Spring mushroom indicator species

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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.

Note the disappearing veil remnants on the stem! Smell the distinct flavor of cucumber from the underside of the cap.

Note the disappearing veil remnants on the stem! Smell the distinct flavor of cucumber from the underside of the cap.

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.






Michael Beug's photo. Common find in the spring in Central Oregon.

Michael Beug’s photo. Common find in the spring in Central Oregon.

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!


Ochocos on Memorial Day

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Baskets of morels 2017We worked hard for what we found, but everyone went home with some morels after eating many of them with meals for 3 days.  My legs were tired!  These were found about 5100 ft in mixed conifer.  I ran into another club member who had a large cooler 4″ deep in morels.  He said they were at 4800-5000 ft.  We didn’t have as much luck, even with 5 of us hunting.

Good luck out there!

Ochoco burnt snag

Beautiful weekend in the Ochocos.

Morels of Ochoco2017

Divying up the rest of the morels between us hard-stomping morel hunters. Some were 4″ tall.

Learning to identify trees will help you find mushrooms.

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Mushrooms we find in Oregon are usually associated with certain trees and some are tree specific.  We have invited Dr. Edward Jenkins of Oregon State University to share his knowledge and his book about identifying trees and shrubs in Oregon.  Armed with this knowledge, we will be more successful in hunting for our favorite fungi. He will speak at our club’s May 10 meeting, Weds.,  at 6 PM at the Environmental Center in downtown Bend.  We will also have time to talk mushrooms and share our morel stories, if we have been so lucky.  Please join us!
Trees by Jenkins

Ja Schindler – Growing mushrooms talk

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What a fascinating and well-attended talk last night at the April COMC meeting!  Over 60 folks listened to Ja Schindler of Fungi For the People in Dexter, OR.  Ja described his work through slides of the many species he cultivates and sells wholesale to suppliers.  He has workshops on growing your own mushrooms from spores at his lab in Lowell, OR.    Ja got us very excited about delicious species that would do well growing in our area and gave away free starter kits to those who stayed through his 2 hour talk (Shiitake and Stropharia.)  His partner, Valerie, has been working with him on the medicinal aspects of mushrooms, creating tinctures and infusions that provide immunity boosts for all sorts of ailments. It was hard to stop the meeting with so much yet to hear and we will definitely invite him back for another visit.  Our club now has 15 new members from this one meeting! IMG_1930

Wood Blewits in the Spring??

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I received an email from an enthusiastic and seemingly knowledgeable mushroom hunter who just discovered our club via this website. He sent remarkable photos of Blewits, Clitocybe nuda (a.k.a. Lepista nuda) that he recently found in “eastern Oregon.”  Some say this fall fungi is their favorite mushroom. I don’t find it in Central Oregon, even in the fall, or else I am believing they are all a dangerous Cortinarius species. Corts have rusty-brown spores, Blewits have light-lavendar colored spores.  Such a lucky find for Jordan!

Clitocybe_nuda blewitt2

Here is what he wrote:

“..I have never found Blewits in the spring before and these were growing under juniper trees.
Macroscopic ID Characteristics(MIC’s) for Clitocybe nuda are-

1) Purple, beautiful purple when fresh. tan-purple in age

2) Purple, deep lavender gills that are attached, notched

3) debris adhering on base, visible mycelium

4) In duff, with organic matter-in the drip-zone of trees; planted and native

5) Pinkish-buff spore print

6) Fruity, sweetish-odor”

We are excited to have more passionate fungi funatics join our club.


Happy Spring – mushrooms beginning to show

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Mushroom Man Dale has been out scouting again and found about 30 or more Verpa bohemicas along the Columbia River near Portland this week.  Yes, they look like morels, but the caps of Verpas are only attached at the very top of the stem, like a thimble.  The stem is usually stuffed with cotton-like fibers, then hollow in age.  Although many people eat these with no problem, it is best to parboil them first and discard the water.  Studies show this species contains a small amount of Gyromitrin, a toxin, the doesn’t completely leave the cooked mass, so don’t each many at one sitting!

The best part of this find is that they indicate morels are close behind, maybe a couple weeks.  Remember this is near Portland, so you do the math – 500 ft. of elevation per week.  If these were picked was last week, near see level and we are at 3600 ft, well, about Mother’s Day week around here.  (That is when I usually get my mushroom permit.)  Please let us know what you find!


First meeting of Spring – Weds. April 12!

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We are excited about our speaker for April who has an interesting website called Fungi For the People. https://fungiforthepeople.org . He will speak to us on home cultivation of mushrooms and other topics that are dear to his heart.  Join us at the Environmental Center in downtown Bend, 16 NW Kansas, at 6 PM.  If you would like to join our club, registration will be available at the meeting.  We will have future meetings on Weds., May 10 and  June 14. Stay tuned for more details.

Taken from his website:

Ja Schindler

Ja is the founder and director of Fungi For The People, a non-profit organization with the mission to help build resilient and ecologically enhanced communities. Since 2011, more than 3,000 people from all over the world have joined their hands-on course.

From his research lab, farm and mushroom homestead in Oregon, Ja is cultivating a diversity of projects to support citizen science and ecological restoration.

As part of the Mushroom Cultivation Design Center, he is producing cultivation supplies and mushroom extracts while maintaining a culture library of over 200 mushroom species. Other ongoing projects include developing an open-source mushroom spore bank; mycelium stormwater filtration research with Oregon municipalities; mycelium natural building projects; mushroom Food Forest designs; and progressing natural technologies.

Ja Schindler2These are some of the species Ja works with during his cultivation workshops:

White Elm Oyster – Hypsizygus ulmarius 

Phoenix Oyster: Pleurotus pulmonarius

Golden Oyster:  Pleurotus citrinopileatus

Reishi –  Ganoderma lucidum

Garden Giant –  Stropharia rugoso-annulata

Shiitake – Lentinula edodes          

Shaggy Mane – Coprinus comatus

Shaggy Parasol – Macrolepiota rachodes 

Chicken of the Woods – Laetiporus conifericola

Enoki – Flammulina velutipes

Lion’s Mane – Herecium erinaceus

Maiitake – Grifola frondosa



An excellent potluck with great photos and plenty of sharing.

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Dave's winning Stropharia photoCongratulations to Dave Prybylowski for his winning photo of Stropharia hornemanii at our annual Mushroom Hunter’s Survival Potluck last night! Many wonderful mushroom pictures were submitted and voted on by the 45 or so attendees. Dave won a hand-drawn framed print of a beautiful morel, drawn by our own Julie Hamilton! Great shot, Dave!

Stropharia hornemanii has purple-brown spores that you can see in this photo collecting on the skirt-like veil on the stem.  It likes growing on well-decayed wood and is generally considered inedible.  The floccose stem is an excellent identifying feature.

Besides the great photos for the photo contest, attendees brought many mushroom dishes from salads, main dishes, even desserts.  Lawrence and Ken arranged a huge screen in the room to show pictures from our field trips and many interesting mushroom shots, accompanied by music.  There was a word puzzle and a mixer questionnaire, both had prizes for the winners.

Amanita cakeThis is Mary Peter’s Amanita Cake!  Chocolate inside with dark cherries marinated in cognac. What a site to see!  Incredibly delicious as it is beautiful.
In this photo you will also notice cute meringue mushrooms that melt in your mouth and next to them, my candy cap cupcakes, flavored only with candy cap mushrooms (Lactarius rubidus.) They were purchased dried from a mushroom seller at a booth in Eugene. $10 oz.  The maple flavor is INTENSE  and permeated my kitchen all evening. I found the recipe here at http://www.cupcakeproject.com
If you missed the potluck this year, make sure not to let that happen next time!  The food is so interesting and tasty and the folks who come are eager to share their mushroom knowledge and questions.  Join us!