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January 18, 2021
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 newsletter@cascademyco.org. Also feel free to share the CMS Enews.
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  • When: Wednesday, January 20, 2020, at 7:00 pm
  • Where: Online Event – CMS Youtube Channel (click to set a reminder)

This presentation features stunning mushroom images and stories from over ten years of “Mushroaming”, a term Daniel coined for his mushroom themed eco-adventures exploring the funga of exotic destinations. When traveling in rugged High Asia (Tibet & Bhutan), tropical South America (Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia & Suriname), as well as wild North America, Daniel is on the hunt for gorgeous choice edibles, potent medicinals, and all kinds of bizarre and colorful fungi from the most minute to massive fruitings. His favorite hounds are rain forests, be it tropical or temperate as well as mountain environments ripe with porcini, chanterelles etc.. His favorite fungi (besides all these tasty edibles) are strange Cordyceps, which triggered Daniel’s curiosity in medicinal mushrooms 25 years ago in Tibet. Recently this interest matured into a new field guide “Medicinal Mushrooms of North America” published in cooperation with Robert Rogers.



Daniel Winkler is the author of field guides to Edible Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest and California (both Harbour Publishing, 2011 and 2012),  Amazon Mushrooms (w. Larry Evans) and Medicinal Mushrooms of North America (2018, w. Robert Rogers). He grew up collecting and eating wild mushrooms in the Alps and has been foraging ever since. For over 20 years in the PNW and beyond, sharing his enthusiasm as a mushroom educator, guide and as Puget Sound Mycological Society vice-president. In his presentations he combines his stunning photography with an often funny blend of entertaining stories and scientific information; he likes to refer to as “edutainment”. Having been in love with mushrooms since early childhood Daniel managed to bend his career as an ecologist and geographer focused on High Asia towards researching mushrooms and rural income in Tibet. His Cordyceps research has been featured in The Economist, National Geographic, NYT, WSJ, NPR, BBC etc. In the last decade Daniel started exploring neotropical fungi. With his travel agency MushRoaming Daniel is organizing mushroom focused eco-tours to Tibet, China, the Amazon, Colombia, the Austrian Alps and the Pacific Northwest since 2007.



Update on the West Coast Rare Challenge

When FunDiS (Fungal Diversity Survey) launched the Rare 10 West Coast Challenge in October they didn’t know what to expect - would anybody go out and look for the rare and threatened fungi on our list?

Now, ten weeks later, we have the answer: lots and lots of people have taken up the challenge. Everyone from serious mushroom hunters, to birders, hikers, geocachers and ecologists.

Together they have made 55 observations of five species on the list. From Haida Gwaii in British Columbia to Northern California and all the way to Wyoming, where four specimens of Dictyocephalos attenuatus (the Stalked Oddball) were found - a major range extension for the species!

But five of the ten species are still MIA. And this is where you come in. All five species can be found in Northern California in the Winter.
The Golden-gilled Waxy Cap (Hygrocybe flavifolia)
The Piggyback Pinkgill (Volvariella surrecta)
The Purple Prince (Ramaria Purpurissima)
The Manzanita Butterclump ((Pachycudonia spathulata), and, rarest of all
The Yellow-Gilled Cypress Lepiota (Lepiota luteophylla)

This page has information on all 10 species. And if you’re interested in what has already been found, most observations can be found on our iNat project page. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to conservation@fundis.org with any questions.

Fungi in the News

(AKA, a roundup of recent CMS Facebook posts)


The Uses for Mycelium in Minecraft: Any online gamers out there? Mushrooms and fungus can be placed on mycelium, regardless of the light levels of the surroundings. This is a rather unique feature, which allows players to store these blocks and even grow huge mushrooms at otherwise less than ideal conditions. Read more at Sportskeeda


Adidas to Launch Plant-Based Shoes Made of Mushroom Leather: We can all use some good news! A major US company (Adidas) is adding sneakers made of mushroom leather, hooray! We will forgive them for not knowing that a fungus is not a plant. Read more at Good News Network


 
Handbags, hamburgers, bricks - how mushrooms can be the ultimate sustainable material: It is hard to find any other substance or life form in nature that has been so impactful on our planet than fungi. They hold many secrets to our past and are the best hope for our future. Read more at The Print



Making Medicinal Mushroom Tincture: While tincture is not the only way to enjoy the medicinal qualities of mushrooms, it is the topic of this blog post. My favorite tincture technique is a double extraction which means the mushroom is soaked in alcohol and then in hot water, each of which extracts different qualities from the mushroom. Read more at Modern Forager


How Soil Fungi Respond to Wildfire: Some very interesting and needed research - I love the fact that this PHD students entire family was willing to help out with the storage of soil samples - You will also find a link to his published research in the article at Science Blog



Fungi Fascination Central Community College: “Being able to use bee hotels made out of mycelium would enable farmers to bring these onto their properties and then after two or three years in use, actually till them into the land as a soil amendment,” said Ayers. “That would feed all sorts of microorganisms in the land as well as break down more nutrients to feed the land and crops.” Read more at cccneb.edu



The world of mushrooms: This article points out all the reasons that mushrooms are not just about finding a free meal in the forest. Fungi are so much more than the mushrooms they produce. CMS always hopes to educate people beyond edible mushrooms into the larger fascinating world of fungi. Read more at Coastal View.com
The truth about Russula brevipes

During my lifetime I’ve tried to mostly avoid the pitfalls of dealing with rumor, hearsay, and innuendo. I have heard my share of them from various sources and have generally learned to take them all, as they say, with a grain of salt; my preference being Himalayan Salt. However, the opinions we manifest from hearing these unsubstantiated tidbits of information can certainly influence our thinking and the choices we make. Unfortunately, the persistence of some rumors has basically immortalized them in stone, such as; George Washington had wooden teeth, Albert Einstein was bad at math, the Loch Ness monster is real, and men with big hands have big…., well you get the picture. While I consider myself large handed, I’m not writing this article to either substantiate nor deny any of these facts statements. My goal is to undo the damage made by the utterly unsupported misrepresentation of an attractive, robust, rugged specimen of a mushroom commonly known as the Short-Stemmed Russula (Russula brevipes). This mammoth of a mushroom (left side of picture) certainly doesn’t deserve the reputation associated with it and should never be punted, kicked, or trampled. The brevipes, as with all species in the genus Russula, is ectomycorrhizal (symbiotic) with conifers in Oregon and comprised of hyphae with large spherical cells. This cell structure gives this genus the ability, when fresh, to snap cleanly like breaking a piece of chalk rather than tearing like mushrooms comprised of more fibrous, elongated cells. This characteristic is an important feature in helping to identify members of the genera Russula and Lactarius. Chewing on a piece of cap from a fresh Russula mushroom, then spitting it out, will also give you a good indication of its potential edibility. The general wisdom is to avoid those that are acrid (pungent) or produce heat reminiscent of hot peppers. Even though few species in the genus Russula are known to be poisonous, proper identification is always essential. I would like to tell you there are no brevipes look-alikes, but sadly that would be engaging in rumor, hearsay, and innuendo.

The White and Black Russula (Russula albonigra) starts out white then begins to blacken with age. It also quickly turns black in areas that are handled. Unless you pick this mushroom when it is quite small, it usually has already started its conversion from white to black. While the taste is mild, it is not recommended as an edible.


The Cascade Russula (Russula cascadensis) does not attain the large size of the brevipes but can look quite similar. However, the taste test will quickly alert you to having found Cascadensis as it is quite acrid to hot and will also stain a cinnamon color where handled. This species is also not recommended as an edible.


The Short Stemmed Russula (Russula brevipes) is white to slightly off white when fresh. The cap can have yellowish to yellowish-brown spots, is broadly funnel shaped and over time can become wavy at the margins. While surface color does not change due to handling, it will become a more dingy beige as it ages. For consumption, it is best picked when it is smallish to medium sized and still very firm. I always slice off a small piece of the stem and cap to make sure fungal gnat larvae are not visibly present. If clean, nibble on the cap slice to verify its mild flavor, then spit it out. This species is also the host to the parasitic fungus Hypomyces lactifluorum, which converts this mostly unassuming mushroom into the more sought after Lobster Mushroom. I tell fellow mushroomers that the primary difference between brevipes and the lobster is what you’ll pay for it at a grocery store or mushroom stand. In my and Sandy’s opinion, with the lobster mushroom you are basically paying for its orange coloration. If you found that last statement disconcerting, please take a few moments to recover from your gasp of astonishment before you continue reading this article. OK then. I will admit, the orange color of the lobster makes it quite showy and easy to spot in the woods. See, it’s not all bad news.

In a pictorially documented taste test that we recently conducted, we took a moderate sized brevipes, cleaned it up, then sliced it into quarter-inch wide pieces. This being a very dry mushroom, we first heated up a little olive oil and butter, then placed the slices into the sauté pan so each one fully contacted the pans surface. Once they achieved their golden brown hue, it was all over but the tasting. The texture was still firm but the flavor was mild with a very pleasant sweet taste that both of us really enjoyed. In fact, we actually rated it slightly better than the lobster mushroom in flavor. I would go as far as to say the Russula Brevipes is; better eaten than beaten, better chewed than booed, and better picked than kicked. Next time you see one of these ubiquitous mushrooms you may want to think about giving it your own taste test evaluation.

Wishing the both of you who read my articles a belated Happy New Year and hoping CMS will be able to conduct maskless forays this coming fall. Stay safe and good mushroom hunting.

References & Pictures:
Photos & information for Russula albonigra and Russula cascadensis are from the Northwest Key Council website. The photos of these two species were taken by Benjamin (Ben) Woo, a key member in the Puget Sound Mycological Society and expert on mushroom species in the genus Russula. Sadly, Mr. Woo passed away on February 8, 2008.

All other photos taken by Ron & Sandy and all sautéed brevipes slices were also eaten (and enjoyed) by Ron & Sandy.

Reference information for this article was also taken from All That the Rain Promises and More, Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast, and Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest

Below are upcoming mushroom events in the PNW, not sponsored by CMS. 
As of publishing date all of these events are open for registration; that may change. Please take caution in making a decision as to the safety of attending an event.




World of Mushroom Medicine

Join herbalist Yarrow Willard of Wild Rose Herbal College
in Calgary Canada and special guest Dr. Terry Willard on
an immersive tour of China's medicinal mushroom world.
This is a free downloadable series of 20 videos.
More info and download here.

 
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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