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About DufferinShroomer

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    Pleurotus junior member
  • Birthday 07/26/2009

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    Southern Ontario Dufferin County
  1. Ya I have helped Rob pick pine plantation yellows. Strangest thing ever. The pines had snuffed out all vegetation so that the forest floor had zero weeds - just a bed of pine needles with big honkin morels sticking up. You could spot them from about 40 yards away. Rob, it is the quaking aspen you want for morels and especially for honey mushrooms and pleurotus populinus. Big tooth aspen will support leccinums and cinnabar chants but not much else that is tasty. It is pretty tough to tell the 2 aspens apart before they leaf out in the spring.
  2. Both oysters and angel wings grow on wood. These mushrooms look to be growing from soil and if so that would rule out oysters and angels. Dig up a clump and show us what they are attached to and what the underside gill configuration looks like. I dont think I would be looking to eat them without a much more conclusive identification.
  3. Oh man. If irina can get that big I dont want to even think about the hundreds of pounds of huge tasties I have ignored because I didnt think there was any chance of them being edible. ugggh. Maybe I better go for a walk tomorrow.
  4. Ya do not taste a mushroom until after you think you know what it is and then only if you are sure that a taste will actually help with an ID. If there is any chance at all that the mushroom might be deadly you dont want to be tasting even a little bit. There really arent a lot of mushrooms where a taste will help with an ID so I wouldnt be madly tasting everything I found. Taste helps with some boletes. With some Russula as well although I know only one person who cares enough about Russula to bother tasting them.
  5. Deep down Im not inclined to think that the giant mushroom you are holding is L. irina if only because nothing that big is going to be edible without being renamed Lepista ohmygodimus. Ontario has both C. gigantea and C. robusta and my thought is that the giant will be one of those species.
  6. I have found that the giveaway feature of C. subconnexa is its name which roughly means connected below ground. The ones I have been able to identify with any certainty have fruited in clusters actually joined at the base underground so that if you carefully dig up a cluster you can pick up for example any one of the half dozen stems and the rest of the cluster remains very firmly attached and comes along with the one you picked up. If that sort of cluster effect isnt present Im reluctant to call them subconnexa. The ones I have found have been big sturdy heavy solid mushrooms with caps in the order of 5-6 inches. I have been through the L. irina identification irony. At one point I had a barnyard full of big white mushrooms and I believed I had irina. Since irina was supposed to be a tasty edible I thought I would fry up a couple for a tiny taste test. When cooked I popped a piece the size of a pea into my mouth. It tasted so foul that I ejected it after about 1 second. What I had was definitely not something you could eat but I was curious about what it was. Turned out that next day there was an organized foray of the Toronto mushroom club so I picked a 6 quart basket and drove them down to the foray to see if the experts could help. Most of the foray wouldnt offer an opinion but a half dozen respected members seemed certain I had irina in spite of my protests that there was no way this mushroom could be eaten. One of the members took the basket home to eat and sadly I have never run into her again to find out if she was able to eat them. I am certain these were not irina. The next weekend a local noted naturalist was leading a mushroom walk so I brought a bunch to the walk to get his opinion. Yep these are L. irina. grrrr no they arent. About a year later I was corresponding with a friend in the Toronto mushroom club who had been through the irina puzzle on his own. He told me that he once spoke with a professional mycologist in USA about this mushroom and the pro told him that irina is one of the toughest mushrooms to identify with any certainty - even with a microscope. He offered the suggestion that if you stayed at them for enough years you start to be able to recognize them because they look like irina even though objectively if you try to key out the mushroom you will be stumped. As a result of that I gave up on them and now when I find big meaty white mushrooms I generally kick a few for sport and ignore the patch because I flat out cant be certain. Having said that, I can happily believe that other folks have no trouble at all identifying them, Im just not one of those folks. I will try to add a couple of photos. One is a clump of subconnexa that I dug up in which you can see how they are joined in a clump just below the surface. The other is a photo of one of the irina look alikes that totally stumped me. Sue, When you get to the point where you are sure you have a hypsizigus smell them. A hypsizigus will have that anise sort of aroma that is common to the oyster family although it wont be a strong aroma. Hypsizigus do grow on box elder (aka Manitoba maple) and they are commonly called elm oyster. Perversely I have never found one on either a box elder or on an elm. The ones I find have all been on common red maple and usually in a spot where the drainage is poor (Acer rubrum). Usually I see them on standing trees where they have a tendency to fruit in a line one above the next. I like eating these mushrooms although they can be a bit chewy so I usually slice them fairly thinly.
  7. Hi Mike! You are lucky to live in one of the best mushrooming areas of Ontario. The downside is that most of the folks who might help you with identification live 150 miles south of you. Im going to send you a private message with a suggestion. Look for it.
  8. I wouldnt worry too much about depleting a mushroom patch by over harvesting. A single decent sized giant puffball for example might release 7 trillion spores. That is quite a few and seriously if you harvest every giant puffball you see that one over there that you didnt see will produce enough spores to pretty much blanket the planet and there will be millions of puffballs that go unharvested. Several years ago one of the American satellites stuck out a net with a fine filter while in orbit to see what it might catch. It caught mushroom spores. The damn things are everywhere even in orbit. If you want to farm a patch over several years one thing you might want to consider is being kind to the mycellium. The mushroom organism is living underground so you might consider trying to harvest the mushrooms as gently as possible to avoid ripping up the mycellium. Maybe replace your divots. If you absolutely must worry about spores you could consider holding that king bolete out at arms length and doing a brief happy dance to celebrate finding it. That will likely spread 187 million spores and you can eat the thing without feeling particularly guilty. And anyways, your little patch will probably get bulldozed next year to make room for row housing or a mall. The article on this site: http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/wong/BOT135/2009/Lecture05/Lect05.htm might help put the whole deal into perspective.
  9. I dont have any problem with someone harvesting mushrooms commercially. Some reasons: - Clearly nobody else is harvesting the same spots or there wouldnt be enough mushrooms to make the spot worthwhile for the commercial guys , so in general they arent interfering with anyone else. -The theory is that the mushroom is the fruiting body of the fungal organism in the way that an apple is the fruiting body of an apple tree. Hardly anybody would condemn picking the apples from a wild apple tree because the tree itself isnt being materially harmed. -Next year the spot that is fruiting might well be a subdivision. Go ahead and harvest the mushrooms before the bulldozers arrive. -even if the commercial guys dont harvest the morels you arent going to find the spot anytime soon. And if they do manage to deplete a patch they will abandon it and you still wont know about it. I cant help but think about morels fruiting at the base of a dead elm. After a couple of years of fruiting they will have sucked all the available nutrients from the dead elm and the organism will die. Is there really any point in not harvesting the mushrooms when the patch will be dead next year or the year after anyways? To anyone who can actually find enough morels to be worth trying to make a few bucks I say good for you and yes Im jealous.
  10. Might also be the rare and elusive Morchella photoshopimus which has been known to be quite large.
  11. Yes indeed. Check this map. http://morelhunters.com/index.php/
  12. Here in Ontario I have never seen an early season shaggy mane. I start finding them generally at the start of October. C. Quadrifidus will fruit in late spring and doesnt look enormously different from C. comatus. http://mushroomexpert.com/coprinopsis_variegata.html
  13. There could be any number of answers and lots of combinations of answers but the truth is that it is not at all uncommon for some forests to be pretty much mushroom free zones. Here are a few things that you might consider... =think of mushrooms in terms of being saprobes or alternately forming relationships with some tree or shrub. If your bit of forest is what I call clean (ie almost no dead wood on the ground, no fallen trees etc) then there isnt going to be much food for the saprobes that rotting wood and branches or the underground parts of dead stumps. In really well managed tracts as soon as a tree starts to look a bit sick it gets cut and sold and perhaps decades have passed since a tree has dies naturally and hit the ground. -Forests that are routinely thinned every few years will have a sparse canopy that lets in sunlight which will dry the soil. Mushrooms dont like dry. That extra sunlight might be warming the soil too much also. -Not all trees form relationships with mushrooms that fruit aggressively. Where I live for example a pure stand of sugar maple is totally not worth a look. Box elder and ironwood are also pretty useless. -Mushrooms that grow on the side of dead trees do of course need dead trees so again that well managed tract wont be the place to be looking for oysters. -Soil type can make a difference as well. Mushrooms tend to like a soil that drains moderately quickly without ponding and without being beach sand. Remember that mushrooms need moisture. -I think that soil acidity or alkalinity can make a difference as well and that is something that isnt very obvious -soil could even have a salt content from the ocean. Then if you combine some of those factors it can magnify effects. I dont think there is any chance at all that there is a place on the planet that hasnt received some spores. Air has been scooped up by satellites in orbit and examined and found to contain fungal spores so the stuff is everywhere. Some forests just dont have the right conditions to fruit mushrooms that get seen and that just has to be accepted I guess in the same way that we accept the fact that some forests fruit mushrooms like crazy.
  14. You folks in the Excited States need to get busy. Here is the Chris Mattherly progression map. Some folks may have already missed their main flush. http://morelmushroomhunting.com/morel_progression_sightings_map.htm
  15. Wade, there is in fact a secret to finding lots of mushrooms consistently and the secret is..... Ummm ok I cant describe in in one sentence but stay with me a minute. Lets say you decided you wanted to go pick some wild apples tomorrow. Where would you look? Well with a bit of either luck or skill you might have noticed some wild apples trees in the recent past so your best bet is since apples are the fruit of the apple tree is to go where you know there are apple trees. If you picked some wild apples over in that spot last year there is a pretty good chance those trees are still there and there is a good chance there will be apples again this year. In fact if you know where there are a few spots that have wild apple trees then you dont have to drive all over the country looking for them. You can go directly to the trees and spend your time picking rather than looking. Easy. It turns out that mushrooms are the fruiting reproductive body of a fungal organism in pretty much the same way an apple is the fruit of an apple tree. To collect lots of mushrooms you simply need to know where several of these fungal organisms live because these mostly underground organisms dont get up and move. If it was there last year then there is a good chance it will be there this year and all you have to do is remember where it was. Easy. sort of. The problem is of course that these fungal organisms are underground and you cant see them. The thing is that if you find a patch of mushrooms that you like then you can be 100% certain that the underground organism is right there under your feet and it will be there next year too. Remember that spot. Write it down along with the date when you found mushrooms there. You arent going to get fat on one spot though. To get to the stage where you can simply drive directly to a spot where you just know chanterelles will be fruiting this week you need to have put in the time and the legwork needed to find a few spots where the chanterelle organism lives and you find those spots by finding chanterelles and remembering where you found them. So someone new to mushroom picking starts with zero good spots and has to roam the woods in the hope that he will get lucky. Someone with 10 or 20 or 40 good spots can look at the calendar and know with reasonable certainty exactly where he can collect a basket of chanterelles this week. Guess which one of you is going to come home with the most mushrooms. Right. It isnt you. So the name of the game is to accumulate an inventory of spots. There are 2 ways to do that. The first is to find someone who has spent a few years finding spots to show you where his good spots are. Right. That isnt going to happen. The second way is you just have to put in the time and the miles and take good notes. Get out into the woods as often as you can. Get into as many different types of woods as you can. Pay attention to what the actual spots where you find mushrooms look like. High land or low land? dense woods or open? what sorts of trees? Pay attention, it is all important. Pretty soon you will be able to walk into a forest and just know to go look over there rather than in that direction and your success rate will start to climb. If you are diligent and get out into the woods a lot in your first year then you should stumble into a few spots for next year. But next year dont stop looking for new spots. In fact dont stop looking for new spots until you have so many that you know where more mushrooms live than you can pick. That might take 2 years or it might take 5 years but at some point you will become one of those people who can go into the woods to spots where you know a particular mushroom lives and spend your time harvesting rather than stumbling through the woods looking. There is a wee bit of a shortcut. Join a local mushroom club that organizes weekly forays. The members arent going to show you their best secret spots but it wont take long with the group to start improving your finding skills. And you get the added benefit of meeting folks who just might be able to help you a bit.