling Society


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Amanita smithiana, a Matsie look-alike, is fruiting

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I feel a strong need to post a heads-up about the three Amanita smithianas that were brought into class today by different people.  They are beautiful and quite dangerous because they look similar to the Tricholoma magnivelare (Matsutake – Japanese Pine Mushroom.) Please be SURE of your identification before eating any Matsutakes.  You can definitely tell them apart, but you must look at each and every specimen carefully.  Especially note that the stem of the Matsie is very hard and doesn’t compress much at all when firmly squeezed.  Japanese Pine mushrooms have  amber staining on the stem and the cap, especially in age. A pure white young Matsie still has a little amber coloration somewhere, maybe at the very base of the stem. Matsutake is famous for the cinnamon and dirty socks smell but Amanitas can pick up that scent if stored in the same basket. The veil of the Amanita smithiana crumbles into small pieces instead of a sack-like volva or rings around the base of the stem.  These crumbles fall off as it ages, though the patches on the cap usually remain (except in rain.)  Please be safe! There will always be another time to find Matsutakes.  When in doubt, throw it out!

These will put you in the hospital

These Matsies smell spicey like cinnamon and dirty socks!

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Sparassis and Hericium!

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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"

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Honey Mushrooms – to eat or not to eat?

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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.

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French Chanterelles…

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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?”

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Class field trip fruitful, but sparse

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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:

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