My apologies to whoever did this lovely collage of mushrooms. My friend cut this out of a magazine and gave it to me, then forgot which magazine it was. I can’t give credit, but I wanted to share this anyway. If you know the artist or magazine, please let me know so I can acknowledge their work.
I have received several emails about this mushroom and we found several yesterday on a field trip. Because it’s favorite host is pine, we find it in Central Oregon each mushroom season and the mushroom lasts a long time. It can grow to be over a foot in diameter! Sometimes called the Giant Sawgill, though I have never heard this. I learned it as Lentinus ponderosus, but they changed it to Neolentinus because the brown rot it causes in pines is not white like Lentinus species. With that in mind, it isn’t a good candidate for your compost pile. As an edible, it is tough and just okay, in my opinion, though some sites online say the young specimens are quite good. I do know that you need to slice it very very thin. Maybe my mushroom was too old.
Julie Hamilton worked many hours on this tri-fold brochure for dog owners to have at home. Check you yard and property for these mushrooms that come up most commonly in the spring in Central Oregon. They grow in my yard in SE Bend every year so I know that there are others. The folks in LaPine have large fruitings of Amanita aprica most springs, so do diligence and frequently check, then dispose of the mushrooms in the trash, NOT the compost!
If we can save one dog’s life or a trip to the vet, then it is all worth the effort. Every year we get calls to identify mushrooms that are poisoning animals.
No, this is not a morel.
These mushrooms come up in people’s gardens in the spring. They emerge from a purple fuzzy egg into a phallic form that has a sticky green spore mass oozing at the top. Most stinkhorns are putrid, but this one just smells strange. I have never seen them washed, but Marianne thought they might be morels and I can see the resemblance, but NO! I have read that they purple eggs are edible, but you go feat them first and post how they taste! Fascinating mushroom!
We found some old spring kings and left them, but most were fresh enough to take home. Many of the buttons were still underground and none of them had worms!! We found these about 5600 ft. off side roads on the Cascade Lakes Hwy toward Mt. Bachelor. I know the coming heat wave will make these babies pop, but it will also hatch out the worms. Gotta get them quick!
Conjoined morels often have genes from different parents. They can derive nutrition from multiple resources. Triggers for fruiting are complex and predicting where and when they will show up can vary from inscrutable to certain. They are experts at camouflage and require pattern recognition skills to observe. Indeed, trying to pin down morels can cause a form of ‘madness’ in humans.
Join me as we take out our tricorders and delve into the eccentricity of Morels!
Ron and I (Linda) came home with enough at the end of the day to feel good about our two night trip to Ochocos. It is so very beautiful up there in the spring that it is hard to complain. We looked hard for morels from 5000 ft to 6000 ft. and could not figure the best altitude for fruiting. The Spring King boletes, Boletus rex-veris, surprised us with the fresh and firm specimens and they are all drying in my food dryer as we speak.
While hunting morels, we often find other fungi fruiting in the same habitat. True, it is disappointing not to find morels, but other interesting mushrooms reassure us that we are in the right place at the right time. Maybe the morels are just not in this spot.
One of my favorite indicator species is Tricholoma vernaticum, the Cuke Trich. It is a large white mushroom with a distinct smell of cucumber. Note the evanescent ring on the lower stem. To me, smelling this mushroom is like a breath of spring – like the spring flowers and lilacs in my yard. It puts me in that exciting place where I can feel the aliveness of earth as life blossoms all around me. I love to find it in the woods and share the intense aroma with others. All the literature I have says it is not an edible species. Okay with me.
Another frequent fruiter during morel season is Hygrophorus subalpinus. This large white mushroom is nearly underground early in the season and has a coating of dirt when picked. If you look at the gills under the cap, you will notice they are very thick, almost like they were made of wax. Rubbing a piece of the gill tissue between your fingers gives you the impression that your fingers are being coated with a thin layer of paraffin. Yes. This is a Waxy-cap, Subalpine waxy-cap. No, it is not edible unless you like to eat wax, and David Arora (Mushrooms Demystified) says it will coat your mouth. What I notice most about Hygrophorus subalpinus is its whiteness. I mean, this mushroom is so very white WHITE that is seems unnatural, especially since it seems to get covered in dirt! When you turn it over to look at those waxy gills, note the beautiful white mushroom through and through! I wonder if they could make lotion from that waxy coating!