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February 15, 2021
The CMS ENews is published monthly by the Cascade Mycological Society (CMS) from September thru May.  CMS is located in Eugene, Oregon. If you have questions, comments, or contributions for the CMS Enews, email us at Also feel free to share the CMS Enews.
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  • When: Wednesday, February 17, 2020, at 7:00 pm
  • Where: Online Event – CMS Youtube Channel (click to set a reminder)

This month’s presentation will showcase some of the mushroom species in Michael Beug’s soon to be released book titled “Mushrooms of Cascadia: An Illustrated Key”. Michael has collected and photographed mushrooms of the Cascadia region for over 50 years. The presentation will include discussions on Cortinarius, Boletes, Amanita, Morchella, Cantharellus, Lactarius, Hericium, and polypore mushrooms; including several recently discovered/unnamed species.

The book is a unique field guide enabling all levels of user to key out mushrooms while in the field. It  contains over 1,000 color photographs of over 900 species; all packed into a 9×6 book that weighs just over one pound that easily slips into a day pack. The fruiting range of the included mushrooms are right in our back yard; from coastal Alaska to central California, inland to Idaho with emphasis on mushrooms of the Cascades.

Michael Beug, Professor Emeritus, Evergreen State College taught chemistry, mycology and organic farming at Evergreen in Olympia, Washington for 32 years. He is active in the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) and the Pacific Northwest Key Council; a group dedicated to writing macroscopic keys for the identification of fungi. In addition to this new book, he coauthored Ascomycete Fungi of North America, published in 2014.  His photographs have appeared in over 80 publications. He regularly writes about mushrooms for McIlvainea: Journal of American Amateur MycologyThe Mycophile (NAMA newsletter), and Fungi Magazine. Michael received the 2006 NAMA Award for Contributions to Amateur Mycology and has prepared over two dozen presentations about mushrooms for the NAMA Education Committee. In 2017, mushroom expert Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti, created the Mike Beug Scholarship,  in honor of the professor who helped shape Stamets’ career as a mycologist.


A new policy on video recordings of past meetings

When we headed down the path of live streaming our CMS meetings to YouTube we did not give a lot of thought to retention of the video recordings of our meetings.  In keeping with our philosphy of all CMS meetings are open to the public, we have left all of our past meetings on YouTube for everyone to be able to view at any time.   As of last month the CMS board adopted a new policy to consider the wishes of our guest speakers who own the rights to the content of their presentation.  We now have each speaker complete a speakers agreement that includes retention rights. We ask them to select any or all of the following:
  • Retain on YouTube for public viewing.
  • Retain on a video sharing service that permits access only to CMS members that are logged into the CMS website.
  • Delete completely, do not retain.
We went back to all past speakers and have been removing past meetings from the CMS YouTube channel in accordance with speaker wishes. We have also created a CMS Meeting Presentations page on the CMS website that is only accessible to CMS members. Members can access this page from the My Membership menu.

Fungi in the News

(AKA, a roundup of recent CMS Facebook posts)

Fungi in the gut prime immunity against infection - A new study shows that healthy gut fungus may fight off other fungal infections in the body - "Normal intestinal fungi such as Candida albicans may function as a kind of intestinal vaccine against fungal infection in healthy people, by inducing the production of bloodborne antibodies that can target multiple species of potentially pathogenic fungi." Read more at Science Daily

In search of a humongous fungus - CBS Sunday Morning did a nice story on Oregon's Humongous Fungus. This article includes a very nice video that takes you inside the area for a close up look at the Armillaria ostoyae that covers 3.7 square miles of the forest. Read more at CBS

Wyden, Merkley propose new protections for 4,700 miles of Oregon rivers - Yes, mushrooms can fruit beside rivers and even in them, so we should take this as a win! The bill aims to boost recreation, protect water quality and wildlife, safeguard cultural resources and foods, and mitigate wildfire risk. Read more at OPB.

One day, your home could be made with mushrooms - This article includes an excellent video! Building materials from mycelium produce far less planet-heating carbon dioxide than traditional materials like cement. An added bonus is that mushrooms are biodegradable. Read more at The Verge

Mushroom seasons: Episode 1, Autumn Aroma - Our friends Kristen and Trent of Modern Forager shared this documentary video they found on YouTube about the life of Japanese Americans foraging for mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest. The first episode titled "Autumn Aroma" is all about foraging for the most popular mushroom in Asian culture, the Matsutake. We look forward to more episodes. You can view Autumn Aroma on the  Mushrooms Seasons YouTube channel.

Extracts from mushrooms show inhibitory effects against FIV reverse transcriptase - Even our pets can benefit from mushrooms. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is known for causing AIDS-like symptoms in domestic and wild cats. This study reveals that extracts from four mushrooms; I. obliquus, P. igniarius, C. sinensis, and M. esculenta showed potential anti-FIV effects. Read more at Myvetcandy

Truffles of North America - now on iNaturalist - Any truffle hunters out there? The North American Truffle Society (NATS) located in Corvallis Oregon has created an iNaturalist project for documenting truffle finds. NATS created this project as part of its' mission to enhance the scientific knowledge of North American truffles and truffle-like fungi, and to promote educational activities related to truffles and truffle-like fungi. Find out more at iNaturalist

Just for fun - Hopefully every mushroom lover has heard about or seen the photographs of Taylor Lockwood. Taylor is a long time friend of CMS and has shared his spectacular photos and stories with us many times over the years. But, maybe you do not know of Taylor's past life in a rock-n-roll band. Here is a glimpse into Taylor's past life; in his 2010 video Mushroom Fever.

In case you have not seen enough Bernie Sanders memes

CMS member Vicki Dunnaway created and shared these to the CMS Forums Facebook page.

The tough but tasty Laccaria

Mushroom species in the genus Laccaria come in several colors in our region of  Oregon but fortunately all are fairly easy to identify. The first time Sandy and I  became acquainted with Laccaria species was on a mushroom hunting trip with  Harriet Kelly. Harriet was quite fond of  these mushrooms and referred to them as “The Bacon Mushroom”. We didn’t fully understand the bacon inference until she started frying up their stems later that day. The cooking process took quite a bit of  time to complete as the stems transformed  themselves from their natural brownish  orange/peachy buff color, to slightly  golden, to pitch black and reduced to a fraction of their original stem size. Presto change-o, mushroom bacon sticks had  been magically created right before our eyes. After a few minutes of resting the  bacon sticks on some paper towels to sop up some of the excess oil, it was time  for the taste test. I picked up one of the nuclear charred stems and started chewing. Unfortunately, when you ask long time vegetarians to see if they get  that bacon flavor, it requires thinking way back in time to your last BLT sandwich  along with using some very creative taste-bud imagination. Was it bacon? Well it could have been as the texture seemed right and it had that pleasant deep fried  taste. Although, as vegetarians one should be suspect of any conclusions Sandy and I reached that day. All in all, it didn’t really matter as we had a great time in  the woods, learned about a new mushroom, and had the opportunity to eat some simulated bacon suitable for vegetarians. Aside from the stem and its bacon  potential, Laccaria caps are far less dense than their stems and are easily sautéed, much in the same way as most other mushrooms. 

So, if you’re interested in creating your own version of Laccaria bacon or simply  want to add another edible mushroom to your  foraging list, here’s how to find this attractive  mushroom. In Oregon, the genus Laccaria is mycorrhizal with conifer trees and is therefore easily found in our very abundant conifer forests. We find them at the Coast, in the  Willamette Valley, and in the Cascade  mountain range. The Laccaria species Sandy and I mostly encounter is Laccaria laccata. With a peachy to peach buff color when young, it is easily spotted alongside paths, gravel roads, and in the woods.

An excellent identification test, which we ask people to try on our forays, is to hold the top and bottom ends of the stem and  try to slowly tug it apart. This task is easier said than done. Because the stem is very fibrous and sometimes twisted like rope, it is quite tough and durable. As seen in the photo above, it can also have whitish colored stripes interlaced within  the peachy colored stem. The gills of Laccaria species are very bladelike. Some gills are attached to the stem while others are  short gills. Short gills begin at the margin of the cap but do not extend all the way to the stem. Gill color will vary depending  on the species of Laccaria you find. Caps can become quite large as they age and generally take on a wavy character. The  best thing about Laccaria species is they start fruiting fairly  early in the fall and can persist well into the winter. 

Another common species of Laccaria in our area has the ridiculously long name of  Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis. The name is more reminiscent of a moniker associated with some spooky, older than dirt Magician dressed in all black or  perhaps an outmoded Carnival Ringmaster from long ago. Saying this species  name should always be preceded by  the phrase; “Now introducing”. In any  event, and for the sake of brevity, most refer to this attractive  mushroom by its common name of  “amethyst laccaria”. The dominate  characteristic of this species is its  purple coloration, especially when it  first develops. In time, the color will  fade to a more pinkish buff color similar to Laccaria laccata. While  other genera contain purple colored mushrooms, I do not know of any that can stand up to the stem-tugging test like  Laccaria species can. One additional species you can find is called Laccaria bicolor,  which has a peachy buff cap color and gills with a purplish hue. One might  conclude L. bicolor to be an offspring of some seedy affair between L.laccata and L.amethysteo-occidentalis. Fortunately, as we all know, I am not one to engage in  spreading rumors.  

Regardless of which species of Laccaria you find, their stems can be turned into simulated bacon sticks and their caps sautéed for your favorite mushroom meal. They are easy to clean and the sautéed caps have a good flavor and texture somewhat like a very lean steak. Happy mushroom hunting, stay safe, and always  be 10,000% certain of your mushroom identification.

Below are upcoming online mushroom events, not sponsored by CMS. 
These events were found via a search for free mushroom events on Eventbrite.
These presentations may not be specific to the PNW and they may have attendee limits.
Read the descriptions and decide for yourself. 

February 16, 20201 - Magic Mushrooms: Easing Depression and Anxiety at End of Life -  Discover the intriguing implications of psilocybin-facilitated experiences in offering a sense of connection, meaning, and transcendence in advanced illness and at the end of life.  More information and registration on Eventbrite

February 18, 2021 - More Than Peanuts: George Washington Carver’s Fungi Fascination - George Washington Carver  was a conservationist, a chemist, an orchid grower, a painter, a musician, and a mycologist! He studied mycology as a student at Iowa Agricultural, and in Alabama at the Tuskegee Institute. His fungal specimens were important in the documentation of the biodiversity of the southern U.S., and the nation. More information and registration on Eventbrite

February 22, 2021 - Grow your own mushrooms - This webinar will focus on the bucket method of mushroom growing and go into detail on home grower start-up considerations. More information and registration on Eventbrite.

March 4, 2021 - Myco Hangout with Jess Starwood - Come hang out with Jess, a chef, herbalist, forager and author of the soon to be published book "A Forager’s Guide to Finding, Identifying, and Using 25 Wild Fungi".  More information and registration on Eventbrite.

March 14, 2021 - Fantastic Fungi Watch party - If you have not yet seen this documentary featuring Paul Stamets, Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, here is your chance! More information and registration on Eventbrite

March 18, 2021 - The Hidden Life of the Forest Preserves: Cool Mushrooms and Frozen Fungi - In this webinar explore some of the important ways fungi interact with plants and wildlife. You’ll discover how fungi perform critical functions in nature, working behind the scenes in the soil to help plants get an early start in spring.  More information and registration on Eventbrite. 

March 18, 2021 - Introduction to Fungal Microscopy - This class breaks down the basics for beginners about different types of microscopes, their parts, and other supplies needed to get started. We will also talk about mounting techniques, chemical reagents and some of the basic physical features to look for when viewing mushroom parts in the micro world! More information and registration on Eventbrite. 
The mission of the Cascade Mycological Society is:
  • to study fungi;
  • to educate members and the public about fungi identification and ecology;
  • to promote conservation of fungi;
  • to promote health and safety in the gathering and consumption of edible fungi,
  • and to have fun!
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