Know Your Mushrooms!

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Decomposed 10 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #1931

    Decomposed
    Participant

    I wish I knew more about foraging for mushrooms, but I’m an amateur.

    I have forested land on two properties in New Hampshire and would like to look for mushrooms at some point but won’t do so unless I find an experienced teacher. Mushrooms are just too dangerous to risk a mistake.

    However, I’m definitely going to try growing my own. Shiitake seem to be the best candidate in that logs that I can easily monitor can be implanted with the spores. Here’s a video I found showing how it’s done: Grow Your Own Shiitake Mushrooms

    Watch out for Death Cap mushrooms! They apparently taste delicious and smell like rose petals but are among the world’s most deadly:
    Death Cap Mushroom Identification

  • #1937

    Anonymous

    I have the same aspirations. I’m pretty good at identifying plants and trees, but mushrooms and toadstools, well fungi in general are a mystery. I would really like to learn more as fungi are a very useful source of calcium and protein.

    P.S. Nice photo.😀

  • #1942

    Anonymous

    I like mushrooms but, from a nutritional point of view, they do not amount to much. Walking the woods looking for them is a good way to lose weight. 🙂

  • #1946

    Anonymous

    We are not huge mushroom fans here but if we were I would definitely want to grow my own.

  • #1971

    Summer Bee
    Participant

    Something that was helpful for me when starting to learn about wild mushrooms was signing up for a mushroom walk led by an experienced guide. You could try looking on your local listserv or asking at the food coop. Or there’s always Google. 🙂

    I’m mostly interested in mushrooms for their medicinal value. A lot of the medicinal ones (like Chaga and Reishi) grow on trees instead of the ground and there are far fewer poisonous tree mushrooms.

    I just learned that Shiitake (also a tree mushroom) is high in amino acids (for protein), minerals and enzymes. It’s good for the thyroid, blood circulation (helps lower cholesterol) and the liver/detoxification (skin health).

    Keep us posted on your progress with growing your own Shiitakes!

  • #2058

    Jade Jasmine
    Participant

    Decomposed, I would love to see your process and progress when you do get started with it. I’m curious about the whole thing. I’ve seen a couple of walk through videos of farms that grow them but never got into deep enough to see someone set it up and show it as they go.

  • #2082

    Decomposed
    Participant

    I’ll be happy to post photos – but it may not be until Spring. I live in New England and we’re having our first snowfall of the season right now. I gather that most mushrooms like it cool but not cold.

    Spring is good with me. That gives me time to study up a bit.

  • #2403

    Decomposed
    Participant

    I just bought the following from Amazon. $19.15. It almost certainly isn’t the definitive mushroom guide. Nor is it the cheapest (or most expensive). But the book has some qualities I like:

    o Isolated to my geographic region.
    o Limited to edible and medicinal mushrooms.
    o Focused on “the safer and more common edible and medicinal mushrooms”.

    Since I’m brand-spanking-new to mushroom hunting, this sounds perfect.

    Mushrooms of New England

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by  Decomposed.
    • #2481

      Summer Bee
      Participant

      I have this same book! It’s a nice companion to the Audubon guide for the reasons you mentioned. The author also has a website. It’s a little outdated, but there are a lot more photographs of the mushrooms highlighted in his book.

  • #2941

    Decomposed
    Participant

    There was a break in the rain today, so I took the opportunity to walk through the forest for a couple of hours looking for mushrooms. I came back with seven or eight samples most of which were small, but a couple of larger, really interesting ones.

    The most interesting one by far was a red capped, white stemmed, large mushroom that I found toward the end of the hike, growing through leaves near my stream. It isn’t listed in my book, which means that it probably isn’t one of the more common edible ones. I went to the Internet and first thought that it was the highly toxic Yellow Fly Agaric (Amanita Muscaria). However, it lacks the warts on its red cap that are characteristic of the Yellow Fly Agaric. It must therefore be the similar looking and related (but edible!) American Caesar (Amanita Jacksonii).

    Score!

    Two photos of my Amanita Jacksonii follow. Then one of the poisonous Amanita Muscaria.

    American Caesar
    American Caesar
    Yellow Fly Agaric (Toxic)

  • #2949

    Daisy
    Keymaster

    Wow, very nice score! And beautiful photos too. 🙂

  • #2953

    Decomposed
    Participant

    Thank you. I can’t take credit for the Yellow Fly Agaric photo. I found it on the internet while trying to identify my American Caesar/Amanita Jacksonii.

    I’m only a beginner where mushrooms are concerned, of course. I concur with the advice given on the SouthernLiving site:

    The striking, red-capped mushrooms at the top recently popped up in my yard after lots of rain. I’d never seen them before, so I did some research on red-capped mushrooms found in Alabama and tentatively identified them as Amanita jacksonii. My research revealed that unlike other members of the Amanita genus, this one is edible. Am I going to eat it? Hell, no! Even mushroom experts, called mycologists, sometimes make mistakes – and with many toxic mushrooms, one mistake is all you get.
    https://www.southernliving.com/garden/grumpy-gardener/wild-mushrooms

    LOL. The same goes for me, for the time being. Wild mushrooms are a wonderful resource for highly qualified people . . . or in desperate times. But I’m not feeling quite that desperate just yet . . .

    Here are the other mushrooms I foraged today. Figuring out what they are will be a challenge.

    Foraged Mushrooms

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by  Decomposed.
    • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by  Decomposed.
    • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by  Decomposed.
  • #2960

    Decomposed
    Participant

    Can you name any of the fungii I found today in the New Hampshire forests? (I’d call it ‘The Mushroom Challenge’ but since I don’t have the answers, that might not go too well. 🙁 ) My photos follow:

    #1:
    Mushroom #1.  11/3/2018

    #2:
    Mushroom #2.  11/3/2018

    #3:
    Mushroom #3.  11/3/2018

    #4:
    Mushroom #4.  11/3/2018

    #5:
    Mushroom #5.  11/3/2018

    #6:
    Mushroom #6.  11/3/2018

    #7:
    Mushroom #7.  11/3/2018

    #8:
    Mushroom #8.  11/3/2018

    #9:
    Mushroom #9.  11/3/2018

    #10:
    Mushroom #10.  11/3/2018

    #11:
    Mushroom #11.  11/3/2018

    #12:
    Mushroom #12.  11/3/2018

    #13:
    Mushroom #13.  11/3/2018

    #14:
    Mushroom #14.  11/3/2018

    #15:
    Mushroom #15.  11/3/2018

  • #2962

    Decomposed
    Participant

    Can you name any of the fungii I found today in the New Hampshire forests? (I’d call it ‘The Mushroom Challenge’ but since I don’t have the answers, that might not go too well. 🙁 )

    In each set, the first photo is the mushroom as seen from the top, the second (where possible) shows its underside, and the 3rd shows the mushroom as I found it. Sorry that the column to the right is so fuzzy. It’s my comments.

    My photos follow:
    #1:
    #1 11/3/2018

    #2:
    #2 11/3/2018

    #3:
    #3 11/3/2018

    #4:
    #4 11/3/2018

    #5:
    #5 11/3/2018

    #6:
    #6 11/3/2018

    #7:
    #7 11/3/2018

    #8:
    #8 11/3/2018

    #9:
    #9 11/3/2018

    #10:
    #10 11/3/2018

    #11:
    #11 11/3/2018

    #12:
    #12 11/3/2018

    #13:
    #13 11/3/2018

    #14:
    #14 11/3/2018

    #15:
    #15 11/3/2018

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by  Decomposed.
    • #3119

      Summer Bee
      Participant

      I believe the mushroom in photo 1 is a Birch Polypore, and the ones in photos 9 & 10 are Turkey Tail, but that’s all I know! The one in photo 13 looks interesting.

      I didn’t have much luck identifying unknown mushrooms that I picked and brought home. I think I’ll try a different approach and just look for the ones that are in David Spahr’s book. I found Shaggy Mane, which I was very excited about. I cooked it and ate it, but I didn’t think it was very tasty. I’ll have to try cooking it differently next time. I didn’t put any salt on it, so maybe that was the problem. 🙂

      Do you know how to do spore prints? I tried it on white paper, but I didn’t see anything, so I’m wondering if you need a microscope to see them.

  • #2964

    Tolik
    Participant

    I wish I knew more , as there is a lot of that around here . That is one thing I’m afraid to take a chance on , so as tempting as they are , I will pass them by for now .

  • #3160

    Decomposed
    Participant

    Summer Bee:

    re: I believe the mushroom in photo 1 is a Birch Polypore

    I looked up Birch Polypore and that is clearly what it is. Thank you! Birch Polypore (Fomitopsis betulina) is edible, so I’m disappointed that David L. Spahr didn’t list it in his book.

    I also found the following statement: “…although when they are brown or blackened they are no longer useful.”

    Okay, so I can’t eat this one. Unfortunately, I don’t know what they look like before they are brown.

    I agree that #9 and #10 are probably Turkey Tail. I even said so in the tiny print to the right of #10. However, neither looks enough like the Turkey Tail pictures I’ve seen to be sure.

    #13 is surely the most interesting looking mushroom I’ve seen to date. Since it’s easy to get to that tree, I should go see if it has changed. A couple of days have passed and that is a long time for a fungus.

    It occurs to me that I should use one of the old Android tablets I have when I hunt. I can load it with mushroom photos and descriptions from the internet. (Where I am, there’s no cell connectivity… and I don’t carry a smart phone.) David L. Spahr’s book might be good, but the internet is clearly much better.

  • #3163

    Decomposed
    Participant

    I just took a fresh photo of #13. It’s next to my driveway and therefore easy to watch.

    It seems to be done growing. The most significant change is that it’s darker.

    Mushroom #13 2 days later

    • #3245

      Summer Bee
      Participant

      Could it be an oyster mushroom, when it’s past the point of being edible? What kind of tree is it growing on?

    • #3247

      Decomposed
      Participant

      It’s growing on a large sugar maple with many dead branches. However, it’s on the trunk so I wouldn’t describe the wood it’s on as dead.

      Oyster mushroom? I spent a while looking at oyster mushroom photos and have concluded that that’s a definite MAYBE. Oyster mushrooms are among the fungi that have a lot of different looks. Some of them made me think, “Yeah, it could be that!” Others made me think not. I notice that most oyster mushrooms grow in clusters, not as a solitary fungi like mine. I also haven’t found any oyster mushroom photos that look quite as bizarre as mine does. Dissect the monster from a Ridley Scott movie and my mushroom is what you might expect to find in its skull…

      Here’s one of the internet photos that made me think MAYBE…
      Oyster Mushroom Pic Found on Internet

      • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by  Decomposed.
    • #3606

      Summer Bee
      Participant

      Yes, I see what you mean…it’s definitely an oddball mushroom. Maybe you’ll come across someone that lives near you who can identify it for you.

      I just read that oyster mushrooms eat nematodes so they’re considered carnivorous. It’s sounding more like the Alien now. 🙂

  • #3872

    Decomposed
    Participant

    I am underwhelmed with my first foraging book, “Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada” by David L. Spahr. The book’s quality is high. No complaints there, but given that I live in New England and my very first mushroom expedition resulted in TWO edible mushrooms [the Birch Polypore (Fomitopsis betulina) and the American Caesar (Amanita Jacksonii) ], neither of which is rare and neither of which is included in the book, I’m a little disappointed.

    I know that there are a lot of mushrooms, but these two are, from what I’m now reading, quite common. It makes me wonder how many others the book missed.

    For those of you who are still interested in Spahr’s book, it covers: Chanterelle, Small Chanterelles, Black Trumpets, Hedgehog Mushrooms, Horse Mushroom, Meadow Mushroom, Parasol Mushroom, Shaggy Mane, Matsutake, Blewit, Oyster Mushrooms, King Bolete, Two-colored Bolete, Maitake, Chicken of the Woods, Dryad’s Saddle, Yellow Morels, Black Morels, Puffballs, Lobster Mushrooms, Aborted Entoloma, Reisha, Artist’s Conk, Turkey Tail and Chaga. Each of these is covered as a chapter – so there’s a lot of detail and really great photos. In the interest of fairness, I should also point out that many of the above are multiple species.

    Meanwhile, Amazon.com has been quick to make six new book recommendations (see images below). But it will be a while. I’d like to have something that is more comprehensive – of the New England edible mushrooms, anyway – and will seek recommendations before buying again.

    Mushroom Books #1

    Mushroom Books #2

    Mushroom Books #3

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by  Decomposed.

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