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..
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
Any thoughts out there as to what this may be?
Also saw some more common lacaria
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