Fungal Reflections and Happy New Year

By Debra Shankland

As 2016 careens out of control toward a skidding stop, I’m drawn to the peaceful memories in my mind of golden afternoons in the woods, inhaling the scent of leaves and fungi. I recall conversations that caused me to laugh out loud as I foraged with friends-seen-far-too-little.

There was also the time when sunlight baked the woods, and it seemed the only moisture around was beading up on my forehead. Each mushroom found that day was a little miracle, confirmation of nature’s persistence and adaptation to microhabitats.

I invite you to recall your own fun adventures pursuing whatever it is that attracts you to
studying and enjoying mushrooms, and give a thought to how you’d like to manifest that
enjoyment in the new year. I hope that you choose to continue your Ohio Mushroom Society membership. Except for Life Members, everyone’s membership expires on December 31, so why not renew today?

Also, your all-volunteer board members will be convening in February to plan this year’s forays and initiatives. Do you have ideas for us? Places that you think would be good foray locations? Guest speakers you’d like us to consider? Would you like to write a far better blog than this one (easy for you, I’m certain!)? Contact us by by simply hitting “Contact” on the black navigation bar on this page. We’d love to hear from you and have your input!

I wish you a fungi-filled New Year!

Debra
OMS President

Life after Morel Season

By Martha Bishop

It’s May, and in southeastern Ohio the spring wildflower and morel season has progressed at an unusual pace. Flowers that were in bloom May 1 last year, bloomed on April 1 this year. Although I heard reports of a few early morels, most in this area were found in mid to late April despite the 80 degree daytime temperatures. It seemed there was a window of a day or two after a rain before the unseasonal heat dried out the mushrooms where they stood. So perhaps, like me, you haven’t had much luck finding mushrooms in good condition so far this season. And you may be asking yourself what’s next. Do not be discouraged!

For those in the know about mushrooms, the great times for finding mushrooms are still ahead!

Although morels are among the mushrooms that are relatively easy to identify, they represent only a few different species. As summer and fall progress, there will be hundreds of other species popping up in our fields and forests.

If you have not learned to recognize many different species, now is the time to join your local mushroom society. Whether your interest in mushrooms is in photography, art, dyeing fibers, scientific study, love of nature, or collecting edibles, you can learn more from those who share your interests in the Ohio Mushroom Society. And don’t forget that registration for the North American Mycological Association fall foray will open in May. This meeting will be in Virginia this year (close enough for Ohioans to carpool.) In my mind, clearly the best way to learn to recognize new species is to have someone who knows them show them to you and explain how they know. Many of our modern field guides to mushrooms have excellent pictures, and some have good keys. But I would not presume to be certain of a mushroom identification (especially certain enough to consume a mushroom) without a spore print and confirmation from an experienced mushroom identifier.

When you do find mushrooms in good condition this year, following a few simple guidelines will help to promote the growth of mushrooms in years to come.

  • Collect your specimens carefully. Be sure to unearth the whole specimen so that you can see all of its features, but don’t dig around the mushroom any more than is necessary. Remember that the underground (or inside wood and other substrates) mycelium is the main part of the mushroom that persists from year to year. Also be careful not to trample or otherwise disturb the mycelium unnecessarily.
  • Take pictures and notes about the mushrooms in their natural state.
  • Take note of other members of the ecology. It is important to know what other organisms share the mushrooms’ habitat. This can help you learn more about how the mushrooms live, and can help you to identify them.
  • Don’t collect all of the specimens at a site. Leave some to spread spores and to feed other members of the natural community. Don’t collect more than you will actually use.
  • Use a basket or other sturdy container for collection so that the mushrooms will not be crushed. Use paper bags (or waxed paper) to separate different species.
  • Make a spore print for each species, and refrigerate the rest of the mushrooms until you are ready to identify and use them.
  • Place any parts left over back in the natural environment. Try to put them in an environment similar to the one where you found them.

That said, I hope to see you at the upcoming Summer Foray at Ohio University! Last year we had an amazing number and diversity of mushrooms here.

Please see details by clicking the Events tab at the top of the page, and by clicking on the newsletter link for May/June 2016 to the right under recent posts.

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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.

2013 OMS Autumn Foray at Deep Woods

OMSFallForay2013_02
By Dave Miller

The weekend began with a long rainy commuter/rush hour fueled drive down from Oberlin, followed by a quick check-in at the Inntowner, then a fast back-track to JimBo’s biker pub, where we found Karen Kelley & Mike Nagy, Andrea & Will Moore, Jerry Pepera, Linda Rafferty, and Walt Sturgeon, waiting patiently for Marie and I to show up and enjoy their giant burger menu and great selection of bottled beers.

Saturday we convened at the Deep Woods Farm at 9 am. After coffee and a variety of baked goods, organized and set up by Sharon Greenberg, 2 groups set off on forays, one on site and the other to Ash Cave. They left about 10 am and returned with a goodly collection of specimens, which Walt and I and others (mostly Walt) ID’ed and set out on the tables. The potluck lunch was, as usual, excellent, and was set up by Sharon, with the help of other members.

Andrea Moore gave an inform-ative slide talk on Fungal Partnerships, emphasizing the interconnectedness within the biosphere, and mostly having to do with mycorrhizae. She recommended two books, which were important to her understanding of the topic: James Marty’s Life in the Soil and David Suzuki’s Tree: A Life Story. Andrea showed many great slides of mushrooms which are mycorrhizal and then added the story (which Walt has previously told) about Cerrena unicolor, a smallish polypore, probably best known for its tendency to sport a deep green coating of algae on its fuzzy upper surface. Its upper surface is whitish to grayish, but develops the green algal color, while its underside has a whitish to gray mazelike to toothlike surface.

The interesting part is that Cerrena’s spores get into the ovipositor of the wood-boring wasp (the horntail), when she bores into hardwood logs. These spores are carried around with the wasp’s eggs and then germinate when the eggs are laid. The mycelium from the germinating spores develops rapidly and acts as a food source for the wasp’s larvae. To prevent the populations of horntail wasp larvae from mushrooming (wink, wink, nudge, nudge!), Cerrena emits a pheromone, a volatile chemical which attracts ichneumonid wasps. The female of this wasp species lay their eggs in the wood infected with Cerrena and horntail wasp larvae. Her hatching larvae then feed on the horntail wasp larvae. Boy, that’s a sturdy strand in the web of life!

After Andrea’s talk a small group went on another foray to Rose Lake. We reconvened Saturday late afternoon at the Hocking Hills to the Mushroom Log. Dining Lodge, with about 20 folks enjoying great meals, with very generous portions.

Sunday am, we were treated to a hearty breakfast, cooked by Chuck Blyth, who so graciously allowed us to foray on his property. The eggs, bacon, and sausage were all home grown on his farm. Delicious! Another intrepid group went on a final foray, late Sunday morning.

In attendance were Bob & Joanne Antibus, Jack & Valerie Baker, David Bartholon, Martha Bishop, Jack & Becky Coll, Reid Fitzgerald, Fabiola Gerken, Sharon Greenberg, Nick Hainen, Marita King, Bryan Lewis & Laura Wilson, Alan McClelland, Shirley McClelland, Andrea & Will Moore, Mike Nagy and Karen Kelley, Jerry Pepera, Linda Rafferty, Tati Roberts, Walt Sturgeon, Olga Pylaeva and daughter, Hugh Urban, and Paul Varga.

For a glimpse of more of the beautiful things we encountered view the link below

2013 OMS Autumn Foray at Deep Woods Overview by Alan McClelland

2013 OMS Autumn Foray species list

OMSFallForay2013_05

2013 OMS Appreciation

There comes a time when you have to take a moment in your life and reflect on those people that made you feel good, even if it was for just one day or an entire year for that matter. I have met a lot of wonderful and interesting people since I have joined OMS a little over three years ago. I have witnessed several people come and go throughout many of our forays in those years, many of which provided a wealth of knowledge and insight to my mycological fascination. So this year, I decided I would start finally express those OMS members that made our club not only exciting this past year, but insightful and fun for many of us. I personally give thanks to…

MaritaKing_at_HHillsMarita King for bringing unsurpassed dedication and eagerness to OMS and stellar fungi photographs for all of us to enjoy! Plus, all those recipes are pretty awesome as well.

HughUrban_Nancy_maya_2013Hugh Urban and Nancy Jesser for bringing a multitude of fungi knowledge on species to our mini-forays, being completely organized in the field, and knowledge some of the best hunting grounds for edibles in Ohio. Plus some excellent photos along the way! Welcome back long time members!

KarenKelley_MikeNagy1Karen Kelley and Mike Nagy for being the most dedicated OMS members in attendance to this very day. The guys I always enjoy seeing as they never miss an OMS foray! Plus, they travel all over the States for other larger Fungi related events and cultivate several varieties of edibles throughout the year.

LauraWilson_2013
BryanLewisLaura Wilson and Bryan Lewis for their unsurpassed dedication to the wonderful world of edible Ohio fungi! And being some of the coolest new members I have met in the past years!

DanMolter_2013
Dan Molter for finding and photographing some of the most unique and beautiful species of mushrooms that can be found in Ohio. Plus, Dan knows his mushroom species for sure– just ask him!

NicolasCopley_2013Nicolas Copely for his intensity of hunting for wild edibles in Ohio and knowledge and some awesome spots in central Ohio. Plus one of our most ambitious new members to say the least with a vast knowledge in edible plants, berries and herbs.

PeteRichards_2Pete Richards for his undeniable eagerness in finding and photographing unique species in the field and knowledge of wild edibles. This long time member knows his fungi!

DebShankland_2013Deb Shankland for being one of the most dedicated and kind fellow board members I have known since I started with OMS. Deb never misses a foray and finding her share of wild edibles!

BillMeike_Yoda2
B. Mielke for his masterful jedi skills over our OMS website for many years and getting us merged into the modern era with WordPress. A true Jedi Web Master!

DickGrimm_2013_AHMAnd lastly, but certainly not in the least. The truest of true Ohio fungiphiles and a lifetime of dedication and knowledge to Ohio Mushroom Society—Dick Grimm! Thank you again for your stellar interview for all of us to enjoy!

-Alan McClelland

Board members and members alike, feel free to continue the appreciation along in our comments box below to this post!

Forgotten Wonders Beneath the Trees . autumnal series II

Gallery

This gallery contains 1 photo.

This is the fifth installment of this five part series that I captured between early—mid October of 2011-12. Although this is a spectacular season to get out and find fascinating and colorful fungi, it is also the season that I … Continue reading

Forgotten Wonders Beneath the Trees • autumnal series I

Gallery

This gallery contains 1 photo.

This is the fourth installment of this five part series that I captured from early September to early October of 2011-12. Ever enchanting colors unfold on the forest floor as the leaves start to slowly decay with wonderful richness. Much … Continue reading

2013 OMS Summer Foray at Penitentiary Glen Reservation

2013-OMS-SF_PGNR_33
By Dave Miller

The weekend began with about 16 or so (many of them Board members) at Kirtland City Tavern to enjoy their menu and libations, where appropriate.  During Friday night and Saturday am the area was subjected to a series of rather fierce thunderstorms.  As it was still raining at 8:30 am, we think that many folks decided the foray had been canceled, at least that was our explanation for the low turnout, despite the wet summer which promised many specimens.

We convened at 9 am.  After coffee and a variety of baked goods, Pat Morse spoke about the site and some DO’s and DON’T’s, especially as the storms made some of the cliffside areas slippery.  Jerry Pepera outlined the day’s agenda, which was printed on half-sheets of paper, with a map of the area on the obverse side. Several groups explored different section of Pen Glen in the am, while a group visited Holden Arboretum and Chapin Forest in the pm.

Walt gave his usual excellent slide show on Fantastic Fungi. Amongst his beautiful photos Walt mentioned that folks do four different things with their fungal finds:  picking, kicking, fixing, and pixing.  Which category do you fit in?  … I guess you can do more than one of those things.

We reconvened at the Kirtland City Tavern, with the following attending:  Jerry & Cathy Pepera, Marita King, Bob Bartoletta, Mike Nagy & Karen Kelley, Marita King, Alan McClelland, Pete Richards, Deb Shankland, Martha Bishop, Dick & Judy Doyle, Walt Sturgeon, Alex, Jill, & Ryan Conway, Ian Adams, and Marie Anderson-Miller and I. Other attendees included Paul Balog, Brian Lewis & Laura Wilson, Bonnie Boyd, Ryan Vincent, and Bobby Hancock. Sunday am we catalogued the species list, Pete & Pauline Munk helping out (they’d also joined us for Friday dinner).

Deb Shankland did a yeoman’s job setting up breakfasts both Sat. & Sun. as well as getting the noon potluck on the table.  Many thanks to her pitching in, taking Sharon Greenberg & Shirley McClelland’s place.

For a glimpse of more of the beautiful things we encountered view the link below

2013 OMS Summer Foray at Penitentiary Glen Reservation Overview by Alan McClelland

2013 OMS Pen Glen Summer Foray species list

2013-OMS-SF_PGNR_19

Marita’s Hericium Fried Rice

By Marita King

ingredients:
1 Hericium of your choice ( H. coralloides, H. erinaceus or H. americanum)
1-2 Tbsp butter
1/2 small onion chopped
1-2 cups of cooked brown rice
pepper and salt to taste

Find Hericium species of choice (H. coralloides shown below)
Hericium coralloides - Marita 1

Rinse and chop the mushroom. Hericium coralloides - Marita 2

Saute chopped onion in butter, add mushroom and cook until lightly browned.  Hericium coralloides - Marita 3 Hericium coralloides - Marita 4

Season mixture, add boiled or steamed rice, fry a couple of minutes and serve!
Hericium coralloides - Marita 5

Marita’s Mushroom Quiche

Marita's Mushroom QuicheBy Marita King

I make this quiche without a pie crust but that’s just for saving extra calories.  I use any mushrooms, herbs, and cheeses that are handy at the time; the low-fat cottage cheese is optional for calorie savers and can be replaced with regular cheese.  Addition of bacon and/or lightly steamed vegetables adds variety.

Mushroom Medley:  Start with 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp of olive oil, saute ½ chopped onion, add chopped fresh garlic to taste and at least one pound of mushrooms cut into small pieces.  Cook the mix until the mushrooms have exuded most of their liquid.  Add 2 Tbsp Marsala (optional), 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, and fresh ground pepper to taste.  Simmer and reduce mix to dryness.

Egg/Cheese Mix:   In a big bowl mix 4 eggs, 1 cup shredded cheese, ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, fresh chopped chives and parsley.

Combine mushroom medley and egg mix, pour into a pie dish, bake 30-35 min at 375F.  Let cool at least 15 min before serving.