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Fall Mushrooms in the Pacific NW


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#1 vitog

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 12:38 AM

I haven't seen any posts of mushroom finds lately from eastern NA; so I'd like to report that on the Pacific coast there is still plenty to be found from SW BC southward. I'm still getting plenty of Chanterelles and Hedgehogs, and even found some buttons of American Matsutake. The Chanterelles are starting to show their age; so I only select the best ones. But the Hedgehogs are still in very good shape, and this has been a good year for this species. I also see a lot of Boletus mirabilis, which I don't pick but is considered a good edible. I assume that things are better further south, but up here the Matsutake crop has been very poor. The only specimens that I've found have been at the lowest elevations; there is nothing at higher elevations. No doubt our poor weather this spring is the reason for this. The cool weather caused the snow to remain in the mountains much longer than normal, delaying growth of mushroom mycelia so that there wasn't enough time for mushrooms to form. This year I found no Boletus edulis at all, presumably because all of my spots are quite high.

There are also plenty of Winter Chanterelles (Yellowfoot) to be found, but their season is just starting. I'm waiting for them to grow larger so that picking is more efficient. There are also Honey Mushrooms, but this is another one that I don't bother with. It would be nice to hear from some of the other members from the Wet Coast; I'm sure there are lots of other mushrooms being found.

By the way, I observed an interesting phenomenon regarding the Hedgehog mushrooms. I found a number of cut stems at some of my usual spots; so I assumed that some other mushroom hunter had found those locations. However, when I looked more closely, I noticed that the cuts were somewhat rounded, not straight like knife cuts. Eventually, I discovered a couple of locations where there were bits of mushroom debris scattered around a log or a stump; and I realized that squirrels were eating the Hedgehogs. I've never noticed this in previous years; so I wonder if this year the Douglas-Fir trees produced a smaller than usual crop of cones and seeds. This is the normal food of the little Douglas Squirrels that inhabit the local forests, and perhaps the squirrels had to resort to an alternate food source. I hope that this phenomenon only occurs occasionally, because the squirrels are formidable competitors. And they seem to be particularly fond of Hedgehog mushrooms.

#2 ladyflyfsh

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 09:53 AM

They are also fond of Lactarius hygrophoroides and seem to just eat the gills underneath the cap and leave the rest to rot!

#3 Dave W

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 04:01 PM

A common sight in our Pennsylvania forests is an upturned Russula mushroom that has been placed upon a stump, rock, or log. The squirrels harvest them and find nice spots to sit and munch.

#4 vitog

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:39 PM

I see Russulas left on logs all the time. I once found a group of them left to dry on a rock in a shelter cave. The thing that I thought was most interesting this year is that there were plenty of Russulas around when the squirrels were munching on the Hedgehogs, but they never left much of the Hedgehogs behind. When I found fragments of the Hedgehogs under an obvious eating location, the only bits to be seen were small pieces of stem; the caps were consumed completely. The squirrels seemed to have a preference for the Hedgehogs.

#5 RockRogue

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:02 PM

I have seen a squirrel eating a slippery jack here in Oregon once. I looked around and saw more evidence of his gluttony on other specimens in the same cluster.

#6 joshroom

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 05:15 PM

A common sight in our Pennsylvania forests is an upturned Russula mushroom that has been placed upon a stump, rock, or log. The squirrels harvest them and find nice spots to sit and munch.



I found a russula stored in a branch nook this fall, it was the first time I have seen this, but I have seen bites taken out of morels before

#7 Pickinpox

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 04:21 PM

The chantrelles I'm finding are getting more rare. I am still finding a decent amount of Matsutakes though, they last for a while longer. The hedgehogs are still coming on strong, now is when you find the nice ones {brought some to my Dad's for Thankgiving}. I have seen mice and rat trails that have mushrooms in them, the spores sprout and mycelium grows in their droppings...
Deer and elk love the Kings I often find them with a huge chunk bitten out of them.

#8 vitog

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 12:11 AM

Unlike last year, when everything froze up in mid-November, late fall has been fairly mild this year, with temperatures only dropping a few degrees below zero C on occasion. As a result, I still found a few nice, big Golden Chanterelles today, along with a single young-looking but wormy American Matsutake. There also are still some nice, young Hedgehog mushrooms to be found, both big ones and the little Belly-button types. Normally, at this time of year we're usually only finding Winter Chanterelles, which are particularly abundant right now. I had no difficulty in filling a 6 liter bucket with these, which is about as much as I'm willing to pick in one session, since they are pretty small compared to the other mushrooms that I normally harvest. It helps to use scissors, which allow you to snip off a handful at a time. The woods are full of Late Fall Oysters, many of them still in good shape; but I don't consider them to be worth picking when there are better mushrooms to be had.

#9 vitog

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 11:34 PM

Well, the fall/winter mushroom season seems to be just about over. I picked about a gallon of Winter Chanterelles today, but these are survivors of the arctic air blast that hit us in mid-January (temperature of -8 C recorded at Vancouver Airport). I looked for but could not find any young, growing specimens. There weren't any other edible mushrooms to be seen; so that should be the end of mushroom hunting until the morel season starts (early April, if we're lucky). That won't keep me out of the woods, of course; I plan to spend some time trying my hand at truffling. This is, of course, a mostly futile pursuit; but I found my first truffles last year. Now that I have some idea of where to look, I hope to a find at least a few of these delectible tidbits.

I only found one good truffle last year, and I gave it away to be identified. The interesting thing is that this truffle, identified as Hydnotrya tulasnei, is not even described as a good, edible type; however, it had a strong, classic truffle aroma. Everyone who had a whiff immediately recognized it as a truffle. I hope to find another specimen and try it out in a truffle dish. Last year it was ripe several weeks before morel season started, and it was located at a fairly high elevation. If it grows at lower elevations, its season should start a month or more ahead of morels, just what I need to help fill the gap between Winter Chanterelles and morels.




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