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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

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  1. The cap of that mushroom looks dirty. Did you brush dirt off it before you took the photo? To me it resembles Agaricus bitorquis aka the sidewalk mushroom. Once you are certain a mushroom is in fact an agaricus the way to tell if it is a bitorquis is to look at the ring around the stem. The bitorquis is a bit unique in that the edge of the ring closest to the cap is a bit loose and raised and so is the edge that is closest to the ground, so both edges are raised up a bit. Actually the name bitorquis loosely translates to 2 collars which refers to the double raised feature. Many Agaricus emerge cleanly and show a nice clean white cap. Not so with bitorquis, which only barely fully emerges and seeing quite a bit of dirt on the cap is normal. They are called sidewalk mushrooms because they have a real affinity for hard packed soil. I have seen them fruit in the middle of a hard packed gravel road and there are reports of them pushing up through asphalt. I have a nice little patch that fruits right beside my gravel driveway every year and gives me a half dozen really tasty mushrooms. Here is a vid I made beside the driveway: and here is a link to a text description: http://urbanmushrooms.com/index.php?id=19 Of course none of this means your mushroom was a bitorquis but from the photo Im leaning that way.
  2. Dave feel free to modify it in any way you choose. What I posted wasnt any sort of attempt to make any sort of definitive statement about anything really. Sometimes I get nervous about folks who want to charge off into the woods and eat everything they see and I get the urge to post up a caution. I agree with everyone who has suggested that the site should have at least one firm warning about the potential dangers of eating wild mushrooms and if somebody wants to use what I wrote as a starting point for that and borrow from it then I say go for it.
  3. Here ya go: http://www.morelmushroomhunting.com/morel-progression-sightings-map/ Scroll down past the photos to find the map. Mr. Matherly appears to update the map every few days so it provides a good idea of where morels are actually being found. The finds generally progress northward at the rate of about 100 miles per week depending on weather and left leaning politicians. Has to be a pile of effort to keep the map current and we should be thankful he provides the service.
  4. Diamond, if you get some sort of mushroom field guide you will quickly see that mushroom people like to slot mushrooms into one of 3 general categories: edible, inedible, and poisonous. EDIBLE: about 10% of wild mushrooms are considered edible. That usually (but not always) means they wont hurt most people and there is nothing about the mushroom that would cause most people to absolutely refuse to eat it. Note that being edible doesnt mean that it is tasty. It also doesnt mean that it is completely safe either. Where I live it is illegal to send a kid to school with a peanut butter sandwich because clearly peanuts are poison and they kill quite a few folks every year. Chocolate coated slugs are also apparently edible but Im not going to eat one. Probably less than 5% of mushroom species are good enough to want to eat them. POISONOUS: This is another sort of vague category. In general it means that if you eat a mushroom in the poisonous category you are going to regret doing so. You might regret it because it kills you dead. You might also regret it because although it doesnt kill you it makes you very sick. In general if some book or expert calls a mushroom poisonous dont eat it. About 10% of mushroom species can be called poisonous. INEDIBLE: This group covers the remaining 80% of mushrooms. They might not be poisonous but they have some feature which will make you not have any interest in eating them. Those hard shelf mushrooms that grow on the side of trees are probably not poisonous but no amount of boiling will soften them up enough to let you chew them. Other species might have the texture of a slug or a horrible smell. Some mushrooms are seriously bitter and there is just no way you can get one down. Others might be so small that it would take a week to gather enough for a mouthful. Some taste pretty bad. Interestingly most of the mushrooms reputed to have medicinal value come from this group. You cant eat them really, but if you dry the right ones and then grind them to a powder you can make a tea which probably will taste pretty bad but which might have some health benefits. EXCEPTIONS: There are not very many rules with mushrooms that are always true so you have to take what you find in a book in context and even then be careful. Let me give a few examples. Almost everybody will agree that the morel is right up there in the top 3 best tasting edibles. Morels are also probably the mushroom that sends the most people to the hospital. Seriously. The issue is that they contain a toxin which dissipates when the mushroom is cooked. If you eat raw morels you are just begging for trouble. Another troublesome mushroom is the honey mushroom. Almost all books call this a tasty edible. The truth is though that the honey mushroom causes about a third of the population to experience a nasty 3 day belly ache. There is a work around though. Parboil them for 3 minutes before cooking them and almost everyone can eat them without problems. There are also some serious issues with some mushrooms in some places. Tricholoma equestre is one such mushroom. Millions of these are eaten every year with no problems. In Europe however these mushrooms have killed dozens of people and many European countries outright ban their sale. No one is completely certain why folks in North America arent dropping dead from these. It may be that the the North American version is a different species than the European species and it just looks the same. Are they ok to eat in North America? Maybe, but I wont eat them. The thing is that it is tough to learn to eat mushrooms safely from a book. Far better is to learn from someone who knows what they are doing plus a book. Let me add one sobering thought then I'll quit typing. I live in Ontario Canada where we are thought to have about 2,000 species of mushrooms. Many mushroom books will show about 300 species with pictures and descriptions. So I can find a mushroom and identify it from that book with 300 species and say yah there it is right there on page 87. But what if instead of being that mushroom on page 87 it is really one of the 1700 species that didnt get included in the book? Be careful out there.
  5. Im not agreeing with agaricus on this one. No certain reason really just an overall look. The cap doesnt look thick enough or meaty enough especially around the edges. The stem break doesnt look quite right for agaricus either. Agaricus often breaks cleanly at the cap. The photo looks to show a stem that might be a bit hollow or stringy or something not agaricus like. The photos arent adequate for a positive id but agaricus just doesnt look right to me.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Might also be the rare and elusive Morchella photoshopimus which has been known to be quite large.