Meetings: The first Thursday of every month, except December, January, July, and August, 7:00 p.m. sharp at the Pacific Forestry Centre, 506 W. Burnside Rd., Victoria. Dues are currently $15 per year per family, $7.50 per half year.
INSIDE: FALL FORAY
ASK THE EDITOR
KEY TO MYCOLOPHILES
OTHER SOCIETY HIGHLIGHTS
I know many of you are starting to see mushrooms in your sleep, so I know that I won't have to wax eloquent about the timing of the fall rains and the sudden explosion of fungi at the end of the month. To illustrate the point, however, after a mind-numbing few weeks of identifying fungi from Port Renfrew, the Watershed study, and the Fall foray, I found myself walking up my driveway with a sac full of chanterelles, hedgehogs, and Marasmius oreades. (I got the Marasmius at the Pacific Forestry Centre, where the lawns have Agaricuscampestris, A. micromegathus, and fairy rings containing M. oreades, Clitocybedealbata, and Clitocybetarda). My wife greeted me with a sac full of huge Lepiotarachodes, and brought my attention to our yard. My fairy ring introduction program appears to be right on schedule, and there is an alarming array of fungi in my lawn to keep them company now- Clitocybes, Lepiotas (including L. naucinus), Suilluscaerulescens, Helvellalacunosa. Suilluslakei, hordes of a certain Mycena I can't key out, and other lurkers I don't even dare start in on. The finishing touch was a convention of big, bulky ceps holding a referendum in my front yard. The mind boggles! Or at least mine did, somewhere in the middle of a savory taste of Dentinumrepandum and a glass of wine. (Christene and I rated the hedgehog mushroom slightly ahead of chanterelles, with white chanterelles taking third place). The ceps had to wait today, since a power outage spoiled things, but Renata Outerbridge was kind enough to share some Leccinum & blewits for lunch. After spending so much time with mushrooms lately, I think my mind may just turn into mush- sort of like one of those soggy black Russulas you see in the forest, the ones that are long past it and slowly melting into the ground. But then, I am attempting to wax eloquent. On with the newsletter! -RSW
ASK. THE EDITOR
Q. Throughout the life of a mushroom, are the number of cells constant? If a mushroom grows by water uptake, and the number of cells are constant, its cells and cell walls must be stretched very thin, which would make the stipe unable to support the weight of the fruiting body.
A. Mushroom cells do not usually "stretch thin" in fruiting bodies. While it is true that most primordia will have a large number of small cells which uptake water as they grow, and while it is true that you might see elongated hyphae-like cells in a mushroom, they must at least divide or differentiate (become different) in order to produce the different structures that you see- the stipe, the cap, the hymenium (fertile or spore-bearing surface), the cuticle, the spores, the universal veil, etc. The fruiting body is not only importing water, it is importing nutrients that provide the raw materials for the rest of the fruiting body's architecture, including the protein content and flavor molecules we all so dearly love. What all this means is that should a cell elongate as the mushroom grows, it is capable of, for instance, synthesizing more cell wall material to avoid collapse. If you look at the fruiting body of a mushroom under a microscope, you see normal-looking fungal cells. So the cells must either divide to cope with the increase in volume (which they are capable of doing), or only grow to the point that they look as they do. Sorry to shoot down your theory...
Q. How big does a tree have to be to produce B. edulis mushrooms?
A. I don't know the strict lower limit- big enough to make some shade, I suspect. The trees (grand fir) that produce the ceps at my place are about 20-25 years old, and have been producing for at least 3 years (probably more). I think you could get away with as little as 10 years or so in a plantation, if you had appropriate shade/soil/moisture conditions. -RSW
Q. I've been finding a little mushroom in lawns, etc. that looks and smells very almondy - it looks a lot like Agaricus augustus, but it is very little - what is it?
A. Doing second-hand I.D.s is always tricky. I at first told this person that they might have the almond mushroom, Agaricussubrufescens. After reflection, I would recommend instead looking up Arora's descriptions of A. micromegathus (Anise Agaricus) or the A. diminutivus group (Diminutive Agaricus). I found a lot of A. micromegathus around after the fall rains slacked off - or at least that is what my collections most closely resembled. Whatever the name, I would call the strains of tiny Agaricus that I've seen this Fall more almond-smelling than anise-smelling.
It's been related through the grapevine that Adolf Ceska showed some interesting videos of various SVIMS members at this meeting, including one which casts the editor of the newsletter in an unusual light. Just remember, Adolf, we've got those pictures of you and the basketball at the fall foray...
It was a rally with mixed results. Despite the wet weather, the rally was heavily attended (35 people plus), to the point that it was difficult to keep track of things. Unfortunately, the bridge at Harrison Creek was out of commission, so we couldn't get all the way to Lizard Lake. This unforeseen challenge didn't prove to be too disastrous, though - several species of Phaeocollybia were collected along the route to the bridge - there have been very few sightings of this fungus in Canada until now, so SVIMS is now definitely contributing to our knowledge of mushrooms in Canada. Also, the more experienced collectors, especially those who were able to check on the other (Red Creek Fir) side of the river, were rewarded with ample numbers of chanterelles. For others, it was a long day without much to show for it - leading member John Dennis to remark that "hunting for mushrooms is a lot like fishing- sometimes its just good to be out looking", Many of the rally attendees were able to hike up to see the Red Creek Fir. Canada's largest Douglas-fir, it is a truly massive tree with huckleberries growing in the upper branches. One has to wonder how long it will be around, though - members noticed a large fruiting of Phaeolusschweinitzii along one side of the tree, extending upward for at least 25-30 feet or so. For a listing of the fungi that were found, please consult the combined October listing at the end of this section.
The SVIMS / Canadian Forest Service study of mushrooms in the Greater Victoria Area Watershed is now underway and producing some good results. Volunteers from SVIMS identified and/or collected a large array of mushrooms from the CFS chronosequence plots in the Watershed on Oct. 13, 14, and 17. While it is still too early to draw general conclusions from the data, we can report that almost 150 species of fungi were collected within the small areas that were searched. One of the highlights included a finding of a rare and unique fungus, Hvgrophoropsisolida, in two of the plots. In our collections, H. olida was somewhat pink and smelled something like a cross between root beer and bubblegum: The beautiful Clitocybeatrialba and mundane Hebelomamesophaeum were just two of the many fungi spotted outside of the plots. All of the collections (inside of the plots and out) are cited in the combined October listing at the end of this section. The next collections are scheduled for Nov. 17 & 18. Thereafter, the plan is to continue to check the plots mid-monthly for at least a year, and possibly longer. If you are interested in participating, please contact John Dennis, Richard Winder, or Tony Trofymow.
The SVIMS / VMS Fall foray at Mesachie Lake was quite a success, with over 40 people participating, including Dick and Agnes Sieger from Seattle (PSMS) and seven people from the Vancouver area (VMS). As you can see in the combined October list, many mushrooms were discovered hiding in the woods around Cowichan Lake, and not a few edibles were among them. Although the pine mushroom season has been somewhat disappointing this year (as people who climbed to the top of Diddon Trail will attest), there were plenty of other things to collect. The food was good, the company was enjoyable, and the weather was remarkable, with the hardwoods putting on a splashy show of autumn colors for us. It will be a weekend that will be hard to forget. A big thanks goes to Shannon Berch for arranging our use of the Mesachie Lake Research Station, and to Ingeborg Woodsworth who led us up the Diddon Trail to help us shed the kilos we gained from Al's cooking.
The display came off very well this year, with things drying out to give us just the boost we needed to see some late-season fruiting of just about everything imaginable. A great many SVIMS members dedicated their time and efforts to make this show a success. A big thanks also goes to the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and Ann Scarfe for sponsoring and advertising the show. There wasn't time to key out everything that members brought in - with over 350 people from the public attending (Swan Lake's busiest day ever!), volunteers had their hands full answering questions. Highlights of the show included an amazing basket full of Boletusedulis collected by the Ceskas, including one mature cep that must have weighed at least 20 pounds, and a collection of Clitocybegiganteas, which were large enough to be suitable for use as Halloween party hats. A complete list of the findings appears in the combined list for October.
-Combined list for October
The count is 393 species. Fair warning - there are bound to a few errors in a list this large.
F = Fall foray, general, 21-23 Oct.
F* = Fall foray, across from Mesachie Lake, 21 Oct.
F# = Fall foray, Ingeborg & Ken Woodsworth's, 23 Oct.
The cumulative checklist has grown some this year (555 entries), although it has been comforting to see many of our mushrooms following predictable fruiting seasons. I will try to have a sneak preview of the checklist available for the next meeting. -RSW
MOLYBDITES SIGHTED IN SOOKE
Some of you may remember Gilles Patenaude, one of our founding members. Although other commitments have prevented him from participating in SVIMS lately, he is still on the mushroom "scene". He was recently featured in a front-page article in the Wednesday, Oct. 4 edition of the Sooke News Mirror, in which he identifies a mushroom, Chlorophyllummolybdites (= Lepiotamolybdites) for the reporter. Although I haven't yet seen it on the Island, this is a good one to look out for if you are in the habit of consuming Lepiotarachodes. C. molybdites looks very similar, but is definitely poisonous. The most reliable way to tell the difference is the spore print - C. molybdites produces a greenish spore print, whereas the spores of L. rachodes are white. C. molybdites more frequently occurs in southeastern U.S.A., but finding it in the Pacific Northwest is not totally out of the question. We'll be putting it into the cumulative checklist, at any rate. -RSW
Chanterelles, pine mushrooms, and morels are standard fare for commercial pickers, but what about good old Agaricusbisporus? Or Laccariaamythestio-occidentalis? Believe it or not, there are bounties on these mushrooms. The angle is that these are research bounties. In the case of Agaricus, the Agaricus Resource Program is looking for new wild strains of Agaricusbisporus, A. subfloccosus, or A. subperonatus. Bounties range from $US 25 for a strain which turns out to have a new combination of known genes to $US 100 for a previously unknown gene (they do the testing). Contact the Agaricus Resource Program, Dr. R.W. Kerrigan, RD#1 Box 461, Worthington, PA 16262 USA for more information. Meanwhile, Dr. James Whitehead cf Vector Labs in Burlingame, CA (415-697-3600, fax 415-697-0339) is looking for fruiting bodies of L.amythestio-occidentalis and Aleuriaaurantia (the orange peel fungus) as sources of proteins for biotechnology research. Vector is paying $20 US per pound for fresh or fresh frozen material and reimburses shipping. And you thought that they were just pretty fungi! For those who would rather grow'm than hunt'm, medicinal mushrooms seem to be the hot new topic. One grower in Washington State is offering dried Maitake (Grifolafrondosa) at 76 $US/kg ($US 650/kg for dried extract powder!) -RSW
Select a young fruiting body. Blanche in hot water for 10 seconds. Slice or chop into fairly small pieces. Saut6 in butter for about 3 min. Add salt, herbs, Maggi (liquid), and wine, simmer for 10 min. Remove from heat, add cream, cover and let stand for a few minutes before serving. To adjust thickness, let simmer longer to thicken, or add more cream or wine to thin.
Editor's note: If you've never tried this mushroom before, only try a little bit in case you are sensitive to it. Avoid this mushroom if it has been collected on Eucalyptus. Also, be sure to cook it through thoroughly - L. sulphureus seems to be quite toxic to some people when it is raw (but don't worry too much - so are baking beans!)
Are you ready for this one? It's adapted from Hearon, Reed. 1993. Salsa. Chronicle books, San Fransisco.
1 tbsp. Smoked bacon (chopped)
1/4 lb. Wild mushrooms (morels, boletes, etc.)
1 tbsp. Cilantro (coriander), fresh, chopped
1 Chile, serrano, w/seeds, minced
1 tbsp. Finely chopped onion
To taste Salt
Sauté bacon until cooked through (5 min.). Add mushrooms, set heat to medium high, sauté and stir until mushrooms are soft and lightly browned (6 min.). Transfer to bowl, add remaining ingredients, mix. Makes 1 cup.
Can be served on steak, or with cheese in a tortilla, or with lettuce in a salad, or with chips. It should be consumed soon after making it, but it can keep 1-2 days refrigerated.
IN DEPTH: KEY TO MYCOPHILES
Obviously, every mushroom lover (mycophile) is a unique specimen unto itself - all you have to do is look at the SVIMS membership for proof of that. At one time or another, though, many of us are tempted to classify mycophiles into groups or tribes according to their general appearance, habitat, socio-ecological niche, etc. I didn't have any particular individuals in mind when I wrote the key below, so if you happen to "key out" to a particular subgenus, or if you can't keep up with the jargon, please accept my apologies. -RSW
1. Terrestrial, down-to-Earth, often to the point of being resupinate, saprophilic (readily imbibes fermented malt extract) ........................................Subgenus Cervezaphilum
1. Extraterrestrial, high-strung or often comatose and somewhat oenophilic or viscid .......................................... 2
2. Variable, usually lurking along fence-rows after summer rains, saprobophytic, or if parasitic, markedly necrophilic ...................................................... Subgenus Necrocryptus
2. Not as above, symbiotic or predatory ........................... 3
3, Slightly tomentose (peel back cap), but hairs usually lost with age or synthetic or grey, particularly if using keys which repeatedly use the phrase "not as above" ....................................................... Subgenus Tormentosus
3. Not as above ..................................................................4
4. Fruit body grey (between two ear-like lobes), fruity,
deeply cracked, schizoid, or substantially repressed, very common ............................................. Subgenus Subgenus
4. Not as above ..................................................................5
5. Gregarious, appearing in large clusters or troops, usually associated with foresters and other fir-bearing creatures ............................ Subgenus Packopachydermus
5. Not as above, avoids reading entire triplet in keys ....... 6
5. Not as above ..................................................................3
6. Uncommon, sequestering huge amounts of fungal fruiting bodies (eg. Morche!la spp., Boletaceae, Cantharellus; spp.) then dispersing them to other mycophiles ......................... Subgenus Altru-magnanimous
6. Not as above, with adhering soil particles...Rattus rattus
This is the last meeting of the year, for election of officers. Dr. Shannon Berch of the B.C. Ministry of Forests will give a presentation on forest fungi.
25 November (Saturday) Survivor's Banquet The annual SVIMS family potluck feast will be held this year at the Gordon Head Lawn Bowling Club, 1742 Lambrick Park Way, starting at 5:00 p.m. Please bring a potluck dish and beverage. The theme will be... MUSHROOMS! (of course). The going thing will be anything that looks, tastes, or smells like mushrooms, but no dish will be turned away if it looks even remotely edible! To reach the spot, proceed north on Shelbourne to Felthem, turn right on Felthem, then left at the signs pointing to Lambrick Park and Gordon Head Rec. Centre. Bring your musical instruments, make up a fungal poem or song if you're so inclined, and prepare to have a good time!
December (No meeting)
January (No meeting)
1 February 1996 Monthly meeting
Actually, someone else helped this time. The Amanita baccata listed for the 16 September foray to Shawnigan Lake was actually A. silvicola, a far more mundane find. There are no records of A. baccata for B.C.