To eat or not to eat? That is the question

I did a short solo foray today in the hopes of getting some early spring oyster mushrooms, but alas, there were none to be had.

I guess those ones that I found about three weeks ago were a fluke, as I have not seen much since them.  Mind you, I did find a couple of very small ones this Monday up Cliff Gilker park.  However they were in a very wet area, and where I went today up along Chapman Creek, it was pretty dry for this time of year.

I did see an Amanita Pantherina , or panther amanita,


and a couple of very large Ganoderma applanatum, or artist’s conk….I added the loony for perspective


Back to the foray today, what I did find were a number of young fiddle heads. They are also know as Brake fern,eagle fern, pasture brake.  I myself have never eaten these, but they were a traditional early spring wild vegetable that was eaten by the first nations people.WP_20150409_14_47_02_Pro WP_20150409_14_56_18_Pro WP_20150409_15_04_22_Pro

In one of my older field guides “Guide to Common Edible Plants of British Columbia” published by the British Columbia Provincial Museum, written by A F. Szczawinski and George A. Hardy.  In that book, they state that this is an edible fern.

However, in a recent book by Duane Sept titled “Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Northwest”, he warns against eating it, as it has been found to have a carcinogenic substance that can cause stomach cancers.

Doing a search of the internet comes up with the same caution. So what to do???

One commentator stated that eating charbroiled hamburgers are also carcinogenic….as well as likely a number of other substance, including alcohol!!!!

I would be interested in comments from any readers of this post to tell me of your own experience with this wild plant.  I will at this point take the advice that I always give to novice mushroom foragers, and that is” if in doubt, throw it out”

Unless you are 100% sure of the identification of the mushroom or any wild foraged plant, don’t consume it.

Fiddle heads are said to have a delicate taste, similar to asparagus….I have a bunch of asparagus in the fridge, which I know is edible and also very tasty.  I think I will cook them up tonight and pass on the fiddle heads.

Hope to see you on the trails some day…coastalshroomer


2 thoughts on “To eat or not to eat? That is the question

  1. I thought the Matteuccia struthiopteris or ostrich fern was the fiddlehead fern but it doesn’t grow on this coast. And one is not suppose to eat bracken fern though the natives roasted the rhizomes but the fern is indicated to cause constipation and stomach cancer. The fern on this coast to use for fiddleheads is the lady fern : Athyrium filix-femina; the natives used the fiddleheads in the spring and the leaves for food coverings. Refer to Plants of Coastal British Columbia, Pojar & Mackinnon.

    • Thanks for the reply Susan…I will take you advice as I have read that same thing elsewhere. I have an old guide from the BC Museum that I bought in the 70’s and they still recommend eating the bracken fern. The guide does say that the ostrich fern is an edible but isn’t found commonly here on the coast, but when it is, it is quite abundant.

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