Number 341, April 1998

Spore Prints

Electronic Edition is published monthly, September through Juneby the
Puget Sound Mycological Society
Center for Urban Horticulture, Box 354115
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
(206) 522-6031

Agnes A. Sieger, Editor
Dick Sieger, HTML Editor


Tuesday, April 14, at 7:30 pm at the Center for UrbanHorticulture, 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle.

Our guest speaker this month is Norwegian mycologist Gro Gulden.The title of her talk is "Mapping and Distribution of Mushrooms."Dr. Gulden has been curator at the Botanical Museumof Oslo, Norway, for more than 30 years. Her research has beenprimarily in agaric taxonomy, where she has focused on the familyTricholomataceae and the genus Galerina. She is interestedin alpine and arctic macromycetes and has travelled extensively inarctic and alpine regions. Myco-sociological work, especially inconnection with air pollution and forest dieback, took her to studyin the Black Forest of Germany and to the study of mycorrhiza. Thatinterest also brought her to Corvallis, Oregon, where she iscurrently spending a sabbatical year.

If your last name begins with the letters Q–V, please bringa plate of refreshments for the social hour.


April 10–11 Field Trip
April 13 Basic I.D. class (for members who registered)
April 14 Membership meeting, CUH, 7:30 pm
April 20 Basic I.D. class (for members who registered)
April 20 Board meeting
April 24 Spore Prints deadline
April 27 Basic I.D. class (for members who registered)
May 2 Field Trip
May 4 Basic I.D. class (for members who registered)
May 9 Field Trip
May 11 Basic I.D. class (for members who registered))
May 12 Membership meeting, CUH, 7:30 pm

BOARD NEWS Agnes Sieger

Education Chair Brandon Matheny reported that the Beginning I.D.classes are set up for Monday nights this spring. Classes are for 6weeks, 24 persons per class. Membership Chair Bernice Velateguireported that we now have 470–480 members. Starting thismonth, we will deposit $200 monthly into the building fund. Rostersnot picked up at the banquet will be available at the Aprilmembership meeting. Rosters still not picked up will then be mailedto members. Joanne Young has the reservation form for park sitesfor the summer picnic. We need a volunteer to find a site andcoordinate the activity. Because of a football game conflict, thedate of the annual exhibit has been changed to November 7–8,1998.


We have some exciting opportunities as well as challenges facingus in the next few years. We have wonderful things going on in theareas of fungi cultivation, education, and gastronomy as well asthe challenges of how do we deal with the very probable collisionof the timing of our annual show and Seahawks using Husky Stadiumand the every widening loss of old growth forests. It is a reallygreat time to be elected to be your president because we have sucha talented mix of long-time members with their tremendous knowledgeand newer members with all the enthusiasm and energy to learn andmake things happen. I am looking forward to the next two years andhope that we can continue the trends of bringing our interest infungi to a larger and larger club membership.


The 1998 roster is ready thanks to the hard work of PatriceBenson. For those who missed the annual banquet, the rosters willbe available for pickup at the next regular membership meeting.Please plan to attend and pick up your copy so we can avoid themailing expense. If you see errors in your address or phone numberor if there is any missing information, please bring this to theattention of any club officer or board member and we will get acorrection added to the data base and published in the SporePrints.


Videographer: PSMS needs one or two people to videotapethe programs at our membership meetings. The tapes are kept in thelibrary for member use. You don't need to own a camcorder (PSMS hasone) and you don't need any special skills! You can learn on thejob. Please volunteer even if you don't think you can attend everysingle meeting.

PSMS Picnic Planner: In mid summer, with no meetings orfield trips, we start to miss each other. In years past PSMS hashad a picnic at a park in or near Seattle, usually in July. We canhave one again this year, but we need a coordinator to make thearrangements and take care of the details. If interested, call DougWard or Joanne Young.

Field Trip Hosts: We still need hosts for upcoming fieldtrips. This is great way to learn mycology, meet people, and findout where to hunt mushrooms. To volunteer, call or write Field TripChair Mike Lovelady.


Ed Foy will teach a course in mushroom cultivation at DiscoverU., International Trade Center, Seattle, from 10 am to 1 pm,Saturday, May 2. Attendees will take home a bag ofPleurotus-spawned straw that will fruit for several months.Those interested can phone (206) 443-0447. Cost of the course is$38.00. PSMS members will not pay the additional $4.00 materialsfee.


Check out KUOW Radio Gourmet Mauny Kaseburg's web site for an article onmorels and verpas. Sheincludes threerecipes from Patrice Benson, the "Marquessa of Mushrooms."

MARCH 21 FIELD TRIP Mike Lovelady

I arrived at the shelter at about 8:30 am to find field triphost Wayne Elston already waiting. After greeting him with ahandshake, I walked to the back of the shelter and found a nicepatch of Coprinusatramentarius with four cans of unopened beer beside it.This mushroom, known as the alcohol ink cap, is edible, but ifeaten with alcohol, may cause physical distress. It pays to knowyour mushroom.

By 9:30 or so, about 40 people and three or four dogs weremilling around the shelter. Brian Luther gave a brief talk on thecollecting and development of Verpa (Ptychoverpa)bohemica fruiting bodies, their association with blackcottonwoods, and potential problems with eating them. Then WayneElston, Brandon Matheny, and I took three groups out to hunt.Although only 10 verpas were found, we were lucky and it didn'train. PSMS Identification Chair Brian Luther, assisted by BrandonMatheny and Dick Sieger, identified several species. Dick Siegerpassed around a minute but exquisite white Lachnellula sp.for people to look at through a hand lens. At least a couple ofpeople collected some of the abundant nettles, the old stalks ofwhich were covered with Lasiosphaeria acuta. Noticeablyabsent were Pleurotus ostreatus, some of which almost alwayscomes in on this field trip. Maybe we'll do better at the April10–11 field trip.

GROWING OYSTER MUSHROOMS IS EASY! Rob Countess,Fungifama (South Vancouver Island M.S.), March 1998

I never met a house plant I couldn't kill. Even the hardiestspecies wither away under my care. I just don't have the patiencefor plantsthey grow too slowly. Now, mushrooms on the other hand,I'm so good at growing them, that they're springing up from betweenmy toes. As a child, I was not aware of my special talent forcultivating fungi. It was just so easy that I took it for granted,but my mother was always very proud of me. Wet towels left in pilesof dirty underwear in the comer of my room produced wonderfulcolonies of mildew; bread crusts left under my bed flowered inblues and greens; Brussels sprouts and broccoli hidden in my secretspot under our kitchen table soon sprouted white fur coats, as didmany of my pet fish at the bottom of my aquarium. (Yes, the bottom.Fish may float at first but they sink if you leave 'em longenough.) Let's not even talk about the back of my fridge. I think Ifirst became aware of my gift when I borrowed a friend's car for acouple ! of weeks and mushrooms began sprouting from the floor.

Mushrooms are exciting to grow. Unlike boring plants, fungi growso quickly I am compelled to check them hourly when I'm home sothat I don't miss any of the action. They are like mutant spacealien blobs that have descended upon our planet and are trying todigest it all with their eclectic array of exoenzymes. Lucky for usthey are edible or we might have lost the battle already.

Let me describe my most recent experience with mushroomcultivating and maybe I can convert some of you closetbotanists.

Many days before day 1, Renata Outerbridge moves into town andasks me if I want some old oyster mushroom spawn that she's hadsince the dawn of time. I say "sure." She has two species. (Spawnis mushroom mycelium growing on grain, usually rye.)

Day 1 I swing by Borden mercantile and pick up a bale of straw(dead wheat plants with their heads chopped off) to grow themushrooms on. From there I head to Sean McCann's place. Sean has apropane burner and an old oil drum which we use to sterilize thestraw. After cooking it for an hour, we dump it on a spawning tableand let it cool and drain. When the dead wheat plants with theirheads chopped off have cooled enough, we release the fungus (soundof trumpet fanfare), mixing the spawn in to speed the rate ofdecay, er, colonization. We stuff the inoculated dead wheat plantswith their heads cut off into plastic bags and poke holes in thebags to let the fungus breathe. I go home and put the bags in awarm humid room.

Day 2 Nothing happens. I grow impatient.

Day 3 The fungus stirs. All the individual rye grains from thespawn have grown nice fur coats.

Day 4 The colonies are 1 cm across now.

Day 5 The colonies are 2 cm in diameter.

Day 8 The bags are 30% colonized, but the mycelium issparse.

Day 12 The bags are almost fully colonized; the mycelium isstill sparse.

Day 14 The bags are fully colonized and the mycelium is thickand white. Primordia (baby mushrooms) have already started to formin clusters of 30 to 100. They are grayish and have no capsyet.

Day 15 am The primordia have caps a few millimeters across andthey are BLUE!!! I did not expect this and get very excited. I callmy mom. She's still proud of me.

Day 15 pm The caps are almost 1 cm across now. All the bags arefruiting, some with up to 30 clusters of primordia. The 'shroomsare growing quickly and becoming trumpet shaped to tongue shaped.It's exciting. I check them hourly, and they are bigger each time.Cool.

Day 16 Disaster strikes! My girlfriend, Margaret, keeps tworats, and Clovis, the smarter of the two (rats, that is), somehowbreaks through my mushroom security system and seriously nibbles ona few clusters.

Day 17 The mushroom is now rat-proof.

Day 18 The mushrooms look like they are ready to harvest. Wehave a bunch on a pizza. Delicious! Clovis looks at me remorsefullyand I forgive her; she even gets a few small fresh mushrooms tonibble.

Day 19 I refrain from harvesting all the mushrooms in order tosee just how big they will get. The caps are no longer blue butrather a faint blue-gray. The color intensity fades as they getlarger.

Day 20 Some caps have heavy pale pink spore prints from the capsabove them. (Pluteaceae!)

Day 21 The largest caps are more than 12 cm across. I harvestenough to fill two shopping bags from a total four bags of straw. Icall my mom. She says she's proud of me.

MUSHROOM MECCA: HAIDA GWAII Jennifer Lawlor,Fungifama (South Vancouver Island M.S.), March 1998

Last year at this time, I looked back to the previous Fall andbegrudged the time I spent indoors wishing I could be in theforest. I was determined not to miss another season. Unsatisfiedwith casual, interspersed forays, I needed more.

Recalling mushroom stories told to me by others who hadjourneyed to HaidaGwaii [to go commercial mushroom picking], I knew this waswhere I wanted to be.

When the end of August rolled around and I had to fly out ofAlaska (remember the ferry strike?), I was more than a littlefinancially insecure. Still, I was not going to give up my dream. Ihad heard of chanterelle picking on the islands but hadn't a cluewhere the sites were, or how to get to them by foot. Would there bechanterelles everywhere? Would I see a shimmering golden hue as Iapproached the islands from the water? I hadn't a clue. Driven bymy foolish passion, I hopped on the ferry from Prince Rupert headedtoward Skidegate, Graham Island. Things would work themselves out(I hoped!)

At 4 am we reached Skidegate, still dark before sunrise. Worryset in as I realized that once all the cars left the ferry, I wouldbe on my own. "Uhh, excuse me, but you wouldn't happen to knowanything about chanterelle picking, would you?" I asked the youngwoman on my right as we waited to disembark. "Well, I don't reallyknow, but I am with some other folks who have been here pickingbefore. I think we are headed to Skidegate Lake, did you need aride?" Did I need a ride? Yahoo! Mushrooms, here I come....

Within hours I was setting up a temporary camp on SkidegateLake, Moresby Island, with my new friends. This was my home for thenext couple of months: a beautiful place! Just under 2 km fromus were the buying stationsa total of four impermanent structuresput together with young alder and blue tarpaulins or a simpleextended canopy from the side of a trailer.

The buzz around mushroom camp: no chanterelles. There had been aflush early in the summer followed by a dry spell. We needed a lotof rain if there was going to be any season at all. Oh well, I washappy to be there. I headed into the forest to take a look formyself.

There were mushrooms everywhere—Cantharellus,Hydnellum, Lactarius, Russula, Polyozellus, and Sparassis to name a few genera. I headed back to camp thatevening with a big grin on my face declaring: Mushrooms galore.Well, I guess not everyone there was interested in genera otherthan Cantharellus.

The rains eventually came, but either they were too early or toolate, before the full moon or after the full moon, the weather wastoo mild or else too cooleveryone had their own theory as to whythe chanterelles did not fruit in abundance. El Niño? I wascontinually told stories of entire hillsides glimmering with thebeautiful golden yellow chanterelle. It would have been a sight tosee. Perhaps next year.

I spent two months camping next to Skidegate Lake and was ableto support myself (and save some money too) by harvestingchanterelles. Each day I would head into the forest fully adornedwith rain gear, a knife, and a five-gallon bucket strapped to myback. Most days I filled my bucket. At the end of the day, I tookmy harvest to the buying station and gently poured the beautifulchanterelles into several small plastic containers carefullyseparated from my night's feast of blue chanterelles, orcauliflower mushrooms, chicken-of-the-woods, or pines. I loved thispart of the daysurrounded by the fresh pumpkin aroma ofchanterelles.

Camp life was another daily pleasure. I had heard so manyterrible stories about mushroom pickers being disrespectful,competitive, and unfriendly. My experience with the pickers onHaida Gwaii was completely the opposite. There was a real sense ofrespect between people and toward the mushroom resource. A pickerwho showed up at the buying station with a button was scorned byboth the buyer and other pickerseveryone wanted to maximize theharvest and it doesn't take an ecologist to realize that thisrequires a responsible harvest.

Chanterelle picking was a wonderful experience in so many ways:spending so much time focused on one species gave me a real senseof familiarity and kinship with it, and searching for the elusivepatch was like a game and inspired my primeval hunting instinct. Iwas living closer to my roots, supporting myself (albeitindirectly) by harvesting a product sustainably from the forest;and perhaps most importantly, I saw and was a part of thetransformation of the forest and its fungal communities. In the twomonths I spent at Skidegate Lake, I learned more about fungi than Ihave since I first discovered the kingdom for myself. My curiosityhas just been whetted; I am dreaming of the fall.


April 18–19: "The Myxomycetes:Small is Beautiful," a workshop with Dr. Harold Keller and theNew Mexico Mycological Society. NAMA and NMMS members $25,non-members $35. Check to "Myxomycete Workshop," Doris Eng, NMMS,724 Madison NE, Albuquerque NM 87110-6217. More info: (505) 2567899or e-mall AmanitaX @aol.com.

May 28–31: Oregon Mycological Society Spring Study Foray inthe Wallowa Mountains of Northeast Oregon, at Wallowa MethodistCamp. Orson and Hope Miller will be myco-coaches. Contact MaggieRogers (e-mail rogersmm@ aol.com).

June 12–14: Southern Idaho Mycological Society SpringForay, Quaker Hill Church Camp, just outside McCall, Idaho. ContactMarie Bailey, 160 NW 6th St., Ontario OR 97914.

Aug. 17–23: NAMA's Mexico Foray. Join 39 others to forayMexico's mountains above Mexico City. Hotel lodgings. Contact KenCrouse, Foray Coordinator (910) 973-5569.
Aug. 2730: 18th Telluride Mushroom Festival, Telluride, Colorado.Contact Fungifile, phone (303) 296-9359.

Aug. 29–Sept. 5: Foray and workshop marking retirement ofRoy Watling; social event and Boletus workshop. KindroganField Centre, Enochdhu, Blairgowrie, Perthshire PH1 0 7PG(Scotland) U.K. Telephone 01250 881286.

Sept. 25–27: Annual Spokane Mushroom Club Foray at HillsResort, Priest Lake,Idaho. Contact Kelly Chadwick, W-720 Park Pl., Spokane, WA99205.

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Oct. 12–18: Forays and gourmet dining (including truffles)in Italy, starting in Pisa and ending in Rome. Cost $1,998 doubleoccupancy plus airfare. Contact Albert J. Casciero, (301) 593-4620(e-mail casciero@wric.org).

Oct. 23–25: Oregon Mycological Society Fall Foray, CampTapawingo, Oregon, west of Fall City. Contact Conrad Thorne, (503)281-0500.

Oct. 24–25: Mycological Mysteries: Northwest MushroomEcology, introductory seminar with Dr. Fred Rhoades, at ChinookLearning Center on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, north of Seattle.One college credit available, tuition $145. Contact North CascadesInstitute, (306) 856-5700 ext. 209.


Aries (Mar. 21–Apr. 19): You are energetic in your mushroomhunting and love to explore new territory. You visit several sitesin the course of a day's foraying even if the first site had morethan enough mushrooms. You are confident and enthusiastic, and youact on inspiration. When everyone else knows it's too dry formushrooms, you go find them. You like to make quick identificationsand you risk poisoning yourself.