There are at least two
reasons for this newsletter:
- I love almost
everything there is about mushrooms - I love talking
about them, looking for them, finding them, learning
about them, and eating them.
- Since retiring and
moving to Greenville, I needed something to exercise my
I had only heard about a
few of the edible mushrooms in the area. After exploring around the area this
last fall, I found that there were much more than I expected. In one
day, I found over 26 different species, and of those, 22 were
listed as edible!
I hope to use this
newsletter to talk about some of those and other local mushrooms.
Last October, while
walking with a friend, I started noticing lots of mushrooms. The more I looked, the more I found. At first I was
overwhelmed by the quantity, so I didn't identify very many. But
after a few days, I
was able to identify the following (listed alphabetically:
(Tork, edible and choice)
Armillaria mellea (Honey Mushroom, edible and choice)
Boletus aereus (Queen Bolete, edible and choice)
Boletus edulis (King Bolete, edible and choice)
Boletus regius (Red-Capped Boletus, edible and choice)
Boletus subtomentosus (Boring Brown Bolete, edible)
Boletus zelleri, (Zeller's Bolete, edible and good)
Chroogomphus pseudovinicolor (Robust Pine Spike, edible)
Chroogomphus rutilus, (Pine Spike, edible)
Coprinus comatus (Shaggy Mane, edible and good)
Gomphidius glutinosus (Glutinous Gomphidius, edible)
Gomphus floccosus (Wooly Chanterelle, edible with caution)
Gomphidius subroseus (Rosy Gomphidius, edible)
Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane, edible and choice)
Hydnum imbricatum (Shingled Hedgehog, edible)
Hygrophorus gliocyclus (Glutinous Waxy Cap, edible and
Hygrophorus agathosmus (Gray Almond Waxy cap, edible)
Lactarius deliciosus (Delicious Milk Cap, edible)
Lactarius rubrilacteus (Bleeding Milk Cap, known locally as
the Sauguinine, edible and good)
Lepiota castenea (Petite Parasol, poisonous)
Leucopaxillus albissimus (Large White Leucopaxillus, edible)
Leucopaxillus amarus (Bitter Brown Leucopaxillus, inedible)
Naematoloma capnoides (Conifer Tuft, edible)
Pleurotus ostreatus (Oyster Mushroom, edible and good)
Russula rosacea (Rosy Russula, inedible)
Russula albonigra (Blackening Russula, edible)
Suillus lakei (Western Painted Suillus, edible)
Tricholoma flavovirens (Man on Horseback, edible and choice)
Note that almost all are
listed as edible!
This spring I heard
that there were something north of town that looked like
morels. After checking out the area described by my source, I
found more than a few Morchella elata, or Black Morels. Along
with the morels, I found a few large Sculptured Puffballs
(Calbovista subsculpta), some Snow Mushrooms (Gyromitra montana), a
few Thimble Morels (Verpa conica) and many odd-looking mushrooms
called the Pink Crown (Sarcosphaera crassa). All of these
mushrooms are considered edible, though the Pink Crown can make
some individuals sick and may contain high concentrations of
Arsenic. It has the look and texture of a cup fungus, but starts
as a closed hollow ball just at the ground surface, and opens up
to expose a light pink interior. It seemed to be prevalent
wherever there were morels, and I used them as a handy sign that
morels might be close by.
I tried cooking up a few
of the Pink Crowns just to see what they tasted like and thought
they tasted like, and had the texture of, sweet onions. Of
course, the cooked morels were great!
I also found some
miscellaneous inedible mushrooms such as the colorful Orange Mock
Oyster (Phyllotopsis nidulans), the cute Common Bird's Nest Fungi
(Crucibulum laeve), a Common Gymnopilus (Gymnopilus terrestris)
and some Silky Nolanea (Nolanea sericea).
Throughout the remainder
of the Spring, I found a few of the tasty Man on Horseback
(Tricholoma flavovirens), a few unidentified Agaricus, saw lots
of the poisonous Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric), some of the small
puffballs (Bovista plumbea), some Pig's Ears (Discina perlata),
some of the edible Yellow Coral Mushrooms (Ramaria rasilispora),
and many of the edible (and quite good!) Fairy Ring Mushrooms
(Marasmius oreades) in the lawns around Greenville. If you have
never tried them, you might seriously consider gathering and
cooking them. They are easily dried for later use, can be used
almost in any mushroom recipe, and are usually quite plentiful at
this time of the year. Because of the similarity to other
mushrooms, some of which are considered poisonous, BE SURE
OF YOUR IDENTIFICATION!
The Fairy Ring Mushroom
is the featured mushroom at the end of this issue.
The summer does produce
a few mushrooms. Among the first that I found were the
Cortinarius magnivelatus and the Smooth Earthball (Scleroderma
The C. magnivelatus is
an unusual-looking mushroom in that the veil doesn't seem to
break, leaving a strong membrane over the gills even after they
have matured. It is white and large, but is almost like a
Gastroid Agaric in appearance because of the enclosed gills. It
is not known to be edible.
The Smooth Earthball
(Scleroderma cepa) is worth noting in that it looks exactly like
a puffball, especially when it is young, but it is considered
poisonous. The mushroom is dingy white, smooth, has a firm white
interior when fresh, and has a rather thick skin.
The main difference
between an Earthball and a Puffball is that the spore mass stays
firm even after it begins to discolor, while a puffball's spore
mass turns soft as it matures. Plus, none of the earthballs are
considered edible. The S. cepa is known to cause severe
gastronomic distress, although the distress stops when the
mushroom is expelled.
The Butter Bolete
(Boletus appendiculatus) (correction, the B.abieticola), is
mostly yellow and has a very firm flesh when cooked. If you
like firm-fleshed mushrooms, this is one worth collecting.
The last find of this
Summer came in the same area as the Butter Bolete. I found two Ponderous Lentinus (Lentinus ponderosus) attached to a Conifer
stump, and both were about 11 inches in diameter. They are a good
substitute for the Shiitake bought in the stores as long as they
are cooked well. Because of their great size, taste, and texture,
they are a good find. These two resulted in about a quart of
The reason for including
this (long) list is to point out that there are many good and
edible mushrooms to be found in this area!
Make sure of your
No mushroom should be
eaten unless you are positively sure of its identification. One
way to help identify the mushroom, and perhaps the first and one
of the most important part of any keying process, is to determine
the color of the spores.
Demystified, by David Arora:
Always take a spore
print to determine the spore color of an unknown mushroom,
especially if you want to eat it. The color of the gills may
indicate the spore color, but not often enough to be
I obtain a spore print
by placing the cap of a (fresh) gilled mushroom on a newspaper,
making sure that the gills are covering both white and black
spaces on the newspaper. That way, no matter what the spore color
is, the spore print will be visible.
Even some so-called
edible mushrooms can make certain individuals sick. It is
suggested that you try a small portion of any new mushroom first
(AFTER identifying it), to make sure you won't get sick.
Suggested books on
Demystified, Second Edition, 1986 by David Arora, Ten
Speed Press, Berkeley, CA (best book for keying new
- The Audubon Society
Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, 1981,
Chanticleer Press, Inc., New York (best for finding by
color and shape).
- Mushrooms of North
America, by Orson K. Miller, Jr., sixth printing, 1984,
Chanticleer Press, New York. (a good source and also good
for a second opinion).
Soup Recipe (top)
From an article
"The Hunt, The Quarry, and the Skillet" by Angelo M.
Pellegrinin (in The New Wild Savory Mushroom, University of
I consulted the
cookbooks, only to discover that only one included a recipe
for mushroom soup, and that not a satisfactory one. So I
created my own. I cleaned the morels and cooked them
partially in butter and oil with shallots and parsley. Then I
creamed them in a blender and finished cooking them in
chicken broth, just enough of the broth to yield a dense but
nicely fluid soup. The only spice I used was a bit of nutmeg.
When the soup had simmered for about fifteen minutes, I put
it into quart jars. The yield was eight quarts. No fluid was
used, no filler, no thickening agent. The density and
substance of the soup were produced by the abundance of
morels. And in that state the soup was frozen. A rich cream,
about a cup for each quart, would be added later when the
soup was thawed and heated for serving. One might also add a
bit of dry sherry, but sherry must never be used unless it is
dry and of superior quality.
Memorable Hunt (top)
One of my most memorable
hunts was during last fall the day after I identified my first
Queen Bolete (Boletus aereus)
I went to one of the
places I had seen some before and saw the telltale mounds of pine
There were mounds next
to a paved road. There were mounds ON a dirt road! Each mound
yielded at least one large Queen Bolete.
Instead of carefully
cutting them all off at the base to avoid dirt and protect the
mycelium, I yanked them out indiscriminately! I quickly filled my
basket and continued to fill a part of the pickup bed.
A sink full of Boletes!
Needless to say, I dried
most of them. I STILL have jars of dried Queens.
To help in reading the
featured mushroom data sheet (and other data sheets to follow), I
am including a copy of the glossary from the
- adnate --
pertaining to the attachment of the fertile tissue of the
gills, tubes, spines etc. to the stipe of the fungus, in
which the attachment is typically perpendicular into the
stipe, i.e. without dipping towards the pileus or down
pertaining to the attachment of the fertile tissue of the
gills, tubes, spines etc. to the stipe of the fungus, in
which the fertile tissue typically curves upwards towards
the pileus of the fungus before attaching to the stipe.
- agaric -- a
term commonly used to describe a fungus having a cap
(pileus), gills (lamellae), and a stem (stipe), i.e.,
what most people would call a mushroom.
- amyloid -- a
chemical staining reaction in which the tissue, spore
wall ornamentation, etc. stains bluish-black in Melzer's
reagent. Examples include the spore ornamentation of
species in the genera Russula and Lactarius.
- annulus -- a
ring of tissue on the stipe of mushroom formed by the
rupture of a membrane (the partial veil) connecting the
cap and stipe of a developing mushroom. A special layer
of tissue which connects the margin of a mushroom pileus
to the stipe, and can either form a ring around the
stipe, or hang as fragments from the margin of the
pileus, or variations of the two. Examples may be found
in many genera such as Amanita, Cystoderma, Lepiota, and
Suillus, among others.
- ascus -- a
specialized sexual reproductive cell found in the fertile
area of the hymenium of all Ascomycetes, which is
typically club shaped, and which forms internally 4 or 8
ascospores, usually in a row.
- basidia --
the plural form of basidium.
- basidium --
a specialized sexual reproductive cell found in the
fertile area of the hymenium of all Basidiomycetes,
typically shaped like a baseball bat, possessing four
slightly inwardly curved horns (sterigma) to which the
-- see pileus.
- cespitose --
clustered mushrooms fused at the base. Also spelled Caespitose.
- clamp connection
-- a special connection which forms at the junction of
two adjacent fungal filamentous cells that looks
something like the handle on a coffee cup, however, it
may be flattened against the wall of the cells or may
have a large opening (in this case a Keyhole clamp), that
allows the migration of nuclei between developing cells.
- cortina -- a
special type of annulus which is filamentous, resembling
a spider web, attached from the margin of the cap
(pileus) to the stem (stipe) when young. In age only a
few fibers may remain on the cap margin or the stipe.
- cystidium --
a specialized sterile end cell formed anywhere in fungal
tissue. Most commonly found in the hymenial layer of
tissue, but may also be found on the surface of the cap,
the surface of the stipe, or even within the sterile
tissue of the stipe. There are many different types of
cystidia, which are named based on the location where
they are found, e.g. Dermatocystidia- on the surface
tissues; Pileocystidia- found on the surface of the
pilius; Caulocystidia- found on the surface of the stipe;
Cheilocystidia- on the edge of the gill; Pleurocystidia-
on the face of the gill; Endocystidia- form in the tramal
tissue of the cap, or stipe; OR on their morphology,
function, chemical reactions etc. such as
Leptocystidia-which are thin-walled, smooth and do not
have distinctive contents and are not tramal in origin;
Gloeocystidia- which are variable in shape and stain
easily or have conspicuous contents; Lamprocystidia-
which are thick-walled and without conspicuous contents,
- decurrent --
pertaining to the attachment of the gills to the stipe,
in which the gills curve partly down the stipe towards
the base of the stipe.
-- the process by which gills in the genus Coprinus
rapidly breakdown into a black ink-like liquid, droplets
of which disperse spores.
-- a chemical staining reaction in which the tissue,
spore wall ornamentation etc. stains reddish to
reddish-brown in Melzer's Reagent.
-- usually referring to gill trama, in which the tramal
hyphae branch outward from the gill center towards the
hymenium and downward towards the gill edge.
-- referring to spiny ornamentation; e.g. the fine spines
see on the surface of some species of puffballs in the
genus lycoperdon. Also, the finely spined spores of
-- rapidly disappearing.
-- an odor variously described as that of raw potatoes,
raw cucumbers, or even of soaps; mealy.
--possessing surface fibrils.
-- composed of thread like cells.
- floccose --
having a cottony appearance, like a flocked like a
Christmas tree; seen in some species of Amanita.
- gills -- see
- globose --
round in shape.
-- a growth form, in which mushrooms fruit in relatively
-- having the characteristic of changing color upon
- KOH -- the
chemical Potassium Hydroxide. Used in a 3% solution, it
is a standard mounting medium used to rehydrate material
for microscopic examination. It may also be used as a
macro or micro chemical reagent differentially staining
the tissues of some species. Concentrated solutions of
this chemical are caustic and should be handled with
- lamellae --
the technical term used to describe the gills of a
-- living on wood.
-- fungi visible to the naked eye.
metric unit of measure equal to one/ one-thousandth of a
Millimeter. Written as 0.001mm or 1µ or sometimes 1 µm.
- mycelium --
the filamentous vegetative portion of a fungus,
specifically excluding the fruiting structure or
reproductive phase of the life cycle. The mycelium may be
invisible or conspicuous. In some cases mycelial strands
may join to form thick strands called rhizomorphs.
-- -a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and the
roots of a plant.
- pallid --
pale, light in color.
- parasitic --
-a fungus which grows at the expense of another organism,
drawing from it nourishment. Example: Armillaria mellea,
the honey mushroom, or oak root rot fungus.
- phenolic --
having an odor of the chemical phenol.
- pileus --
the cap of a mushroom. The hymenium-supporting part of
- punctate --
having minute scales or points on the surface.
-- tending to decay rapidly.
-- usually referring to a fish-net, or crosshatch
pattern; the pattern may be on the surface of a mushroom
as in Bolbitius reticulatus, the apex of the stipe as in
Boletus edulis, or in the pattern of the ornamentation on
some species of Russula or Lactarius.
-- fungi that receive nourishment from dead organic
- scabrous --
having conspicuous scales on the surface, as in Leccinum
scabrum, a common species introduced into California with
the planting on non-native Birch trees.
-- rounded depressions on the stipe of some species of
mushrooms, as in Lactarius scrobiculatus.
- sinuate --
referring to a type of gill attachment, specifically,
gills that are notched at their point of attachment to
-- resembling the odor of human sperm or semen
(from the Trial Key to the Species of Mycena in the Pacific
-- round swollen cells usually formed in clusters,
characteristic of the Russulaceae.
- spore --
reproductive cell found in the fungi.
- sporocarp --
the fungal reproductive structure, e.g. a mushroom, which
- stem -- see
- stipe -- the
technical name for a mushroom stem or stalk. The stipe
supports the pileus (cap) in the agarics (gilled
- stipitate --
having a stipe or stem.
- taxonomy --
the classification of organisms to show relationships to
-- having very minute fine hairs on the surface.
- truncate --
having a flattened or chopped off end, like the end of a
-- having a small depression, e.g. as in a belly button.
- umbonate --
referring usually to the raised nipple like structure at
the center of some mushroom caps.
- viscid --
slimy, sticky, viscous.
- volva -- a
sack like structure formed at the base of a stipe, such
as in Amanita species.
- zonate --
having a zoned appearance, usually referring to a
mushroom cap that has concentric color bands giving it a
zoned appearance. Common in Lactarius.
Fairy Ring Mushroom (Marasmius oreades) (top)
This issue's featured
mushroom is the Fairy Ring Mushroom or Marasmius oreades.
It is usually abundant
in lawns during the spring and early summer. I can usually spot
them from a distance by noticing round dark green patches in
lawns. Many of the lawns on Main Street in Greenville had them
this year. They are great just simply chopped up fresh and mixed
with some scrambled eggs. If you want to preserve them, you can
dry them very easily by placing them in the sun on a piece of
Here is the link to the
Marasmius oreades mushroom on the Mykoweb website: Marasmius oreades
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