Today’s first – attended a fungus fair put on by the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz. What I learned right off the bat is that Mycology, the study of mushrooms, is no different than any science in that learning the language is vital! I was impressed by the extensive knowledge of specific terms the FFSC volunteers possessed. Thea was a huge help when it came to identifying the mushrooms Mia and I found yesterday. Turkey Tail, False Turkey Tail and Sulfur Tuft. (*the way know you have true turkey tail to look at its underside. The underside of a mushroom is called the hymenium or fertile surface, where spores are produced and then drop to the ground. As a polypore, turkey’s tail holds its spores in tubes, so its underside should display tiny holes visible to the naked eye.)
Thea also educated me on the wood like mushroom we found in a multi trunk tree- Artist’s Monk. It was given this name, because you can actually draw on the pore side. If you scratch it, a different color will be revealed.
Everyone at the festival was passionate about shrooms! I learned a lot while speaking to other attendees.
Here’s the 411 in a nutshell:
What is the best way to learn about collecting?
*join an amateur collecting group
*go on organized forays and learn from those who now
*get a good field guide and spend time with it. best for central CA is Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora
* Equip yourself with the basics: good field guide, collecting container (wicker basket is best), knife, small trowel for digging, small brush for cleaning, waxed paper or paper bags (NEVER use plastic)
*Find a good area to collect mushrooms. Habitat is important: oak, madrone, fir, pine and manzanita support good fruitings while bay, laurel and eucalyptus do not. Note it’s illegal to colect in most state parks.
* Select target species, keeping seasonality in mind. Oysters and honeys come up in the fall, black trumpets come up in winter -spring.
Parts of the shroom: Cap (pileus), stem (stipe), gills (lammellae), pores, ring (annulus), universal veil (remnants found on the top of the cap and base of the stem).
DO NOT EAT ANY MUSHROOM UNLESS YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY SURE OF YOUR IDENTIFICATION “WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!”
Keep the fun in fungus, says these two..