Month: October 2016

Lactarius rubrilactus – Red Milk Caps

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We have been lucky enough to find these “Red Milky Caps” on the last couple of field trips. These are good beginner mushrooms with their zoned caps, green splotches and red juice that sometimes oozes from the gill edge between the broken gills and flesh of the cap.  They hold their texture well when saute’d and have an excellent flavor. lactarius-rubrilacteus

COMC next meeting – Nov. 9 – Dr. Carpenter on Keys

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Central Oregon Mushroom Club’s next meeting is Wednesday evening, Nov. 9, 6-8 PM, at the Environmental Center in downtown Bend, 16 NW Kansas.
COMC presents Dr. Steve Carpenter who will talk on how to use mushroom identification keys. If you are new to keys or have been frustrated trying to work through them, Dr. Carpenter will give tips to make your investigation easier, with an emphasis on dichotomous keys. 
Why use a key? Keys give you a starting point with specific characteristics to notice. Many more details that separate mushrooms from each other can be condensed in a key as compared with descriptions and photos on a page. This makes it much more likely you will be able to give your puzzling mushroom a name. David Arora’s book “Mushrooms Demystified” has many keys that lead you to a mushroom name without a referenced picture in the book, listing far more species than are described in the text. Working with this information, you can use online photos to confirm a correct ID. or at least get close. This takes time, but solving the puzzle can be very satisfying and useful. Join us as Dr. Carpenter sheds new light on this process. 
Dr. Carpenter will also have his new book for sale for $15. “Mushrooms of Mary’s Peak and Vicinity” is a pocket guide for the central coast range where mushrooms fruit all year long. Those of us living in the High Desert often need some “coastal time” and this book would be useful on a hike in the woods. 
Here is a bio from our presenter:
Dr. Steve Carpenter has been collecting and consuming mushrooms since 1956 and is President Emeritus of Pacific Analytical Laboratory in Corvallis. He  was a Fellow at the New York Botanical Garden, where he joined numerous mycology expeditions to the Andes in South America. He was a Research Associate at the LA Museum of Natural History in the 1980’s and an NSF Principal Investigator at OSU until 1988. He researched fungal recovery at the Mt. St. Helens devastation zone, fungal interactions in old growth forest ecosystems and characterization of fungi that kill amphibians in North America.
If you are lucky enough to find mushrooms fruiting that haven’t been frozen solid, please bring them to the November meeting. We will spend the first bit of time (around 15 minutes) talking about what we have brought to the tables. 

Michigan posts fire maps online for morel hunters

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“There’s an App for that..”  Some government departments, i.e. Michigan’s Dept. of Natural Resources, are far ahead of others in providing pertinent information for successful mushroom hunting. Looking for morels in fresh burns is common practice in the spring and a map of recent fires online would be very useful here in Oregon.

Finding fungi using satellites! Fascinating work!

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Jessica, from my recent mushroom id. class,  attended a talk at the Breitenbush Mushroom conference about NASA satellite imaging and mushroom hunting. I found an information link on a NW mushroom club FB  post.  It seems that NASA can create maps of fungi that are in relationship with trees by using satellite images and research from above how the fungi are affecting the trees cycles, etc.  Here is an exerpt from the article to be found at:

nasasatellite“The team studied images of four U.S. forest research plots that are part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Forest Global Earth Observatory. In these forests, which include 130,000 trees across 77 species, the tree species associated with each type of fungus had already been mapped from the ground. The researchers analyzed images of the forest canopies taken by the NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat-5 satellite from 2008 to 2011 in many different ways, searching for similarities that lined up with areas of fungus dominance. They found what they were looking for when they examined various milestones throughout the growing season, such as when the trees leafed out in spring and when they reached peak greenness. There were significant differences in the timing of these milestones between regions dominated by the two types of fungi.

Having identified the timing sequences related to each type of fungus, the researchers developed and tested a statistical model to predict the areas of fungus domination in any particular Landsat image from canopy changes alone. They found they could predict the fungus association correctly in 77 percent of the images. They went on to produce landscape-wide maps of fungi associations, uncovering intriguing patterns in forests that will be studied in greater depth in the future.”

Yellow jackets!

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yellowjacketMushroom hunting can be dangerous!  This time of year the yellow jackets get very cranky and may attack even if you get near their nest.  In the last 2 weeks, one person was stung 4 times on my field trip, twice in the face. Another person had a dog step into a nest. He was covered with YJs, requiring a comb to remove them and he needed an immediate trip to the vet, accompanied by stung owners.  After my stinging bout with YJs last fall, I now carry a jar of meat tenderizer to make a paste for the sting, antihistamines (Benadryl) and instant ice packs in my car.  If you only have ice, it really helps.

According to what I have read, you shouldn’t run from the site, but back away slowly without making quick movements to stir their aggression. (HOW do you not run?!)  They say to never squish or kill them because it releases a pheromone causing the others to attack even more. (HOW do you not hit at them?)  I did both and was stung and bit many times as they chased me.

Prevention is the best defense.  Keep a keen eye out for them as you forage. Move away from YJs slowly and leave the area without running.  Wear tight clothing so they can’t enter sleeves and pant legs.  Some say dark or bright colors attract them along with flowery fragrances (shampoos and deodorants.) Wearing the recommended khaki color doesn’t seem prudent during deer hunting season, however. Most mushroom hunters will eventually encounter this hazard over years in the woods, so mushroom hunting with a partner is highly recommended.  And dogs, well, the safest place is at home.

Here’s another article about Yellow Jackets:


Found on the field trip

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Pycnoporellus alboluteus. No common name.

This was a fun find with the surface of its pores now eroded into spines. I usually see small 4″ orange specimens, but this was large, maybe 3 ft long.  It’s one of those mushrooms you notice in a book and hope you will find someday because it is one of a kind.  Lucky for us who hunt in the western mountains, it is not all that uncommon. pycnopores

Flattened along a rotten log with eroded pores that now look tooth-edged.

Flattened along a rotten log with eroded pores that now look tooth-edged.