August Mushrooms of the Month


This gallery contains 5 photos.

Welcome to the August installment of Mushrooms of the Month. Armillaria mellea a.k.a. Honey Mushrooms by Walt Sturgeon Harrya chromapes a.k.a. Yellowfoot Bolete by Walt Sturgeon Humidicutis marginata by Walt Strugeon Hydnum repandum a.k.a. Hedgehog Mushroom by Walt Sturgeon Hygrophoropsis … Continue reading

Poisoned by an Edible Mushroom?

By Debra Shankland

A friend who is somewhat new to collecting and eating wild mushrooms, and who is wisely cautious in this endeavor, recently passed along to me a couple scientific articles reprinted from journals. I found one article very typical in that it examined issues of mushroom poisoning related to misidentification. But another article proved fascinating!

Titled “Edible mushroom-related poisoning: A study on circumstances of mushroom collection, transport, and storage,” it was published in Human and Experimental Toxicology 2015, Vol. 34(7) 718-724. Authors Gawlikowski, Romek and Satora examined the files of 457 adult patients admitted to Krakow’s Department of Clinical Toxicology with wild mushroom poisoning from 2002 to 2009.

That the amanita species (A. phalloides group) were responsible for most of the toxic species poisonings was a yawner. But this statistic made me sit up straight: out of the 457 cases of mushroom poisoning examined, 400 were caused by EDIBLE species. That’s 87.53%! Why? Incorrect processing after harvest.

Something as simple as using a plastic bag, as opposed to a basket and perhaps waxed paper, to hastily collect and store a serendipity find. Something like neglecting the weekend’s harvest until Tuesday. Something like taking Sunday’s yummy leftovers to work for lunch on Wednesday.

That’s right. We’ve all dabbled with danger. Some have tales to prove it. Some may have no idea where their ‘tummy ache’ came from at the time…

Of those 400 edible species poisonings, the main culprit was long-term (2 days or more) storage of prepared mushroom dishes. This was followed by collecting and storing wild-collected mushrooms in plastic bags, storing freshly-collected mushrooms for 2 days or more, high ambient temperatures during harvesting (that’s 77 degrees F or more), or keeping them in the car or campsite at 77 degrees or more for more than 3 hours, or just eating old and beat-up mushrooms.

Please, folks, food poisoning is serious! Now that August is here, high temperatures combined with high humidity is a given. This is a bad combination for collecting wild berries and wild mushrooms. It’s best to overlook that “motherlode” you spied on your way to work unless you can care adequately for such a gift from nature. Practice restraint when in the field, and only take what you can process quickly. No need to be greedy–leave some mature and perhaps overmature specimens where they grow to complete their natural purpose.

Harvest and treat wild mushrooms like the treat they truly are. Take only what you will use today, give your harvest the best of care, double-check the identity, and promptly freeze or use leftovers.

Don’t be poisoned by edible mushrooms!


July Mushrooms of the Month


This gallery contains 7 photos.

Welcome to the July installment of Mushrooms of the Month. Amanita flavoconia a.k.a. yellow wart by Walt Sturgeon Amanita parcivolvata by Walt Sturgeon Gyroporus castaneus a.k.a. the Chestnut Bolete by Walt Sturgeon Lactarius corrugis by Walt Sturgeon Lactarius hygrophoroides by … Continue reading

July is Chanterelle Month in Ohio

By Walt Sturgeon

Well, the season can last into September and may start in June but July is usually the best month to search out most of these popular edibles. Searching can be very easy as some species are really common.

Cantharellus cibariusCantharellus cibarius

Cantharellus is the genus of true chanterelles but this article will include a Craterellus species as well. Cantharellus species in Ohio are firm and solid. They are convex to slightly funnel shaped. They lack sharp edged gills on their underside and instead have blunt edge “gills” or may be wrinkled to almost smooth. The most famous species is Cantharellus cibarius which is the name used in most field guides. Well, as with many mushrooms there turn out to be several species hiding under this name. The true Cantharellus cibarius is thought not to occur in North America. Matthew Foltz used DNA sequencing to identify three separate but similar cibarius-like species growing within 65 feet of one another in Wisconsin. There are no doubt more out there waiting to be named. No doubt all have been consumed and enjoyed by many. It may turn out that some have better flavor than others but until we know who’s who and what’s what, that is a question for another day. So let’s consider them all as the Golden Chanterelles, Cantharellus cibarius complex. Colors range from egg yolk yellow to orange to salmon or pinkish. Size varies but fist sized is about right, give or take an inch or two. It has blunt edged gill like ridges on the underside. All chanterelles are thought to be mycorrhizal, that is symbiotic with trees or shrubs. So cultivating these tasty morsels has not been done successfully yet. In Ohio the most common host tree for Golden Chanterelles is hemlock. But the complex is also known to occur with beech, spruce and other trees. Like many other chanterelles, you may detect a fruity odor suggesting that of apricots. All Chanterelles tend to grow singly, in a scattered or gregarious manner. Clusters of more than two are rare. See Jack O Lanterns below.

Cantharellus lateritiusCantharellus lateritius

Much more common in Ohio is the Smooth Chanterelle which can often be found in large numbers in our hardwood forests. They are also abundant in lawn areas under oaks. As the name implies this species has a smooth to wrinkled underside. Some consider this species inferior to the Golden Chanterelle. I disagree. Both have the same odor and taste in my opinion. The Golden and Smooth Chanterelles are the target of most Chanterelle hunters. They are abundant and their colors and size make them easy to find. There is one problem though. Peak fruiting usually occurs in July or August. There are no frosts then to deter insects so protein in the form of fly larvae is often an issue. Toleration of these mini protein additions varies from person to person. Cutting the stem near the cap or cutting through the cap will reveal pin holes/tunnels which are an indication of the amount of infestation. I have never heard of the taste being affected or of anyone being sickened by these little pests.

They are versatile treats and can be simply stewed, fried or candied or pickled or used to flavor ice cream or vodka.

Cantharellus cinnabarinusCantharellus cinnabarinus

Cantharellus appalachiensisCantharellus appalachiensis

Smaller Chanterelles such the reddish Cinnabar Chanterelle and the brownish yellow Appalachian Chanterelle are edible but more effort is required to find enough for a decent side dish. Both of these species fruit under oak and beech at the same time as the larger Chanterelles. A tiny Chanterelle is Cantharellus minor. It would take many to make mouthful.

Craterellus fallaxCraterellus fallax

The thin fleshed Black Trumpet, Craterellus fallax is a really flavorful species. It usually grows in association with oaks and is another summer species. Its underside is not gill-like .The gray to tan colors make it hard to see unless it is found in moss which is a common substrate. In my opinion, this is one of the best summer edibles. It has a salmon colored spore color which can sometimes be observed on the underside. A white spored look alike is the edible Craterellus cornucopioides. If you find a black trumpet look alike with gill-like ridges you have Cantharellus cinereus. It is edible but bitter.

One popular chanterelle fruits later in the season, usually in September and October. The Yellow Foot or Winter Chanterelle prefers mossy boggy woods under hemlock. It is rather thin fleshed. It has yellowish brown to blackish brown caps. The underside has forking false gills which range from yellowish to grayish brown to violaceous. The stem is brownish to yellowish, becoming paler at the base. Its flavor is mild, a bit too subtle for my taste. But as the saying goes “There is no accounting for taste”. Try it. You might like it. OMS has had forays in SE Ohio where this has been the target species.

In closing there are two common possible lookalikes. Most serious is the orange Jack o Lantern, Ompahalotus illudens. It grows on wood (sometimes buried), is usually larger and typically grows in large clusters. It has sharp edged gills. Its gills are bioluminescent. The False Chanterelle is variously considered an inferior edible to slightly toxic mushroom. It has sharp edged gills and prefers woody humus. Its colors range from yellow to intense orange to brownish. It does not have a fruity odor.

Ohio Mushroom Society Tee Shirts Now Available!

Available for pre-order NOW!

By Jerry Pepera

It’s been quite some time since the OMS has offered a tee shirt for sale. The idea came up after long time members Mike Nagy and Karen Kelley hosted a tour of Case Western Reserve’s Mushroom Growing operation. After the tour, the group met at Karen Kelley’s house for a social gathering. It was there that Karen shared a great tee shirt idea based literally on the design of a mushroom themed napkin. After a quick approval by the board Karen and Cathy Pepera worked to develop the following artwork proof. The text will be featured on the front of the shirt and the logo will be on the reverse side with the background color of the shirt showing through the logo. We think it turned out fantastic!

OMS Tee Shirt 1

Karen Kelley had a few sample hoodies made up (shown below) which Cathy and I wore to the Indiana Morel and Music Festival in April. We had quite a few people comment that they loved the shirts and several people asked us if we had any for sale.

OMS Tee Shirt 2

OMS Tee Shirt 3

Note: The Hoodie in the above pictures does not reflect the actual shirt we will use. (The shirt shown was purchased separately and given to the screen printer just for the sample). Also, the shirt was made using an inkjet printer and is not nearly as vibrant as the actual shirts which will be silkscreened.

Our shirts are available for pre-order which we plan to have available for pick-up at the Summer Foray July 18-19 and the Fall Foray Oct 3-4. In order to guarantee delivery by the Summer Foray all orders must be received no later than July 5th. We will order extra shirts for sale but please note the ordering deadline is only a few weeks away if you want to be sure one is available in your size. We can also mail the shirt(s) to you for an extra fee.

The following shirt options are available:

Gildan Short Sleeve T Shirt (Serene Green)- $17 each. SM-XL ( $20 for 2XL )
Gildan Long Sleeve T Shirt (Serene Green) – $21 each. SM-XL ( $26 for 2XL )

OMS Tee Shirt 4

Hanes Zip-up Hooded Sweat Shirt (Vintage Khaki- PMS 7530, 80% cotton/20 % Poly) – $40 each. SM-XL ( $46 2XL )
OMS Tee Shirt 5

Shipping (Optional): $7

Note: Due to variations in computer displays the colors above may vary slightly from the actual product.

Please forward all orders to:

Jerry Pepera
8915 Knotty Pine Ln.
Chardon, OH 44024

Please make all checks payable to the Ohio Mushroom Society and indicate whether you want the shirts mailed. Unfortunately, our website is not setup to receive electronic payments so you can send me an email and then follow-up with payment in the mail.

Best Regards,


A PDF version of this announcement is available here.

2015 Summer Foray at Ohio University

By Martha Bishop

Our Summer Foray will feature Dr. Michael Kuo. He is the author of several popular books about mushrooms, and has the excellent website:

Kuo’s recent publication, “Taxonomic revision of true morels (Morchella) in Canada and the United States” (Mycologia 104: 1159-1177), describes 19 phylogenetic species of morels from North America, including 14 new species.

July 17 (Fri.)

7:00-9:00 p.m. Meet for dinner at Restaurant Salaam at 21 W. Washington St. See the menu on their website: Restaurant Salaam

 Parking is:

  1. On the street (meters must be paid Mon-Sat 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
  2. In the city parking garage (from Court St. turn right onto Washington St. and the garage is ½ block on the right.) This is 1½ blocks from Salaam.
  3. At Ohio University in the same lots we will use for the foray, 4 blocks away (see below). Or use this link to an interactive map of the city of Athens: Athens Ohio Map.
    Click on the By Nametab and type Salaam into the box. Then click on the knife and fork icon. It will give you directions from your location.

Please note that Union St. is one-way going east between Congress and Court St. Court St. is one-way going north. W. Washington is one-way going west between S. Shafer and N. High St. Congress St. is one-way going south between Carpenter and Union St.

Please RSVP if you know you will be here for dinner so that we can reserve adequate space. or (740) 593-4552.

Come to dinner anyway if you can’t decide in advance, and you can be seated as space becomes available.

July 18 (Sat.)

8:30-9:30 am. Meet in room 300 Porter Hall for registration and coffee.

10:00 am. Forays will begin. We will go to several different sites in the local hills.

We will have a potluck lunch, so please bring something to share. Any wild mushrooms for consumption must be verified by expert collectors. Please do not bring any home-canned foods.

Michael Kuo will present: “The names, they are a changing: How taxonomic mycology works these days, and what you can do about it”

A non-technical discussion of the way mycologists determine what names to apply to species, as well as an encouragement for amateurs to help, as citizen scientists.

5:30 p.m. Table talk with explanation of the day’s collections.

6:30 p.m. Dinner at Lui-Lui restaurant.

See menus on their website: Lui-Lui Restaurant Menu

Please RSVP if you plan to be here for dinner so that we can reserve adequate space. On Saturday morning we will have a final count for our reservation.

July 19 (Sun.)

9:00 am. Breakfast at Porter Hall 300.

Review of collected fungi.

10:30 a.m. Sunday foray.

Information on parking at O.U.:

Since our event is taking place on a weekend (and after 5:00 p.m. on Friday) the dark green and purple lots on campus will be available for our free use. Signs at the entrance to each lot indicate lot color and number. A map detailing lot colors and locations can be accessed at: Ohio University Parking

Do not park in metered (unless you pay the meter) or restricted spaces within a dark green or purple lot on July 27-29, as these spaces are monitored. Lots 127,128 & 129 (surrounding Building 95, the

Convocation Center) are across Richland Ave. from Porter Hall (Building 86) to the south. Lot 134 is the closest dark gree/purple lot on the same side of Richland Ave. as Porter Hall, and is also to the south of Porter. Lot 120 which is the closest to Porter Hall has metered and disability permit spaces, but is not one of the free parking lots. We should be able to unload any large equipment from lot 120.

For the Saturday night dinner there is parking by the restaurant and we can park in lot 109 by Building 149 Life Sciences, if necessary.

Directions to Porter Hall:

From Columbus:

Take US-33 East to exit 17, the OH-682 exit. Turn right onto Richland Avenue at the traffic circle. Traffic already in the circle has the right of way. At the next light S. Shafer St. is to the left, and South Green

Drive is to the right. Lots 127, 128, and 129 are the first lots accessible from a left turn at the light, and are then immediately to the right. Lot 134 is accessible from a right turn onto South Green Drive at the same

light, and is the first lot on the left. To find lot 120, turn right at the light and then take the first street left which is Oxbow Trail. Lot 120 is the first lot on the left past lot 134.

From Marietta:

Take US-50 West to exit 17, the OH-682 exit. Follow directions above.

From Cincinnati:

Take OH-32 East to Athens, and merge onto OH-32 E/US-33 W/US-50 E via the ramp to Columbus/Belpre. Exit at OH-682 S. Plains Rd. Follow directions above.

From I-77, coming from the north:

Take exit 176 for US-50/7th St toward Downtown (0.4 mi.) Turn right onto US-50 W entering Ohio (10.2 mi.). Keep left at the fork, follow signs for US-50 W/OH-7 S/OH-32 W/Athens/Pomeroy and merge onto OH-32 W/OH-7 S/US-50 W and continue to follow OH-32 W/US-50 W (32.1 mi.). Take exit 17 to merge onto OH-682N, S. Plains Rd. toward OH-56/Athens. Follow directions above.

Directions for Friday night dinner at Restaurant Salaam:

Take the OH-682 exit as directed above. Turn right onto Richland Ave. at the traffic circle. Traffic already in the circle has the right of way. Turn left at the first light beside the large round Convocation Center,

Building 95. This is S. Shafer St. which curves to the right, and brings you to the first light at W. Union St. Turn right onto W. Union St. Take Union until it dead ends into Court St. Turn left onto Court St. and go to the next light. Turn left at the courthouse onto W. Washington St.. Salaam is ½ block on the left. To park in the city parking garage, turn right at the intersection of Court and Washington, rather than as above. The garage is ½ block on the right.

Directions for Saturday dinner at Lui Lui Restaurant:

From Porter Hall, go to the intersection of Richland Ave. and Shafer St. Turn onto Shafer St. and head west. The large, round Convocation Center should be on your right after you turn. Go to the first light at Shafer St. and Union St. Turn right onto Union St. Go 2 blocks to Depot St. Turn right onto Depot St., and go 1 block, merging right onto Station St. Lui Lui is in the first block of Station St. on the right.

There is parking by the restaurant and we can park in lot 109 by Building 149 Life Sciences, if the restaurant lot is full.   Or we can walk 5 minutes from Porter Hall.


Camping at Stroud’s Run State Park:

Fill out self-registration forms available at the entrance to the campground when you arrive, or register ahead on this website: Stroud’s Run State Park Registration. Up to six people may share a campsite. Cost per site is $19.00/night. Located at 11661 State Park Road, (off Stroud’s Run Road) Athens, Ohio 45701. Park information: (740) 592-2302, 1-866-644-6727. It’s a 15-20 min. drive to O.U.

Days Inn Athens:

They are offering us a group rate again, at $59.99+tax/ night. They are reserving 15 rooms for us, each with 2 double beds and 2 people/ room. Additional people up to 4/room can be added for $5.00/person. These rooms are non-smoking, but smoking rooms can be arranged for an additional $5.00. Rooms come with a mini fridge, coffee, microwave, iron, Cable TV, HBO included, and free Wi-Fi. Also complimentary continental breakfast beginning at 6am. Mention the Ohio Mushroom Society when you book your room, and register by June 30 for the group rate. Cancellations should be made 7 days in advance. They are located at 330 Columbus Rd., just off the Columbus Rd. exit on state route 33. Ten minute drive to O.U. (740) 593-6655.

Also all within 10 minutes of campus:

  • Super 8 Motel, 2091 E. State St. (740) 594-4900
  • Knights Inn, 997 E.State St. (740) 593-5565
  • Baymont Inn, 20 Home St. (740) 594-3000
  • Holiday Inn Express, 555 E. State St. (740) 592-4640
  • Hampton Inn, 986 E. State St. (740) 593-5600
  • Ohio University Inn, 331 Richland Ave. (740) 593-6661

Spring fungi / morel miniforay on Saturday,  May 2nd, 2015 

There will be a spring fungi / morel miniforay on Saturday,  May 2nd, 2015 in Geauga County, Ohio starting at 10 am.  This is a private property with 50+ acres of woods, and would be new site to explore for our group.  The owner has found morels there in the past.

Please contact Sharon Greenberg at 330-457-2345 to R.S.V.P., and for information on the meeting place.  This is free for members.

Safety Reminders for the Eating of Spring Mushrooms

by Sharon Greenberg

Spring is here, and morel fever has many of us in its grip. Though I hate to be the “Debbie Downer” of the season, we all need an occasional reminder to pick and prepare those finds with the appropriate caution. Here are a few general reminders regarding the common spring mushrooms.

Morchella esculentoides

Morchella esculentoides

First on the list is the morel itself. One of the most beloved of all wild mushrooms, it should never be eaten raw or partially cooked.  Morels produce small amounts of hydrazine toxins. This toxin is heat-labile, meaning that it is destroyed with high temperatures produced during complete cooking. Also, be careful of where the morel is picked. For instance, morels found in old apple orchards that were treated with a now banned insecticide known as lead arsenate may have accumulations of lead and arsenic in their flesh. Morels found at old industrial sites would also be susceptible to having concentrations of heavy metals or other toxins. It has been reported that some people have reactions to the combination of alcohol and morels.

Gyromitra korfii

Gyromitra korfii

The mushroom most commonly misidentified for a morel would be a Gyromitra species. These are the so-called “false morels.” Experienced mushroomers are unlikely to mistake one for the other. But to an untrained eye they can look similar, especially if the growth is distorted. The best way to differentiate the two is to remember that any Morchella sp. will be completely hollow inside. Gyromitra sp have extra tissue inside, often looking like a cross section of a brain. I advocate that every morel for the pot should be cut in half lengthwise before consuming. This not only reaffirms the identification of a Morchella sp., but also roots out any critter that thinks that the hollow morel makes a great hiding place. Imaging the “yuck” factor associated with biting into a morel with a nice crispy centipede inside!

Gyromitra sp. produce a toxin called gyromitrin that is converted in the body to monomethyl hydrazine (MMH), which is a component of some rocket fuels. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, severe headaches, convulsions, and jaundice. Occasionally, it can cause coma or death, especially if consumed in large amounts. Some people claim that they can eat Gyromitra with no ill effects (some recommend odd or elaborate cooking techniques,) but there is too much risk to advocate eating them.

Verpa bohemica is also associated with low levels of the gyromitrin toxin. It is often called the “early morel” because it generally arrives 1-2 weeks prior to the true morels, and last throughout the true morel season. It can easily be confused with the half-free morels Morchella punctpes and Morchella populiphila. Verpa bohemica has a cap that is wrinkled, but hangs complete free of the stem, i.e. it is attached only at the top. The half-free morels have a cap that is attached to the stalk half way up the length of the cap. Again, cutting the mushroom in half is essential for complete identification. Verpa bohemica will have cottony wisps of tissue inside the stem. Morchella are completely hollow. To be fair, some people do eat Verpa sp. without problems. But others may experience GI upset or loss of muscular coordination. It is not known if the toxins will accumulate in the liver over time.

Morels and Lorchels

Morels and Lorchels

Finally, remember that some mushrooms that are usually found in the summer and fall may poke their heads out early. Be especially careful of Galerina marginata (previously G. autumnalis), commonly classified as a “LBM’s”. I recently found out that it can be found in the spring, when I thought we were safe from it. But no-o-o, this one sometimes arrives early, and it’s deadly! It is found growing on wood or buried wood. It has a brownish, sticky cap, a ring on the stalk, and yellowish to rusty-colored gills. The spore print is rusty brown. It can be confused with Flammulina velutipes (velvet foot,) and Armillaria mellea (honey mushroom.) Both of these can also be found year ‘round, but they have a white spore print.

Galerina marginata produces a toxin called amanatin.   The same toxins produced by some species of deadly Amanita. Symptoms of severe GI distress usually start six to twenty-four hours after ingestion, but then subside. The person will feel much better for about a day, and may even be discharged from a hospital. But, after another day or so, the liver and kidneys begin to fail with possible death from multi-organ failure or internal bleeding in three to four days. There is no antitoxin available, so depending on the type of care the person gets, there is a 10% to 50% chance of dying from this type of poisoning!

Don’t let “Morel madness” get the best of your common sense. Follow a few simple rules and you should be safe; always completely identify every mushroom that you eat; completely cook all wild mushrooms; eat only fresh, undecayed mushrooms; don’t eat mushrooms from possibly contaminated sites; and try not to consume too many at one time. If you have never tried a certain mushroom before, only eat a small amount, and wait at least 24 hours before ingesting any more of it. Some people have allergic reactions or other sensitivities to even the most common edibles.

Dick Grimm’s best advice was “If in doubt, throw it out!”  Always good words to heed.

Happy and safe hunting to all!

Sharon Greenberg

P.S. Here are some excellent on-line sites that give much more in-depth information.

April Mushrooms of the Month


This gallery contains 5 photos.

Welcome to the April installment of Mushrooms of the Month. Ascomycetes a.k.a. sac fungi by Walt Sturgeon Neofavolus alveolaris by Walt Sturgeon Pleurotus by Walt Sturgeon Pluteus cervinus a.k.a. the Deer mushroom by Walt Sturgeon Sarcoscypha austriaca a.k.a. scarlet elfcup … Continue reading