OK…it’s about time!!!

Finally, even with this very dry spring, I found some spring oyster mushrooms. They weren’t old and dry or only  little pins just beginning to show their tiny heads.

We have a guest here on the coast this weekend, ethnographer, adventurer and mycologist, Lawrence Millman.  He has traveled extensively in Siberia, Alaska, Canada, Iceland and Norway. He is also an author of 16 books, with his most recent book, Giant Polypores and Stoned Reindeer….Rambles in Kingdom Fungi.

He spoke last night at the Sechelt Public Library. He gave a very interesting presentation and plans on accompanying SCSHROOM members on a few forays while here on the coast.

I learned a few new things from Lawrence’s talk….for example, why we seem to always have such an abundance of mushrooms in the fall.  His explanation is that in the spring and summer, the trees are sending a lot of their nutrients and energy into making new limbs, leaves, bark and stems.  In the late summer and fall that shifts to sending all those nutrients and energy into their roots. We know there is a very intricate and essential relationship between trees and fungi. Consequently, the myceillium are getting a jolt of food and energy and it’s their time to send out those fruiting bodies we so often love to pick and eat.

The other thing I learned was that most traditional peoples who lived in the north rarely used mushrooms as a food source, even during times of starvation. Many in fact had a fear or aversion to mushrooms. The Inuit in the western arctic believed that mushrooms were shooting star shit!  When they saw a shooting star in the night, the next day they would often find meteoric debris on the tundra and some days later, often mushrooms would be found.  Meteor shit…why would you eat that???

They did however use fungi for shamanistic practices and for medicinal purposes. They also got quite a buzz off of the Horse’s hoof fungus,or tinder bracket.  They would burn the fungus to a powder and then wrap the powder in tobacco and then stuff it in a cheek, much like the use of snuff.

It wasn’t until after contact that they got tobacco, but before then, they used willow  bark.  I gather from his talk that it was and still is a concern to some health care providers as it can be addictive. It is still used today by first nations people in Alaska. Many users attribute longevity and a happy, convivial outlook on life from its daily use.  Less violence among the youth and calmer, happier people.  Can that be worst that the affects of alcohol and other street drugs on humans?

I also bought and have begun reading Lawrence’s book, Giant Polypores and Stoned Reindeer. I will share some of his observations and thoughts in future posts.

I was not able to be out in the woods with him today as I have family visiting, however i was still able to get out with my guests and had a very productive foray in the Hidden Grove Area.

This is what we found..

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Some beautiful spring oyster mushrooms which will make a nice addition to tonight’s barbecued sockeye salmon. Not a fresh Sockeye, just my last one in the freezer from last summer.

We also found something I had not seen before.  It was a bright gold mass that looked like a cross between cauliflower and scrambled eggs. It was growing on some salal and the area it was growing looked wet and shiny, where the rest of the moss and salal around it was dry.  I am thinking some kind of slime mold…or dog vomit fungus, or maybe even feces?

Needless to say , I didn’t touch it.  This is the picture, but it is a bit blurry

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Any thoughts out there as to what this may be?

Also saw some more common lacaria

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Saw, but took no pictures of some Panther Amanita (Amanita pantherina), some very far gone, ie. mushy and one that was kicked over and smashed.

There is rain in the forecast, so I am forever hopeful.

See you on the trails sometimes. Coastalshroomer

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2 thoughts on “OK…it’s about time!!!

  1. i think i found some oyster mushrooms today on fallen log. have never before found and eaten these, so it is not one i am 100 per cent confident to identify. encouraged by seeing you pictures(the more greyish looking ones look like the ones i found) it seems to have the basic idenifying attributes an oyster should have according to ‘mushrooming with confidence’. is there any advice you might have about poisonous lookalikes or such?

    • Our practice here on the coast is to not ID mushrooms on the basis of an emailed photo, especially if someone intends to eat them. However there are not too many similar mushrooms growing out there that are poisonous. If you have taken the time to review and confirm all the identification points the next step is to try it. But try just a little amount, cook up a small amount, and also save a good example of what you ate. If you feel fine after a couple of hours with no GI symptoms you should be fine. If you don’t feel well, then go to the ER with mushroom in hand so it can be IDed. This is the same advice I give anyone trying a new mushroom for the first time. Even though many mushrooms are edible and described as choice, a number of people are still allergic to them and have reactions. The best way to get a positive, 100% ID is to go out with an experienced forager and have them take you through the steps and confirm what you have is an edible. There is a saying, “there are brave shroomers and old shroomers, but there are no brave and old shroomers”. My personal approach is if I am not 100% sure, I don’t consume it. There will be another time when you are with someone ho knows for sure it is a good edible, that’s when you try it for the first time.

      By the way, are you here on the Sunshine Coast or somewhere else…if you are on the coast, and a SCSHROOM member, you can come over and i will help you ID it.

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