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.

Matsutake mushrooms are up!

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Julie's matsieJulie was lucky to find a mature Matsie (Tricholoma magnivelare) this week on the roads to Mt. Bachelor, maybe 5000 ft. Your local mushroom permit says that you cannot pick a Matsie without purchasing a special permit. You are, however,  allowed incidental picking for educational purposes. “Oh, is that what this is, Officer?!” Ignorance is bliss, sometimes.

Note the amber staining on all parts of the aging mushroom.

We ate a few small Matsies tonight for dinner, compliments of a friend.  I cooked them directly in the rice and saute’d one in butter to top the miso/edamame soup. That red hots/dirty socks odor is so distinctive and delicious paired with Japanese cuisine!  My standard is to slice them thin and add to a stir-fry, but tonight I wanted everything to taste like Matsutake. It worked. Yum!

Sparassis – an excellent edible!

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Small Sparassis on Santiam

Small Sparassis on Santiam

Thank you, Ellen, for your generous gift of a young Sparassis radicata.  I checked my Sparassis tree earlier in the season, but no luck. Either it was too early (most likely) or someone else got there first but you assured me yours wasn’t near my spot.  This mushroom comes up in the same place most every year, so I hope you marked it on your GPS for next October.

Sparassis is supposedly a parasite on conifers, but it is very slow in damaging a tree.  We have been finding it for over 20 years at the base of the same Doug Fir and the tree still looks healthy. From the literature, I understand that it also fruits on pine and oak trees. That was new to me.

Sparassis is a real pain to clean and the base is frequently infested with worms. Best to get young specimens and cut the base right away to see if the worms have taken over.  You may end up with half of the mushroom. This specimen had just a few worm holes and cleaned relatively easily with the petals being so short.  We fried it in butter and had divine omelets this morning!  Many thanks!

Fun in the woods today.

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It's official! 3 pounds!

It’s official! 3 pounds!

Classy Susanne creates a bouquet of color from mushroom finds.

Classy Susanne creates a bouquet of color from mushroom finds.

Buddy's closeup shot of a Cortinarius species cob-webby veil

Buddy’s closeup shot of a Cortinarius species cob-webby veil

Today, eight of us ventured to the Odell Lake area searching for wet spots in a very dry forest.  The beauty of the woods on a sunny Autumn day cannot be given words. Although we found few edibles, we collected a delightful diversity for the club meeting tomorrow night.  Buddy M. took these pictures.  The first one is Linda holding Jim H.’s  huge 3 pound KING bolete!! At least two of us walked right by this and missed it. WHAT A FIND, JIM!




Reminder of COMC meeting

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Don’t forget that the Central Oregon Mushroom Club will meet on Friday evening, September 30, at 6 PM at the Environmental Center in downtown Bend.  We are heading out tomorrow to find mushrooms for you to view during the first part of the meeting.  Please bring any you find in your yards or journeys. See you there.

Autumn awakens

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It was so very beautiful on Santiam Pass today during the class field trip. Black lava, red and orange and yellow leaves backlit by the sun. The vine maples were showing us their best finery.


How Trees Talk to Each Other

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Click here to watch a short talk on how trees talk to each other:


Guess what plays a significant role in how trees communicate underground! Well worth 18 minutes of your time.


Categories: Education