This link will lead you to a current 2-hour interview with Paul Stamets. You may prefer to watch it in 2 or 3 settings so you can think about what he says, but he is so fascinating to me that I sat through the whole thing. I have heard some of these stories in his other talks, but he always adds a little extra. Well worth you time. I am so thankful that I have this great hobby! We are living at the perfect time for mushroom exploration and discovery. The sky (the universe?) is the limit!
The local extension service gave Jackie my number and she sent me these photos of a cluster of Chlorophyllum brunneum growing in her ancient pile of grass clippings. With Buddy’s help, I cooked some for her and went out to get more to eat and share. Because it has been so very cold (in the low 20s at night) and we have had snow and sleet, I expected they would all be gone. Fortunately the grass clippings kept them somewhat protected and we harvested many more to eat and marvel.
Check out your pastures and gardens for unseasonable surprises!
Buddy took the time to harvest these Chlorophyllum brunneum buttons as they emerged from one central clump and pose them for this great photo. They are excellent eating, reminding me of Portobellos and beautiful to find , especially in cold November!
Our club met for one last time before spring on a wintery evening, Weds. Nov. 8, but this time we used our own resources instead of hiring from outside. Many thanks to Julie H. who brought so many good mushrooms to share from her coast trip a few days ago. The heavy freeze and snow really closed down our hunting areas this side of the mountains unless things drastically warm up. Julie offered an intro into how to find and begin to ID mushrooms. Linda shared the specimens from the table using our newly laminated ID cards. Laurence showed a short part of Taylor Lockwood’s DVD and we ended with a panel discussion and story sharing from attendees. Such a fun evening. Here is photo of our little panel and some of the mushrooms Julie shared with us.
We found no less than 5 different species of Amanitas in the Central Oregon coast range near the Umqua river on Halloween day. Amazing specimens. I am sorry that I was too excited to take many photos, but I have one and the rest from when I got home. The main cluster, and most exciting was underneath a big leaf maple, though Doug firs were nearby. 4 GIANtT mushrooms, one with a stem of 12″ and cap of 8″, were pushing through the moss and maple leaves on a glorious fall day. I picked them all hoping they were A. calyptroderma, a species we had sampled at the Eugene club’s mushroom show. I am not experienced in identifying the edible Amanitas and have been taught to avoid all of them. As I learn, I have become more comfortable with the concept of trying Amanitas, but not finding and eating them myself.
I CAREFULLY dug up each one getting all of the volva from the base which was mostly buried in the ground and wrapped them gently in wax paper. As soon as I got home, I started to work on them with all the info and every book I could find. I emailed my trusted identifiers with photos and descriptions and posted on PNW mushroom identification’s FB page. From everything I learned, these are Amanita calyptroderma, though a darker brown version than usual. No one would give me the green light on eating them unless I drove to the valley for a hands-on ID. I totally get that. Then they froze outside and their features have changed. If only I could find these often enough to get completely familiar and comfortable. They are just too close to the deadly A. phalloides to make it worth the experiment. Maybe next time. More Amanitas later.