Number 359, February 2000

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

We still need a field trip chair. Lynn Phillipsis working on a financial statement, which will be published inSpore Prints. Jean Chin is updating the PSMS roster. Theplan is to distribute it at the Survivor's Banquet. Patrice Bensonof the Nominating Committee reported that five members had agreedto run for the board. She will prepare ballots for inclusion inSpore Prints. Lynn Elwell reported that plans for the flowershow were proceeding well, but she still needed a fewvolunteers.


Feb. 8 Membership meeting, 7:30 PM, CUH

Feb. 14 Board meeting, 7:30 PM, CUH BoardRoom

Feb. 25 Spore Prints deadline

Mar. 18 PSMS Survivors' Banquet, Brier Hall,Edmonds Community College


All of you who attended the banquet last yearknow what a fabulous dining experience we shared. This year, chefWalter Bronowitz, his staff, and students of the Culinary ArtsProgram will again amaze us with their gourmet skills. Dinner willbe served in the dining facilities of Edmonds Community College at20000 68th Avenue West in Lynn-wood. Save the date: Saturday, March18. Doors will open at 6:30 PM, and dinner will be served at 7:30PM. The cost is $25 per person. You may bring your own wine.Glassware is provided. The menu will not be available until afterthis newsletter goes out, but it will be posted on the members pageof our web site as soon as possible.

The evening's program will include announcementsof new officers and the presentation of the "Golden Mushroom Award"for outstanding service to PSMS. Also, Ben Woo has agreed to be ourspeaker this year.

Registration Information

Sign up at the February membership meeting orsend your registration and payment to

Bernice Velategui

Please include the name of each person attendingand the entree desired. Call Steven Bell or Bernice Velategui ifyou have any questions or if you'd like to help with decorations orgreeting (or helping people find the building!).

please see the roster for contact info

Directions to the Banquet Site

From northbound I-5: Take Lynnwood exit 181,44th Ave. W. Turn left off the exit onto 44th Ave. W. (go underI-5). Turn left at the next light, 200th SW. Go approx. 1.5 miles(crossing Hwy. 99) to 68th W. Cross 68th into the parking lot.

From southbound I-5: Take Lynnwood exit 181,196th SW. Turn right off the exit onto 196th. Go approx. 1.75 miles(crossing Hwy. 99) and turn left at the 68th W. traffic light. Gofour blocks and turn right into parking lot. The Banquet is inBrier Hall.

PSMS FINANCES - 1999  Lynn Phillips,Treasurer


Banquet 2,300.00

Books 5,843.45

Donations 30.00

Dues 11,059.50

Education 1,160.00

Exhibit* 3,037.80

Misc. sales 34.15

T-shirts 1,226.00

Div. 56.33

Int. 879.34

TOTAL INCOME $25,626.57


Annual Exhibit 5,273.12

Bank chrg. 262.01

Banquet exp. 2,237.46

Book Sales exp. 2,573.66

Education exp. 810.00

Field trips 175.81

Flower Show exp. 114.50

Foray exp. 406.60

Insurance 1,133.00

Library 161.79

Membership exp. 578.77

Monthly meeting 825.05

Office 500.86

Roster exp. 254.12

Spore Prints 2,896.83

T-shirt exp. 795.69

Tax &License 895.00

Telephone 848.04

WWW Account 623.00

Uncategorized Exp. 0.00

Building Fund 3,600.00



*Exhibit income does not include book andT-shirt sales

Lynn Phillips, Treasurer

Account. Balance


Cash and Bank Accounts

Checking 7,900.05

Savings 7,301.62

TOTAL Cash and Bank Accounts 15,201.67

Other Assets

Time Deposit 11,930.31

Treasury Note 10,000.00

TOTAL Other Assets 21,930.31

Investments-Building Fund

Safeco Equity Fund 11,684.81

TOTAL Investments 11,684.81

TOTAL ASSETS 48,816.79

The philosopher Nelson Goodman wroteinfluentially on the subject of how forged art and documents caninfect the historical record. He once compared the relationshipbetween a genuine painting and a forgery with that between anedible mushroom and a poisonous one. To think that the differenceis merely esthetic or superficial is to be dangerously ignorant."We can either look harder for the difference," he wrote, "or avoidpaintings and mushrooms entirely." The New York Times,5/28/99


Spores Illustrated, Conn.-Westchester Myco.Assoc., Summer 1999, via Boston Mycological Club Bulletin,Sept. 1999

Recorded observations of fungal luminescencedate back to Aristotle and Pliny the Elder. Pliny identified an"Agaricke" that "grows on the tops of trees and shines at night."Renaissance philosophers wrote of `"Fungus igneus, which shineslike stars with a bluish light." In folklore, "Fairy sparks" indecaying wood indicated the place where fairies held their nightlyrevels. This, as well as "foxfire" and "torchwood," were folk namesfor bioluminescent rhizomorphs, tough strands of mycelia, visibleas shining runners in wood. (The word "foxfire" has nothing to dowith foxes but is derived from the French "faux fire," meaning"false fire.")

Armillarieliamellea, the honey mushroom, with its world-wide range, isthe fungus most frequently responsible for streaks of foxfire indecaying wood. Other mushrooms, like Mycenarorida, produce only luminous spores, while Collybiatuberosa produces only luminescent sclerotia (underground knotsof hyphae).

There was a time when bioluminescent fungi hadgreater currency than today. The time was World War II, and storiesabound of GIs in the tropical jungles of Pacific islands usingthese mushrooms for a variety of unexpected purposes. Troops onpatrol stuck them on weapons and helmets to avoid colliding witheach other in the deeps of nighttime jungles. The Britishmycologist John Ramsbottom reported that an American warcorrespondent on assignment in New Guinea began a letter to hiswife, "Darling, I am writing to you tonight by the light of fivemushrooms." And in a jungle of Sumatra a beguiled observerdescribed a garden of unearthly light. "The stem of every treeblinked with a pale greenish-white light which undulated alsoacross the surface of the ground like moonlight coming and goingbehind the clouds, from a minute thread-like fungus invisible inthe daytime to the unassisted eye. Thick dumpy mushrooms display aclear dome of light, whose intensity never varied 'til the break ofday. Long phosphorescent caterpillars and centipedes crawled out ofevery corner, leaving a trail of light behind them."

What evolutionary advantage would cause fungi todevelop bioluminescence? In New Scientist (14 August)Michael McBain of the Australian Fungal Mapping Project points outthat the phosphorescence attracts night-flying insects thatdisperse spores, and Victor Meyer-Rochow of Oulu University inFinland points out that it also attracts parasitic wasps thatattack fungus gnats. He speculates that it may be a vestigialproduct of reactions that protected fungi from toxic concentrationsof oxygen.


This year we are voting for a President,Treasurer, and five Trustees. Please read the following profilescarefully and mark your choice on the enclosed ballot. Return yourballot to "PSMS Election," 3818 Cascadia Ave., Seattle, WA 98118. Aballot box will also be available at the February meeting. Eachfamily membership is entitled to two votes, and each individualmembership to one vote.

John Goldman

My wife and I were introduced to mushrooming 5years ago and joined PSMS 3 years ago. I have not found anythingthat pleases me on so many levels: being outdoors, exploringWashington in my RV, the adventure of the unknown, science andlearning, food and cooking. I will bring this joy and excitement tothe job.

D.V. Corey

I have enjoyed being on the PSMS Board as bothan alternate and regular trustee and would like to continue servingPSMS. I will continue to look for new ways to boost interest,incorporate new members, and lower property taxes.

Marcia Hiltzheimer

I have enjoyed PSMS so much, and through it havegained such an appreciation of mycology. I teach young children andwas inspired to do a fungi unit last year. I would like to get morechildren involved in the art of foraying and expand our knowledgeand understanding of fungi, as both a science and a hobby.

Bernice Velategui

Looking for mushrooms has been part of my lifesince childhood. I joined PSMS in 1970 and have been MembershipChair for the past 10 years. A former member of the Board, I wouldlike the opportunity to serve PSMS in that capacity again foranother 2 years.

Karin Mendell

I'm very excited by the prospect of serving onthe Board of Trustees. As a PSMS member since 1998, I can attest tothe fact that increased new member participation is a key tomaintaining active membership. I would like to help to promoteparticipation of new members in our many activities. Thanks forthis opportunity to serve!

Joanne Young President

Since joining PSMS in 1991, I've participated inmany of its activities. I've been a board member, was Exhibit Chairfor 3 years, and am completing my second term as Vice-President andProgram Chair. I look forward to working with the fascinatingpeople in our society.

Treasurer Lynn Phillips

In my 15 years with PSMS I have served as FieldTrip Chair, Annual Exhibit Co-Chair, Trustee, and Vice-President,and am finishing my first term as Treasurer. We are still solvent.Money is coming in and going out at appropriate intervals. I amlearning how to conjure up reports on Quicken. I'll be happy tocontinue if you'll re-elect me.

PICK WISELY Anthony Acerrano

Sports Afield via Hearst Magazinefor AP Special Features

Wild mushroom enthusiasts like to remind moretimid foragers that only six of the several thousand types of fungion this continent are deadly. While this is essentially true, it'sonly part of the story.

Let's not forget that there are also at least 70species linked to "gastrointestinal irritation," which can besevere to fatal—18 known to contain the toxin muscarine, whichcan disrupt bodily functions, and 30 others that causehallucinations ranging from distressing to outright dangerous.

Add the fact that both the deadly few and thetoxic many are widely distributed—and in many cases may bearat least superficial resemblance to certain edible species—anda fuller perspective begins to emerge. A little fear of fungi maynot be such a bad thing, if it leads to safe and carefulforaging.

Undoubtedly, the best way to break into mushroomhunting is to apprentice under a knowledgeable forager. But becareful in your choice of mentors. Most of the 10,000 to 15,000cases of mushroom poisoning recorded each year in this countryinvolve people who thought they knew their mushrooms. Trust as aguide only someone who has years of experience foraging the region,and even then, proceed carefully.

With or without a mentor, you should first learnthe mushrooms that can hurt or kill you. Topping the list is thedeadly Amanita threesome: A.phalloides, commonly known as the death cap; A. virosa andA.ocreata, of the destroying angels—names that shouldprovide a clue to their poisonous nature. Eat even a small amountof these mushrooms (which are said to be deceptively delicious) andyou may die, though symptoms generally don't appear until six to 24hours after ingestion.

Unless you are a skilled mycologist, it's alsowise to avoid what are known as LBMs—little brownmushrooms—of which there are dozens of species found growingubiquitously in a variety of moist habitats. These small fungi,which range from beige to bright brown to slightly gray, havebutton caps and thin stems, and are extremely difficult to identifywith certainty. Many are toxic.

Another one to learn is the false morel,Gyomitra, which has a brainlike cap that careless foragershave confused, sometimes fatally, with edible species.

Also keep in mind that gills beneath the cap arenot indicative of toxicity—many edible species possess them.Nor are vivid colors necessarily a warning. Chanterelles, forinstance, can be a beautiful orange to yellow-orange. Chanterelles,puffballs, morels, oysters, lawyer's wigs, shaggy manes, and manyother fine-tasting mushrooms are actually easy to identify, onceyou really learn them.

A knowledgeable instructor can teach you moreabout wild fungi in one day than you can learn in months ofself-study.


Tuesday, February 8, at 7:30 PM at the Centerfor Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle

Our program is "Ugly Mushrooms of Spring." Usingslides and a handout, Dick Sieger will tell how to find andidentify morels and their friends. A pop quiz follows.

Dick became fond of Ascomycetes after attendingclasses given by Dr. Daniel Stuntz in 1980. He is a past presidentof PSMS and wrote a key to Lepiota species of the Northwestfor the Pacific Northwest Key Council.

Would members whose last names begin with theletters H_K please bring a plate of refreshments for the socialhour?


Camp Long Nature Center, Saturday, Feb. 26,10:00 am_4:00 pm

Join Forest Service lichenologist Chiska Derr ina fascinating exploration of the art and ecology of lichens. Inthis hands-on class you will learn specific techniques and recipesfor natural dyes and leave with lovely, wool accent colors for yournext knitting or weaving project. While the dyepots simmer, you'lllearn about lichen ecology and identification techniques. Bring asack lunch. 10 person limit. 12 yrs. and up. $25.00 includesmaterials. Call (206) 684-7434 in advance to register.