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For the Novice Forager: 5 Edible Mushrooms in Season Now

 

Many of us think of mushroom season as being in the Fall. While the majority of our dinnertime favourites fruit in Autumn, mushrooms of one kind or another can be found all year round, if you look closely!

In this post, we’ll be looking at some common mushrooms that fruit in the Spring and early Summer here in the Pacific Northwest.

 

A morel growing in a burn site

1. Morel (Morchella spp.) Many would consider morels the primary goal of Spring mushroom hunting. Morels are prized for their culinary excellence, and of course, their elusiveness. Mushrooms with long-term myccorhizae (plant – fungi relationships) can fruit year after year in the same place, and often associate with a certain species of tree, or thrive in certain biomes, which makes them a bit easier to track down. Morels on the other hand, don’t stick around more than 1 or 2 years in the same place, so even once you find some, you are not likely to find them again. They can be found April through July, typically arising in disturbed areas such as garden beds, and most famously, past wildfire sites.

Caution: Always cook morels thoroughly. Raw morels contain a toxin that can cause gastro-intestinal distress. In addition, many people find consuming alcohol and morels in the same meal also creates GI distress. I frequently enjoy wine with my morel pasta so I know it doesn’t affect everyone. As with all wild mushrooms, proceed with caution, and don’t try a new species the day before going on a hot date or important event! 

 

 

 

 

Spring Oyster Mushrooms – photo by @forage.vanisle

 

 

2. Spring Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) are another Spring favourite. Similar to the cultivated oyster mushroom, but in my opinion, incomparably better. There is a similar species called “Angel Wings” (Pleurotus porrigens) that was up until recently widely considered edible and choice. However, several deaths were linked to it in 2004, causing reconsideration. I have friends who eat them anyways and love them. If you are worried about telling them apart, the biggest clue is: Angel Wings fruit in the Fall, and Spring Oysters fruit in the Spring. There is a species of oyster mushroom that fruits in the fall, but it looks significantly different, having greyish/brown/green colouration. My favourite way to enjoy these is to marinate in garlic, parsley, olive oil, lemon, salt & pepper before gently sauteeing, baking, or grilling and adding to pasta, risotto, or on a burger.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken of the Woods

 

 

 

 

3. Chicken of the Woods (In our area there are two species, both edible, Laetiporus conifericola & L. gilbertsonii), is one of the most visually striking Spring mushrooms. When young, they really do have the texture of chicken! When old, they have the texture of chalk. They can be found growing on conifers (L. conifericola), and hardwood trees (L. gilbertsonii) living or dead. Harvest younger specimens (leave the babies!) and the outer 2″ of mature specimens, taking the most tender part and leaving the rest to continue releasing spores. Cook well, (I recommend adding them to a risotto), and use caution – some cases of intestinal distress/allergies/bad results have been reported when consumed with alcohol

 

 

 

Young Shaggy Manes, photo courtesy of Rob Dumont

 

 

4. Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus). These are wonderful for beginners because they are easy to identify and are often seen in Vancouver’s parks, boulevards, university campuses, and other grassy urban areas. I wouldn’t recommend harvesting from urban areas due to the potential of contamination, but for identification practice only. Due to their delicate texture, they aren’t suitable in many recipes you would use button mushrooms, such as omelettes. They require intention and creativity. Harvest young, firm specimens that have not become “inky”. Ensure you identify a patch in all stages to confirm ID. There are mushrooms in this genus with unknown/questionable edibility, namely C. lagopus and C. atramentaria. This chef is amazing, although I haven’t tried this recipe specifically: https://foragerchef.com/parmesan-crusted-shaggy-manes/

 

Spring King Boletes, photo by Michael Wood, from mykoweb.com

5. Spring King Bolete aka Porcini (Boletus rex-veris). Porcinis are a staple in Italian cuisine. The Spring King was thought to be an early-fruiting variant of Boletus edulis (King Bolete) until 2008, when it achieved its own unique status. E. rex-veris are usually found at high elevations (above 4,000 feet, or a few hundred feet below the snowline) in May and June, dovetailing nicely into King Bolete season, which occurs in late summer and early autumn. According to UBC’s Zoology department: “All Boletus species with a brown cap and a light stem with a network on it (sometimes subtle), and no colour changes to red or blue when cut or with age are considered good edibles (from https://www.zoology.ubc.ca/~biodiv/mushroom/B_rex-veris.html).” Network meaning, a fishnet pattern on the stem (note – mushroom stems are technically called a stipe, if we’re being proper). I must confess, I have never found a Spring King Bolete myself, the ones I’ve found have been only in late summer. Despite my lack of personal experience with this one, I think it is a good one to know about when planning a Spring forage.

 

 

Thanks for reading! This article is not intended to be an identification guide. Much of the information in this post has been gathered by myself over years of conferring with various books, websites, and resources, and my own personal experience and that of trusted friends. Unless specifically cited, please consider this post to be informed with experiential and “common” knowledge that I hope you will find interesting and inspire you to do your own research. When consuming any wild mushroom for the first time, be 100% certain of the ID, cook well, try a very small amount, do not consume with alcohol, and save one specimen in case you need to go to the emergency room so poison control can identify what you ate (I’m serious).

A History of Mushroom Culture in BC; how things have changed

By Paul Kroeger

Mushroom cultivation changed drastically just when the Vancouver Mycological Society was formed, with the appearance of novel edible species and new culture technologies. During early years of our club new kinds of fresh mushrooms other than white button Agaricus began appearing in markets and a diversity of both wild and cultivated mushrooms was introduced to the consuming public. Today we are used to seeing a great variety of mushrooms offered as food, but before the VMS it was different.

Public concepts of mushrooms were very different in British Columbia before the 1970’s and for most of Vancouver’s population the word “mushroom” meant just cultivated Agaricus buttons or “Money’s Mushrooms”. We were predominated by British people with Anglo-attitudes including mycophobia, a general cultural fear of fungi; but while most wild mushrooms might be pejoratively dubbed “toadstools” the cultivated button mushroom was embraced with great gusto. At one time Vancouver claimed the highest per-capita consumption of button mushrooms in the world.

Mushrooms were mostly thought of then as a compliment to beef dishes. The consumption of mushrooms was found to be linked to the price of beef so when the meat was more affordable mushroom sales increased. If not served with steak, mushrooms might have mostly appeared in the morning fry-up we call an English breakfast.

Agaricus mushrooms were being grown commercially by a few farmers in BC’s Fraser Valley by 1928, including William T. Money in Burnaby. An agreement was reached among Fraser Valley mushroom growers in 1931 for William Money to handle all marketing and distribution of their mushroom produce. Farmers could now concentrate on mushroom growing and Money’s trucks picked up their crop and delivered it to markets. The entire mushroom crop was sold as a fresh product then.

By 1936 production of mushrooms was excessive to fresh demand so Money built a mushroom cannery to process the surplus crop. When Money retired in 1956 the Fraser Valley Mushroom Growers Cooperative Association was formed and the trade name “Money’s Mushrooms” was purchased for mushroom marketing operations. Around 1940 the slogan “What food these morsels be!” was created and used for many years to promote Money’s Mushrooms; consumption of canned or other processed mushrooms often exceeded fresh sales.

Cultivation was focused on strains of Agaricus harvested young in mass production because white tightly unopened little button mushrooms retain better texture and have more appealing appearance after canning. Prior to the canneries mushroom crops were often harvested just as their caps were opening and delivered fresh to market for immediate consumption with dark gills and deep earthy aromas. Modern agriculture’s industrial mass production and processing had made mushrooms bland and boring.

Old advertising mural on Prior Street (photo MDM ) https://vanasitwas.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/what-food-these-morsels-be/

Around 1980 Money’s Mushrooms started a vigorous new marketing campaign with the slogan “Mushrooms make meals Mmmarvelous”; and writer James Barber (The Urban Peasant and author of Fear of Frying) starred in ads and promoted using more fresh mushrooms in different ways and with a greater variety of other foods.  Around this time several different Agaricus cultivar strains were introduced, so in addition to white button mushrooms there were also brown varieties, and eventually the large brown Portobello and Cremini mushrooms we regularly see now.

The importation of much cheaper canned mushrooms from abroad, especially from China, had meant that selling their entire mushroom crop fresh was essential to BC producers.  By 1985 73% of canned mushrooms consumed were imported from overseas and farmers could no longer afford to grow mushrooms for canning.

Table: Agaricus mushroom production in BC: Fresh vs. processed 1975-1985

From Huang , Hsin Chung 1988 The B.C. Mushroom Industry: An analysis of demand and supply. University of British Columbia M.Sc. Thesis. (* wholesale price / lb)

 

fresh quantity lb

fresh value $

price / lb *

process quantity lb

process value $

price / lb *

1975

5,321,000

3,859,000

$0.73

1,926,000

949,000

$0.49

1976

6,319,000

5,189,000

$0.82

1,797,000

896,000

$0.50

1977

7,361,000

6,610,000

$0.90

3,549,000

2,131,000

$0.60

1978

9,576,000

8,744,000

$0.91

3,545,000

2,125,000

$0.60

1979

9,479,000

9,615,000

$1.01

4,534,000

3,245,000

$0.72

1980

11,372,000

12,616,000

$1.11

6,487,000

4,663,000

$0.72

1981

12,624,000

16,648,000

$1.32

6,948,000

5,299,000

$0.76

1982

13,092,000

18,517,000

$1.41

11,999,000

7,988,000

$0.67

1983

14,506,000

21,026,000

$1.45

16,346,000

10,071,000

$0.62

1984

15,492,000

24,871,000

$1.59

15,734,000

9,990,000

$0.63

1985

15,332,000

25,871,000

$1.69

17,063,000

11,085,000

$0.65

Money’s bag 1990 (photo: Paul Kroeger)

The B.C. Mushroom Marketing Board had been formed in 1966 and was a monopoly which long controlled production and distribution of all mushrooms grown in BC through quotas.  Following the introduction of new species and varieties of cultivated mushrooms in the 1980s the mushroom farming industry was transformed. Now a great diversity of fresh edible mushrooms could compete with the boring but still reliable old standard white Agaricus button of the past.

The first BC Shiitake mushroom farms were started in 1979 utilizing drilled and inoculum-plugged deciduous tree logs. Doctor Theodore Takeuchi pioneered the farming of Shiitake on alder logs in British Columbia.

Dr. Theodore Takeuchi  Shiitake farm VMS tour 1983 (photo: Paul Kroeger)

Dr. Theodore Takeuchi Shiitake farm VMS tour 1983 (photo: Paul Kroeger)

Shiitake Lentinula edodes growing from a log (photo: Paul Kroeger)

Shiitake Lentinula edodes growing from a log (photo: Paul Kroeger)

Recently developed methods of using artificial substrate mixes formed into tubes, blocks, trays or bags allowed many new kinds of mushrooms to be grown from a variety of materials. Many agricultural wastes or by- products were tested to grow edible fungi. Trials on growing Paddy-straw mushrooms Volvariella volvacea at UBC Agriculture Department showed it wasn’t practical, but discarded materials from the experiment resulted in Paddy-straw mushrooms fruiting from hot steaming large compost heaps at UBC Botanical Gardens and Stanley Park in 1982 and 1983. In 1983 a scheme was hatched to grow Oyster mushrooms on pulp mill waste sludge, a project doomed by association of pulp mills with toxic dioxins.

A more successful and appealing method of mushroom cultivation was developed by Peter Graystone who adapted shipping containers into computer controlled growth modules where Oyster mushrooms grow out of perforated stainless steel vertical trays from alder wood-chip and sawdust in attractive and easily harvested clusters. For many years Peter and his wife Jill introduced people to cultivated gourmet mushrooms at farmers’ markets and our annual VMS shows, and their differently coloured (pink, yellow or blue-grey) Oyster clusters were always a hit.

With introduction of new culture technologies and with a variety of new species available to grow a new hobby was also born, the home cultivation of mushrooms. In early 1970s small scale techniques for growing magic mushrooms were developed for the tropical Psilocybe cubensis and growing “shrooms” became a popular counter-culture hobby. Today most magic mushrooms consumed are cultivated not wild.

Magic Mushrooms Psilocybe cubensis growing from grain trays in 1977 (photo: Stan Czolowski)

Magic Mushrooms Psilocybe cubensis growing from grain trays in 1977 (photo: Stan Czolowski)

Many magic mushroom growers soon branched out to grow edible species, and eventually other medicinal fungi. Home growing of popular edible mushrooms took off with the development of “space-bags”; flexible thin and sterilizable containers that allow creation of kits consisting of formed blocks or logs of substrate inoculated with mushrooms easily grown at home.

The Mushroom Cultivator 1983 by Paul Stamets and Jeff Chilton was a detailed book that described techniques for growing a variety of different mushrooms, and introduced many people to the science and art of growing fungi. Bill Chalmers had already founded his BC business, Western Biologicals, which provided educational workshops and mushroom grow kits and equipment, supplies and cultures for home cultivation enthusiasts in Western Canada for many years.

Bill Chalmers cultivation display at 2010 SVIMS show in Victoria (photo: Paul Kroeger)

Bill Chalmers cultivation display at 2010 SVIMS show in Victoria (photo: Paul Kroeger)

Concurrent with an expanding interest in finding and growing various edible and magic mushrooms there was increasing awareness of traditional uses of fungi in folk medicines.  The 1970s had seen a great interest in natural and herbal medicines and traditional medical practices of different cultures. Fungal moulds had already yielded many valuable drugs such as antibiotics, and different larger fungi and mushrooms were being scientifically investigated for interesting chemical compounds that might have medical potential. Many fungi have a long history of use in Chinese Traditional Medicine and are being studied.

Asian Shiitake mushrooms were introduced to the west with many claims of health benefits and thus promoted as a medicine as well as food. Soon a variety of other medicinal fungi were also available to grow at home and incorporate into gardens.

Reishi  or Ling Zhi, the red-lacquered Ganoderma polypores, soon became very popular and highly esteemed in herbal medicine, helped along by a rich folk lore with colourful legends involving mighty Emperors and the great deeds of heroes who were, of course, handsome daring and brave. Most people first heard of Ling Zhi from Gordon Wasson’s 1968 book Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality in which the 8th chapter, “The Marvellous Herb”, describes some roles of Ganoderma lucidum in Chinese and Japanese history and folklore.

The Caterpillar fungi, Cordyceps species that are parasites on insects, also became popular and have now become the most expensive mushroom at more than $20,000 a kilogram. It’s perhaps not entirely surprising that robbers armed with pepper bear-spray have held up a couple local Chinese apothecary shops for their Cordyceps sinensis (plus some bird’s nests) making off with $30,000 worth in one incident and $40,000 in another.

Much of people’s fascination with Cordyceps probably derives from its intriguing but rather ghoulish lifestyle and these “Zombie fungi “have truly captured the popular imagination. While Caterpillar fungi are not cultivated much locally except as a novelty, the bright orange Cordyceps militaris is grown overseas and now available here fairly cheap in dried form. In nature it grows from Lepidopteran (butterfly or moth) pupae and is considered a rare find.

There are now numerous species of “medicinal” fungi being sold as herbal teas, medicines and nutritional supplements, and many are being incorporated into drinks and foods. What was a very esoteric subject in the early 1970s, mushrooms as medicine, has now become common knowledge and even somewhat of a fad.

In the early 1990s cultures of the Manchurian mushroom or Tea fungus began to circulate, passed from one person to another as starter cultures much as sourdough bread and ginger beer starters used to be shared. The Tea fungus is a mixed culture of various yeasts and bacteria grown in sweetened tea to produce a fermented beverage called Kombucha. Commercial Kombucha products are now available in stores everywhere in a variety of flavours and there are even dedicated Kombucha tea shops and breweries. There is definitely a Kombucha craze right now and a once obscure cultured folk food from Eastern Europe and Eurasia has become big business.

Another medicinal fungus use that comes to us from Eastern Europe and Eurasia is Chaga or Inonotus obliquus, the cinder or clinker conk of birch trees. After it was mentioned in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1966 novel Cancer Ward, this obscure folk medicine has gained increasing notoriety as an alternative cancer treatment as well as a tonic. Scientific research has not kept up with the increasing popularity of Chaga tea and its efficacy as a tonic or for treating cancers in humans remains largely unproven. Excessive consumption of Chaga may actually adversely affect human health due to high oxalate content, with a risk of kidney stone formation and kidney damage. https://www.namyco.org/docs/Oxalates_in_Chaga_a_potential_health_threat_M_Beug.pdf

Chaga is unusual among “medicinal mushrooms” because it’s not really a mushroom or fruit body, but rather a canker formed from the birch tree tissue permeated by mycelium. Oxalates and oxalic acid play vital roles in many wood-decay fungi by weakening and penetrating plant cells through growth of calcium oxalate crystals from mycelial exudates into the wood. Apparently many tree-conk fungi produce oxalates in their mycelium and substrate and continue to do this in artificial culture.

Many available proprietary “medicinal mushroom” preparations actually contain grains grown through with mycelium which are dried and powdered. These products are suspected to be high in oxalates, and have been shown to mostly consist of cereal substrate rather than fungal material. The small amount of fungus present may not even be effective. Several desirable constituents of medicinal mushrooms, such as the triterpinoids called Ganoderic acids found in Reishi, are associated with formation of fruiting bodies and not the mycelium. So, caveat emptor. https://www.nammex.com/redefining-medicinal-mushrooms/

Turkey-tail Trametes versicolor inoculated log at Beaty Museum UBC (photo: Paul Kroeger)

Turkey-tail Trametes versicolor inoculated log at Beaty Museum UBC (photo: Paul Kroeger)

Mycorestoration is the latest catch-word in the mushroom cultivation world. This refers to strategically incorporating fungi into damaged landscapes to restore and enhance ecosystem functioning. The term was introduced and popularized in Paul Stamets’ 2005 book Mycelium Running: How mushrooms can help save the world, along with mycofiltration, mycoforestry, mycoremediation and mycopesticides. But these mycoconcepts are not all new. In 1981 Hellmut Steineck published Pilze im Garten, later published in English as Mushrooms in the Garden 1984, which described how to incorporate edible and interesting mushrooms into home gardens.

The Garden Giant Stropharia rugosoannulata in compost mulch (photo: Paul Kroeger)

The Garden Giant Stropharia rugosoannulata in compost mulch (photo: Paul Kroeger)

Fungi have great potential to clean up chemical or microbial contamination and as bio-control agents to limit weeds and pests or diseases of plants and animals. Mycorrhizal fungi enhance plant growth and vigour and methods of inoculating plants with mycorrhizal fungi are now widely used in agriculture and silviculture.

Some applications of mushroom cultures for bio-control have been developed in BC.  Some years ago inoculum of Chondrostereum purpureum was available to inject into and kill deciduous tree stumps preventing shoot re-growth from removed alder, poplar or maple trees. Oyster mushrooms’ ability to trap and consume minute roundworms may be used to rehabilitate nematode-infested agricultural soils.  Hypholoma fasciculare was tested in BC to limit spread of infection from Armillaria (Honey mushroom) root rot centres in forests.  https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/rsi/research/cextnotes/extnot33.pdf.

Another popular idea is to use mushrooms to digest and break down hydrocarbons from petrochemical contaminated soils, or in absorbent materials after they’re used to sop up oil spills. Some vigorously growing aggressive saprobic fungi such as the Oyster mushrooms Pleurotus have been shown in test trials to happily feed on hydrocarbons reducing them to harmless products. Obviously the goal here is not to produce mushrooms to eat, but to eliminate the petrochemical contamination. Toxic non-hydrocarbon residues may still remain.

Some fungi promise to help repair damage humans wreak upon our environment, but there are challenges in scaling up such applications to a landscape level and successfully integrating them into communities of other organisms we want to establish in damaged sites. We want to avoid the sorts of unforeseen consequences that seem to bedevil many human attempts to manipulate our natural environment. Some fungi can behave like diseases or weeds and introducing novel fungi into complex landscapes could create whole new problems. The concepts of Mycorestoration sound promising but practical applications in larger landscapes remain mostly untested.

Diverse fungi can be grown to satisfy many needs. Home cultivation is a fascinating hobby that offers mushroom enthusiasts greater insight into how fungi grow while yielding crops of fresh mushrooms for food or medicine. The selection of edible mushrooms available in markets has greatly increased over the past few decades, and some are grown on materials that were previously discarded as agricultural or food-processing waste products.

Mushrooms are very new human cultivated foods in our broader history. Human domestication of plants and animals began some twelve thousand to thirteen thousand years ago. The archaeological record shows that by about ten thousand years ago a Neolithic transformation into pastoral and agricultural communities began as populations settled down to raise animals as livestock and grow plant crops. Fungi first appear in the archaeological record several thousand years ago as residues of yeast-fermented grains on vessel shards. One Natufian site with traces of brewing evidence has been dated as older than 13,000 years before present. https://www.history.com/news/oldest-beer-ancient-brewery-invention.

Humans have fermented beverages and leavened cereal foods with yeasts for millennia, but yeasts aren’t mushrooms. Cultivation of mushrooms, the larger fleshy fruiting bodies of what we call macrofungi, is fairly new to us, only a few centuries not millennia. Asian cultures may have started culturing Wood-ear mushrooms Auricularia species and Shiitake Lentinula edodes several centuries ago, but Europeans were slower to innovate and cultivation of Champignon or Agaricus only began in France in the 1700’s. Most other cultivated mushrooms are much newer on the scene, only a few decades!

The four decades since Vancouver Mycological Society formed has witnessed the spread and growth of an entirely new mushroom culture, a veritable mycocultural revolution. Now the VMS can hold occasional banquets (outside mushroom season) at Po Kong vegetarian restaurant and order a variety of delicious dishes featuring more than a dozen different kinds of cultivated mushrooms.

Po Kong “Bamboo pith rolls” Stinkhorn stems stuffed with Shiitake and Enoki (photo: Scott Redhead)

Po Kong “Bamboo pith rolls” Stinkhorn stems stuffed with Shiitake and Enoki (photo: Scott Redhead)

Hot & Sour and Tai Chi soup with Agaricus, Shiitake, Wood-ear and Enokitake (photo: Scott Redhead)

Hot & Sour and Tai Chi soup with Agaricus, Shiitake, Wood-ear and Enokitake (photo: Scott Redhead)

It’s a different world of food from the time of ‘steak and mushrooms’ when only Agaricus buttons were available and canned Money’s Mushrooms were served in Chop Suey houses or found as toppings on pizzas (in 1950s pizza was considered an exciting new exotic ‘foreign food’). Cultivation of a variety of mushrooms has helped diversify modern cuisine and it’s much more interesting now. “What food these morsels be!” indeed; many more mushrooms really do make meals marvellous.

Four Decades of Vancouver Mycological Society: How mushrooming in BC has changed

by Paul Kroeger

Vancouver’s mushroom club has always been considered a very special and unique group of enthusiasts, with a distinct blend of interests and skills.Comparison to other regional mushroom clubs and natural history groups has led many to comment that VMS is one of the more interesting and fun bunch of people they’ve ever encountered. Forty years ago some very different interests converged to create an amateur society for the study and appreciation of fungi.This is why Vancouver’s mycological society has its own distinct mushroom culture, so to speak.

Here we’ll look at some interests that brought mycological society people together, and some things that have changed over four decades of VMS.

Science

Science had recently established the Fungi as being a vast group of diverse organisms constituting their own Kingdom, or major limb in the tree of life (Whittaker, R. H. 1969. New concepts of kingdoms of organismsScience. 163 (3863): 150–60). The fungi had just begun to get the attention they richly deserved, and a keen group of avid naturalists from the Vancouver Natural History Society formed the nucleus around which a mushroom club developed or grew at the end of the 70s, in 1978-1979.

During the 1970s the burgeoning study of ecology had just begun to reveal many vital roles of fungi in forest ecosystems. British Columbia’s universities, government agencies and corporations supported research in mycology because of the importance of fungi to British Columbia’s valuable forest industry.

UBC’s Botany Department mycologist Dr. Robert Bandoni ran the mycology lab that spawned our club’s dedication to what is now called “citizen science”.  Some early Bandoni-Lab students who helped develop the VMS included Andy MacKinnon, Keith Siefert, Richard Summerbell, Gavin Kernaghan, Sharmin Gamiet and Eduardo Jovel. Professor Bandoni especially appreciated the establishment of our club as a welcome relief from the distractions of seasonal flurries of public enquiries about mushrooms; he could now refer all those curious people to us.

We’ve documented the macrofungi of Manning Park for over 30 years, and the mushroom populations of many other areas in BC were first described from VMS field trips. Amateur mycologists have discovered many new mushroom species here and elsewhere.

Dr. Mary Berbee, the current UBC Mycology professor, continues to support amateur contributions to mycology research in BC, and students from UBC are still actively involved with and contribute much to the VMS’s endeavours.

Circa 1980. Left to right: Dick Fraser & sons. Helene & Ole Juul, Paul Kroeger, UBC students Andy MacKinnon and Keith Siefert, Les Wigglesworth. (Photo: A. McKinnon) (photo: Kitsy Fraser)

Circa 1980. Left to right: Dick Fraser & sons. Helene & Ole Juul, Paul Kroeger, UBC students Andy MacKinnon and Keith Siefert, Les Wigglesworth. (Photo: A. McKinnon) (photo: Kitsy Fraser)

Counter-Culture

In the 1970s hallucinogenic “Magic Mushrooms” were very popular and high profile, often appearing in the news, and several kinds of wild magic Psilocybe mushrooms were abundant in coastal British Columbia communities. Counter-culture interests in magic mushrooms added many colourful characters to the membership of our early mushroom club.For more on BC magic mushroom history see our webpage essay:  https://www.vanmyco.org/about-mushrooms/psychedelic/brief-history-magic-mushrooms-bc/.

It’s interesting to note that wild magic mushrooms were very common in the 1970s and 1980sand several species grew abundantly as weeds in urban landscaping. Psilocybe stuntzii sometimes formed fairy-rings and arcs or vast swathes in recently installed lawns of newly developed areas and the extensive use of bark mulches in institutional landscaping produced great crops of Psilocybe baeocystis, Psilocybe cyanescens and Psilocybe stuntzii around hospitals, courthouses, police stations and schools. At our annual VMS Mushroom Shows at VanDusen Gardens, throughout the 1980s, we always displayed Psilocybe baeocystis gathered from the grounds by the gardeners.

During the 1990s many alternative uses for wood waste products were developed, and landscaping materials and practices changed. The building booms of the 1960s and 1970s had slowed down, the nature of development changed, and with a lack of new habitats and introduction of watering limitations most of the once abundant weedy urban magic mushrooms disappeared.

The original magic mushroom in Canada, the Liberty Cap or Psilocybe semilanceata, grows in wet pastures. Agricultural fields in the Fraser Valley and in the Fraser delta around Richmond produced abundant crops during the late 1960s into the 1980s, the most productive fields being pasture lands seasonally grazed by cattle or horses. This is no more. Marginal farmland, which was often leased out for grazing because it wasn’t suitable for more intensive agriculture, has been built upon while remaining productive agriculture lands are used differently. Cattle are not often grazed outdoors and both dairy and meat cattle are now mostly raised indoors while fields are used for intensive hay or feed-maize cropping or other types of farming. A little mushroom that was once plentiful, and that changed the cultural landscape of Vancouver and BC, is now scarce.

Picking Liberty Caps in Fraser Valley 1977  (photo: Stan Czolowski)

Picking Liberty Caps in Fraser Valley 1977 (photo: Stan Czolowski)

Cuisine

Cuisine was also changing rapidly when the club was formed with natural fresh, organic and wild foods gaining popularity. Post-war baby-boomers were more affluent and better travelled than previous generations and had developed tastes for cuisine from diverse cultures; many novel and exotic dishes and ingredients were introduced including mushrooms. Until then an abundance of choice edible wild mushrooms had grown in our forests largely unnoticed except by some immigrants from mushroom-loving countries who could enjoy their beloved foods in peace, privately and with little competition.

Then in 1978 a Japanese market for Canadian pine mushrooms (Tricholoma magnivelare or murrillianum) was developed and a gold rush style stampede into the woods began. At the time, Japanese domestic Matsutake (Tricholoma matsutake) had severely declined and even the somewhat less desirable large white North American pine mushroom, known then as Armillaria ponderosa, became a valued and expensive substitute.

It’s said that Canadian pine mushrooms were first discovered by Japanese-Canadian citizens interned during World War II growing near internment camps in Greenwood and Kaslo in the Kootenays, New Denver in Slocan Valley, and near Lillooet and Bridge River. Until the commercial harvest began, multi-generational Japanese Canadian families had continued to revisit their patches every mushroom season. Then suddenly the “White Gold rush” stampede deprived them of a much enjoyed traditional family activity that was one of the few silver linings to brighten the cloud of their dark WWII experience.

Other wild mushrooms were soon being commercially harvested for export to European countries, especially chanterelles and morels. Chanterelles were canned for export to Germany at St. Jean’s Cannery in Nanaimo, and for a time, fresh chanterelles were packed into brine in barrels for export to European canneries. The shipping of brined fresh mushrooms for later canning was stopped after some chanterelles spoiled in transit, causing illness from heat-stable Staphylococcus bacterial entero-toxins in canned products.

Various dried BC mushrooms also became available in our markets and were exported abroad. Boletes and morels are especially suited to being sold dried, but other local mushrooms such as chanterelles and lobster mushrooms have also become widely available in dried form. Processing of wild mushrooms to produce high quality dried products is described in this video from Royal Roads University: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1V0jMV-J7Y.

BC canned chanterelles for export to Germany. St. Jean’s cannery, Nanaimo 1985 (photo P. Kroeger)

BC canned chanterelles for export to Germany. St. Jean’s cannery, Nanaimo 1985 (photo P. Kroeger)

As foreign markets for BC wild mushrooms opened, local interest and demand also increased and wild harvested mushrooms started to appear in many local produce stores and farmers’ markets.

Canadian restaurants also began to incorporate more wild mushrooms into their menus. Unfortunately not all chefs were familiar with safe preparation of mushrooms and this resulted in a couple of in famous mass poisonings in Vancouver restaurants. In one case in 1987 improperly bottled chanterelles caused severe botulism poisoning in 11 people; in another incident in1991 fresh morels served raw at a banquet made 77 people sick.

Landscapes Change

Landscapes have changed in south western British Columbia over forty years of VMS activities; mushrooming was different at the beginning.  Large scale industrial clear-cut logging of the 1960s through the 1980s had resulted in extensive logging road systems throughout forested landscapes giving access to many productive forestremnants not yet logged but doomed soon to be. Within a couple hours drive of Vancouver were many forests abounding in interesting and edible mushrooms, though one might have to face thundering great loaded logging trucks barrelling toward you to get there. In the 1980s public sentiment began to change and protests against industrial destruction of old-growth forests began.

Field trips for the VMS were much more frequent in early years because there were many more places a fairly large group of us could go for a casual mushroom walk. Many parks, trails and areas of accessible forest land were a short driving time from the city, and even on weekends were not filled with other people. Fewer people were interested in mushrooms at first, so impressive fruiting of fungi could be seen in abundance. But as interest in mushrooms grew over the years, many areas near the city were regularly picked over for edibles, and the other fungi and their habitats (and mycologists) were increasingly disturbed.

The population of Greater or Metro Vancouver has more than doubled over the past 40 years (from 1,169,831 in 1981 to 2,463,431 in 2016) and human pressure on natural areas near the city is tremendous. Many parks, trails and recreation areas are packed with visitors every weekend and large numbers of users along with inadequate care, maintenance and repairs has deteriorated access trails making them unsafe, and degraded or damaged the natural environment people come to enjoy. People seem to “love it to death”.

VMS used to have many day trips to areas in the upper Fraser Valley and places around Hope but now it takes twice as long to get half as far. Heading east on the highway past the Port Mann bridge would take you through miles and miles of agricultural land because much of the Fraser Valley was composed of distinct small towns and cities surrounded by farms and undeveloped land. Now urban development has filled much of the valley, suburbs have grown like giant slime-moulds absorbing rural lands as their streaming plasmodial paved road systems carry more propagules to colonize yet more land. Getting out of the city now almost means travelling beyond Hope.

Mushrooms change

Some once-common popular edible mushrooms have become scarce near Vancouver but others have appeared as new and then spread within the growing city. In 1983 mini-parks were created in many parts of the city and the horticultural Rhododendron “Anna Rose Whitney” was planted out, soon to produce from their root-balls enormous crops of mushrooms identified as Stropharia riparia (a native species) at the time. This mushroom was evidently introduced from abroad and found its way into the horticultural trade to hitchhike with transported nursery stock. It’s now called Leratiomyces percevalii, a less attractive name than that of the delightfully rhyming native’s Stropharia riparia. Whatever its name might be, this introduced species is now a widespread common weed mushroom in gardens here and around the world.

In 1984 a new species of mushroom was found growing abundantly in the UBC Botanical Gardens, a peculiar little Hypholoma that arises from buried sclerotia or tubers. We named it Hypholoma tuberosum Redhead & Kroeger and soon after publication it was reported from the USA, Japan, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia. The species was found to grow wild in a bog in New South Wales Australia where sedge peat was mined for use in the nursery industry, and appears to have found its way around the world from there hitchhiking on the commercial plant trade.

 Another import probably also from Australia is Stropharia aurantiaca, now called Leratiomyces ceres, which first showed up in Vancouver in 1974 in landscaping of the newly built Arbutus Village development. This beautiful and distinctive little orange- capped mushroom has over the past decade become a common weed mushroom in wood chip mulches here, much as it now grows elsewhere around the world.

Of course, the alien imported mushroom of greatest importance and concern right now is the Death Cap, or deadly Amanita phalloides. The VMS has been central to the discovery and documentation of this dangerous mushroom in Canada. After it was found growing in Seattle Washington we put out warnings and asked VMS members to look out for it and to spread the word it might be here. In 1997 it was indeed found in BC, under sweet chestnut trees at Lake Errock near Mission. We’ve been able to document its spreading occurrence and distribution, and have helped warn the public of this new threat to public health. For more on BC death caps see our webpage: https://www.vanmyco.org/about-mushrooms/poisonous/amanita-phalloides/.

New types of mushroom poisoning have also been recognized over the past forty years. In 1992, Amanita smithiana was first shown to be poisonous, causing kidney failure when eaten mistaken for pine mushrooms. https://www.vanmyco.org/about-mushrooms/poisonous/amanita-smithiana/. Several species once considered safe edible have been implicated in causing sickness in recent years.  See https://www.vanmyco.org/about-mushrooms/poisonous/ Anomalous Edible Mushroom Poisonings & Symptoms table.

Names Change

I’ve discussed several changes in the world of mushrooms over the last 40 years, but perhaps the most challenging change for enthusiasts is in what we name our mushrooms. When VMS started pine mushrooms were Armillaria ponderosa, honey mushrooms were Armillariella rather than Armillaria, hedgehogs were Dentinum repandum instead of Hydnum and hawks wings were Hydnum not Sarcodon. As DNA technology is applied to look at different fungi, more and more species native to North America are being recognized as distinct from Old World species whose names we’ve been using. New understanding of evolutionary relationships among fungi is also changing the genus names into which species are placed and new genera are being proposed, so the mushroom names change yet again!

And So Do Books

In earlier years North American mycologists relied heavily on European literature to find names for our New World mushrooms. Many amateur mycologists used mushroom books from Europe, often translated into English, which were commonly illustrated with beautiful reproductions of watercolour paintings.  A very popular and useful early book was Collins Guide to Mushrooms and Toadstools by Lange and Hora, a 1963 English translation of the Danish 1961 Svampeflora with beautiful little colour paintings of an interesting variety of fungi.

There were a mere handful of North American mushroom guide books available at first, and most had just black and white photographs. Standard home-grown North American mushroom books you might find on a shelf of early members of VMS include: The  Savory Wild Mushroom 1962 (1971) by McKenny and Stuntz of Seattle; Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms of Canada 1962 by Groves and published by Agriculture Canada; Mushrooms of North America 1972 by Orson Miller, an early all-colour book; The Mushroom Hunter’s Field Guide 1958(1963) by Alexander Smith or its colour 1980 version; and the colour illustrated A Field Guide to Western Mushrooms 1975 also by Alexander Smith.

Certain new books came out around the time of VMS’s beginnings that covered many more species than any previous field guides. Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora first came out in 1979 and soon was the go-to guide for devoted mushroomers. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms 1981 by Gary Lincoff was very popular for those who like to use comparison with photos to identify fungi.

For more serious identifiers there were How to Know the Gilled Mushrooms 1979 and How to Know the Non-gilled Mushrooms 1981, both by Smith, Smith and Weber in The Pictured Keys Nature Series of Wm. C. Brown Publishers. For the extremely serious identifier there was also Keys to Agarics and Boleti (Polyporales, Boletales, Agaricales, Russulales) 1983 by Moser with 400 pages of keys, printed in tiny font, to thousands of mushroom species.

As interest in mushrooms has grown over the past decades, so has the number and variety of mushroom books. Many regional field guides have come out recently, and books about various other aspects such as mushroom cultivation or uses of fungi especially as food or medicine, or monographs dealing with just particular groups of mushrooms are now numerous. The revolution in computer technologies has also given us many novel internet resources, so looking up any unfamiliar mushroom name now takes only a few moments spent at a keyboard or gadget.

The VMS was formed just when fungi were exploding into public consciousness. Our club has thrived in an environment where mushrooms and other fungi are conspicuous, varied and around to be found for much of the year. Using fungi for food or medicine, might be the first reason most people join a mushroom club but the general of fungi soon hooks them.

Studying the vast and fascinating, but previously oft overlooked realm of fungi has been a frontier of exploration, innovation and discovery. There are “so many mushrooms but such little time”. For four decades the Vancouver Mycological Society has been along for a great exciting ride, and it’s been fun.

Health and safety issues concerning commercial marketing Of Edible Wild Mushrooms in British Columbia

By Paul Kroeger

Vancouver Mycological Society (VMS) was formed in 1979 by mushroom enthusiasts who mostly shared a common interest in eating wild fungi. When the society was formed part of its stated purpose was “To assist in educating the public in the collection and identification of fungi, with emphasis on the safe separation of edible from toxic fungi.”

Wild mushrooms have gained great popularity and are commercially collected and sold in an unregulated environment and usually without preparation instructions.  Reports of adverse reactions after consuming commercially marketed wild mushrooms are not uncommon. Certain mushrooms that are widely considered edible species appear repeatedly in reports of adverse reactions from mushroom ingestion. See Table 3 p.11: Anomalous edible mushroom poisoning.

Mushroom clubs such as the Vancouver Mycological Society play an important role in informing the public of health hazards associated with eating wild mushrooms and how to avoid them. In this discussion we address some issues surrounding wild mushrooms gathered and distributed as culinary commodities and especially aspects of quality control that effect human health. Similar issues appear in the current “medicinal mushroom” trade but are not addressed here, unless the fungus is also popular for food as well, an example being the Hericium species.

There are a variety of reasons why mushrooms considered edible may cause illness in consumers. Some of these causes and contributing factors are discussed below:

Some species are toxic unless cooked. This is especially relevant with the popular morel mushrooms. In 1991 raw fresh morels were served in a salad at a banquet held in a major Vancouver hotel, and 77 (16%) of the 483 people attending reported illness. Many edible mushrooms contain small amounts of hydrazines and other volatile compounds that are toxic or carcinogenic but are eliminated by cooking.

It should be noted that wild mushrooms offered for sale may have microbial contamination from the environment in which they grow, and from the handling, storage and transportation involved in harvest and marketing. Cooking these mushrooms is thus also an important food hygiene practice.

 Over-mature and poorly stored mushrooms may contain micro-organisms of incipient decay and are often implicated in adverse reactions. Many people involved in marketing mushrooms may not recognize signs of aging and decay in unfamiliar species, or may be reluctant to lose profit by discarding aging product.

Mushrooms can grow in habitats that have a history of human disturbance and mushrooms collected in such areas may contain heavy metals or other chemical contaminants from agricultural, industrial, transportation or other human activities. Certain saprobe fungi such as oyster mushrooms are even used in attempts to remediate contaminated sites.

Wild mushrooms are biochemical factories that create and contain very complex and largely unknown chemistry. It is well known, though,  that many compounds found in fungi have strong antibiotic effects, and it’s suspected that consuming even well known edible species in excess or when improperly prepared can cause gastrointestinal distress by disrupting a person’s natural  intestinal  biota.

Improperly preserved wild mushrooms can cause food-borne illness from microbial toxins. Mushrooms are very high risk for home canning because of their neutral pH and close contact with soil microbes such as Botulinum bacteria. Safe canning requires acidification and thorough pressure processing. Other preservation techniques such as brining and storing under oil have also resulted in serious illnesses.

Several wild mushrooms classified as edible in popular guide books are implicated in multiple reports of adverse reactions among consumers. Some incidents involve factors already discussed such as inadequate cooking, over-consumption or microbial contamination; but others don’t and are attributed to individual sensitivities or intolerances that might be present in a significant portion of the population.  For this reason certain species could be considered as posing too high a risk to consumer health to be safely marketed as edible mushrooms, examples include all Leccinum species or rough-stemmed boletes, and Phaeolepiota aurea.

Wild mushrooms offered for sale in markets have occasionally been misidentified. For example, there have been sporadic observations of the false morel Gyromitra esculenta being represented as true morels! This is potentially serious because false morels contain toxic hydrazines, compounds responsible for both short term acute poisonings and for chronic effects as known carcinogens.

Itinerant or opportunistic pickers of commercial wild mushrooms may have limited mycological knowledge or experience, and the consumer might have even less familiarity with mushrooms. There are currently no requirements ensuring that marketed wild mushrooms are accurately identified. Certain edible species may require considerable mycological expertise to accurately distinguish from problematic look-alikes and should not be marketed unless identified by an experienced mycologist.

There is currently no means of certifying that wild mushrooms offered for sale are correctly identified by individuals with adequate mycological knowledge and experience. Jurisdictions in many other areas have certification programs for wild mushrooms that require inspection of marketed material by individuals certified as having mushroom identification qualifications.

Sometimes marketed wild mushrooms are referred to only by a common name without the technical or scientific binomial. There is currently no standardized system of common names for mushrooms in North America, so to avoid confusion the technical scientific name is important in identifying and labelling marketed mushrooms. It’s desirable to have a standardized list of approved market mushrooms with standardized common names linked to the scientific binomials.

Some ethical and conservation considerations

Mushroom harvest is prohibited in protected park areas such as National, Provincial Regional and most municipal parks and all Ecological Reserves.  Special Management areas and Community forest lands may have restrictions on harvest of non timber forest products (NTFPs) including mushrooms.

Mushrooms growing on First Nations lands are resources belonging to First Nations people. People not of First Nations communities must obtain permission to access those resources.

Certain edible wild mushrooms may become considered “Species at Risk” if declines in their populations or distribution are demonstrated. Continued exploitation of these species would be inappropriate.

Some suggested Guidelines for the commercial wild mushroom market

  • Only those species of wild mushrooms known to be safe and tolerated by most people should be sold. A list of approved market species would be desirable with standardized common names linked to scientific binomial names.

  • A monitoring or inspection and certification system should be established to ensure that marketed wild mushrooms are wholesome and safe for public consumption. This would ensure the mushroom species is approved as safe for consumption, and that the product is neither decayed nor contaminated.
  • To achieve oversight of the commercial wild mushroom industry it will be necessary to have qualified knowledgeable personnel trained to identify approved market mushrooms, possible look-alike species and known poisonous mushrooms. These individuals should also be trained to assess the freshness and suitability for consumption of samples of approved market mushrooms, and to instruct others about identification and quality control of mushrooms.

  • Recommended standards of packaging and labelling should be developed for commercial wild mushrooms. Packaging should be appropriate for reducing potentially harmful spoilage and contamination, for example by requiring wrappings to allow air exchange preventing anaerobic conditions. Labels should clearly identify the mushroom or mushrooms contained and advise cooking before consuming.

  • Basic information on wild mushroom food safety practices should be made available to those dealing with wild mushrooms where produce is marketed and in the restaurant industry. Guidelines for safe mushroom selection, handling, storage and preparation should be developed and disseminated as printed materials or educational courses.

  • The need to cook wild mushrooms before eating should always be clearly communicated to the consumer. “Cook before Eating” labels or stickers are recommended.

  • Sellers and vendors of wild mushrooms should be instructed to be diligent in trimming or culling over-aged or deteriorating mushrooms.

It must be pointed out that attempting to impose mandatory regulatory controls over the wild mushroom trade would probably be challenging and possibly resented; harvest and distribution of mushrooms has developed in an informal atmosphere and operates largely as a grey economy.

Harvest and field buying of mushrooms is a seasonal activity which takes place throughout much of BC around small communities where it provides an irregular but often important source of income for rural populations.

Below are listed some British Columbia mushrooms considered to be good edibles and which are candidates for approved status for commercial trade. Many of these species may make their way to farmers’ market stalls, produce stores or restaurants.

Please note that while some are considered choice and safe for most of us to eat, others can cause problems for certain people or if not properly prepared. These problematic species are indicated with an asterisk* and three types, Chickens of the woods (2 species of Laetiporus) and Lobster mushrooms (Hypomyces lactifluorum), are especially problematic. The Laetiporus were excluded because they have failed to achieve popularity, but Lobster mushrooms are retained because they have.

All wild mushrooms should be cooked before eating.

Table 1: List of potential market wild mushrooms for British Columbia

1)     Boletus edulis group     

Good market mushroom

Suitable for dried product, seem under-utilized in BC.

2)     Boletus fibrillosus

Good market mushroom

Suitable for dried product, seem under-utilized in BC.

3)     Boletus mirabilis

Good market mushroom

Suitable for dried product, seem under-utilized in BC.

4)     Boletus rex-veris

Good market mushroom

Suitable for dried product, seem under-utilized in BC.

5)     Boletus zelleri

Good market mushroom

Suitable for dried product, seem under-utilized in BC.

6)     Cantharellus cascadensis

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom, mostly fresh market.

7)     Cantharellus formosus

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom, mostly fresh market.

8)     Cantharellus roseocanus

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom, mostly fresh market.

9)     Cantherellus subalbidus

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom, mostly fresh market.

10)  Craterellus cornucopioides

Good market mushroom

Rare in BC. Suitable as dried product.

11)  Craterellus tubaeformis

Good market mushroom

Seems under-utilized in BC. Potential important commercial mushroom

12)  Gomphus clavatus

Good market mushroom

Considered endangered in many parts of Europe, extinct in Britain.

13)  Grifola frondusus

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom, rare in BC

14)  Hericium abietis

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom, increasing in value and of medicinal interest.

15)  Hericium americanus

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom, increasing in value and of medicinal interest.

16)  Hericium coralloides

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom, increasing in value and of medicinal interest.

17)  Hericium erinaceus

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom, increasing in value and of medicinal interest. Rare in BC.

18)  Hydnum repandum

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

19)  Hydnum umbilicatum

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

20)  Hypomyces lactifluorum *

problematic

Important commercial species. Quality control issues exist. Causes occasional GI upset.

21)  Imleria badius

Good market mushroom

Suitable for dried product

22)  Lactarius deliciosus

Good market mushroom

Little known here.

23)  Lactarius deterrimus

Good market mushroom

Little known here.

24)  Lactarius rubrilacteus

Good market mushroom

Little known here.

25)  Lepista nuda

Little known

Identification problems, tolerances unknown. Can grow in contaminated environments.

26)  Lyophyllum decastes

Little known

Identification challenging, tolerances unknown. Can grow in contaminated environments.

27)  Morchella spp. *

problematic

Important commercial mushroom, especially suitable for dried product. Fresh should have “cook before eating” label. Can grow in contaminated environments.

28)  Pleurotus ostreatus

problematic

Competes with cultivated Oyster mushrooms. Wild have quality issues and can grow in contaminated environments.

29)  Polyozellus atrolazulinus

Good market mushroom

Was Polyozellus multiplex. Conservation status of concern, uncertain due to lack of distribution data.

30)  Polyozellus marymargaretae

Good market mushroom

Was Polyozellus multiplex. Conservation status of concern, uncertain due to lack of distribution data.

31)  Rozites caperata

Little known

Identification problems, tolerances unknown

32)  Russula xerampelina

Little known

Identification issues, tolerances unknown

33)  Sparassis crispa

Good market mushroom

Cauliflower mushroom, highly desirable but not well known as market mushroom.

34)  Suillus borealis

Little known

Suitable for dried product

35)  Suillus brevipes

Little known

Suitable for dried product

36)  Suillus granulatus

Little known

Suitable for dried product

37)  Suillus lakei

Little known

Suitable for dried product

38)  Suillus luteus

Little known

Suitable for dried product

39)  Suillus species

Little known

Suitable for dried product

40)  Suillus subolivaceus

Little known

Suitable for dried product

41)  Tricholoma magnivelare

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom. High value almost all fresh market, much exported.

42)  Tuber gibbosum

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

 

How mushroom species were selected as potential market mushrooms

The mushrooms in the preceding list were selected from a larger list of mushrooms, see Table 2 p.7: Some Edible Wild Mushrooms of British Columbia, which are species classified as edible in popular field guides or reported as being sold in British Columbia. Species were eliminated from this larger list if they present problems in ensuring a potential consumer’s health.

Several of these have been recorded as causing negative reactions in sufficient numbers of people to be considered too high risk for a commercial market. See Table 3 p. 11 Anomalous Edible Mushroom Poisoning for a summary of frequently implicated “Edible” mushrooms.

Several saprobic mushrooms are excluded from the approved listing because they often grow in habitats associated with human disturbance and may present a higher than acceptable possibility of environmental contamination. Most are minor edibles not highly valued. Examples of such wild saprobes are Agaricus, Chlorophyllum and Coprinus. See Table 4 p. 12: Edible mushrooms with common names and life style or trophic mode.

 When saprobe mushroom species which might come from contaminated sites are retained on the approved list, it may be desirable to require some documentation of safe provenance. This would apply to such mushrooms as Lepista, LyophyllumMorchella and Pleurotus.

Certain edible mushrooms present a challenge for most people to reliably identify and may closely resemble toxic species. Examples of mushrooms that present identification challenges are Agaricus, Armillaria, Chlorophyllum, Clitopilus, Lepista and Lyophyllum.

Table 2: Some Edible Wild Mushrooms of British Columbia

An asterix (*) following the name indicates mushrooms associated with human illness in mushroom poisoning reports.  Please see also Table 3 p. 11: Anomalous Edible Mushroom Poisonings.

Latin Name

Market suitability

Comments

Agaricus augustus

problematic

Identification problems, tolerances unknown

Agaricus campestris

problematic

Competes with cultivated button mushroom.  Quality control issues.

Armillaria species *

High risk, not suitable

Identification problems, quality control problems. Causes occasional GI upset.

Boletus edulis group     

Good market mushroom

Suitable for dried product. Seems under-utilized in BC

Boletus fibrillosus

Good market mushroom

Suitable for dried product

Boletus mirabilis

Good market mushroom

Suitable for dried product

Boletus rex-veris

Good market mushroom

Suitable for dried product

Boletus zelleri

Good market mushroom

Suitable for dried product

Cantharellus cascadensis

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

Cantharellus formosus

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

Cantharellus roseocanus

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

Cantherellus subalbidus

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

Catathelasma imperialis

Little known

Little known in BC

Chlorophyllum brunneum

Little known

Identification problems, tolerances unknown, habitat contamination.

Chlorophyllum olivieri

Little known

Identification problems, tolerances unknown, habitat contamination

Chlorophyllum rachodes

Little known

Identification problems, tolerances unknown, habitat contamination

Clitopilus prunulus

Little known

Identification problems, tolerances unknown, habitat contamination

Coprinus comatus

problematic

Not suitable for commercial market. Shipping and storage problems, habitat contamination.

Craterellus cornucopioides

Good market mushroom

Rare in BC

Craterellus tubaeformis

Good market mushroom

Seems under-utilized in BC. Potential important commercial mushroom

Flammulina velutipes

Problematic

May be myotoxic and cardiotoxic . Wild-grown not used as food but it is available in cultivated form.

Gomphus clavatus

Good market mushroom

Rare. Considered endangered in many parts of Europe, extinct in Britain.

Grifola frondusus

Good market mushroom

Important commercially, rare in BC

Hericium abietis

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

Hericium americanus

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

Hericium coralloides

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

Hericium erinaceus

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom. Rare in BC

Hydnum repandum

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

Hydnum umbilicatum

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

Hypomyces lactifluorum *

Problematic

Important commercial species. Quality control issues. Causes occasional GI upset.

Imleria badius

Good market mushroom

Suitable for dried product

Lactarius deliciosus

Good market mushroom

Little known in BC

Lactarius deterrimus

Good market mushroom

Little known in BC

Lactarius rubrilacteus

Good market mushroom

Little known in BC

Laetiporus conifericola *

High risk, not suitable

Quality control problems. Causes occasional GI upset. Only youngest growth stage is safe and desirable. Was called L. sulphureus

Laetiporus gilbertsonii *

High risk, not suitable

Quality control problems. Causes occasional GI upset. Only youngest growth stage is safe and desirable. Was called L. sulphureus

Leccinum aurantiacum *

High risk, not suitable

Causes occasional GI upset.

Leccinum scabrum*

High risk, not suitable

Causes occasional GI upset.

Leccinum species *

High risk, not suitable

Cause occasional GI upset.

Lepista nuda

Little known

Identification problems, tolerances unknown, habitat contamination.

Lepista praemagna

Little known

Little known in BC, traditional use.

Lyophyllum decastes

Little known

Identification problems, tolerances unknown, habitat contamination.

Morchella spp. *

problematic

Important commercial mushroom especially suitable for dried product. Toxic raw, habitat contamination and quality control issues.

Phaeolepiota aurea*

High risk, not suitable

Causes frequent GI upset, habitat contamination.

Pleurocybella porrigens *

High risk, not suitable

Caused fatalities in Japan.

Pleurotus ostreatus

problematic

Competes with cultivated Oyster mushrooms.

Pluteus cervinus

Little known

Identification issues, not desirable.

Polyozellus atrolazulinus

Good market mushroom

Was Polyozellus multiplex. Conservation status of concern, uncertain due to lack of distribution data.

Polyozellus marymargaretae

Good market mushroom

Was Polyozellus multiplex. Conservation status of concern, uncertain due to lack of distribution data.

Rozites caperata

Little known

Identification problems, tolerances unknown

Russula xerampelina

Little known

Identification issues, tolerances unknown

Sarcodon imbricatus

Little known

Identification issues, not desirable.

Sparassis crispa

Good market mushroom

 

Suillus borealis

Little known

Suitable for dried product

Suillus brevipes

Little known

Suitable for dried product

Suillus granulatus

Little known

Suitable for dried product

Suillus lakei

Little known

Suitable for dried product

Suillus luteus

Little known

Suitable for dried product

Suillus species

Little known

Suitable for dried product

Suillus subolivaceus

Little known

Suitable for dried product

Tricholoma flavovirens*  or Tricholoma equestre*

High risk, not suitable

Caused fatalities in France

Tricholoma magnivelare

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

Tricholoma populinum

Little known

Little known in BC, traditional use.

Tuber gibbosum

Good market mushroom

Important commercial mushroom

Verpa bohemica

High risk, not suitable

 

 

Wild mushroom species that may be considered too high risk to be marketed Commercially or that may need special standards or labelling

 Armillaria species, Honey mushrooms: Frequently implicated with problems if over-mature and/or under-cooked. Accurate identification is critical because some dangerous mushrooms have similar growth habit and occur in the same habitat. These should be considered as high risk of causing illness.

Hypomyces lactifluorum, Lobster mushroom: Frequently implicated with problems if over-mature and/or under-cooked or with excessive or repeated consumption. Individual intolerance is apparent in some people. This is already a well established market mushroom sold fresh and dried. Lobster mushrooms sold fresh should have labels directing they be cooked before eating.

Laetiporus species, Chickens of the woods:  Usually marketed when over-mature and tough and unpalatable. Frequently causes gastrointestinal distress especially if undercooked. Only the very youngest and softest parts are edible and desirable. These should be considered as high risk of causing illness.

Leccinum species, rough stemmed boletes: Many cases of gastrointestinal upset are reported for various species. Individual intolerance may be common. The entire genus should be considered high risk of causing illness especially when fresh.

Morchella species sold fresh should have labels directing they be cooked before eating.

Phaeolepiota aurea, Gold-cap: Individual intolerance is frequent. These should be considered as high risk of causing illness.

Pleurocybella porrigens, Angel wings: This species was implicated in fatal poisonings in Japan. These should be considered as high risk of causing illness.

Tricholoma equestre or Tricholoma flavovirens, Man on horseback: In France these were implicated in fatal poisonings. These should be considered as high risk of causing illness.

 

Edible BC mushroom species that may have sustainability and conservation concerns

Craterellus cornucopioides is known only from a small area on southern Vancouver Island. Imported material apparently from California and Oregon appears in our markets at times.

Gomphus clavatus seems rare in BC and has been red-listed in many parts of Europe due to decline or extirpation. An old-growth associated mushroom.

 Grifola frondusus is only known in BC from Vancouver, Victoria and Greenwood in the Boundary district.

Hericium erinaceus is only known from the Salish Sea and southern Vancouver Island on Garry oak and broadleaf maple.

Polyozellus atrolazulinus and Polyozellus marymargaretae are recently recognized old-growth associated species with unknown distribution and range. Previously both were known as Polyozellus multiplex considered rather uncommon and locally abundant in only very few areas.

 

Table 3: Anomalous Edible Mushroom Poisoning

Mushroom involved

Type of syndrome

Time of onset and notes

Symptoms

Armillaria species

 

Gastrointestinal upset

1 hour  to 5 hours

Raw or undercooked or when over-mature.

Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Hypomyces lactifluorum

 

Gastrointestinal upset

30 minutes to several hours. Undercooked or overmature

Severe gastrointestinal distress, cramping, disoriented, sweating, weak.

Laetiporus sulphureus and Laetiporus conifericola

 

Gastrointestinal upset, neurotoxic

Gastrointestinal 5 to 45 minutes. Undercooked or overmature.

Neurotoxic about one hour after eating raw, in child.

Causes nausea, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain, headache and fatigue, tingling of extremities.

 Also disorientation, ataxia, hallucinations in child.

Leccinum species

 

Gastrointestinal upset

 

1 to 5 hours

May cause upset even if well cooked, exact species involved often unknown.

Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, sweating and dry mouth, malaise, headache and dizziness.

Lentinula edodes

 

Skin rash and gastrointestinal upset

20 minutes to several hours

Fresh cultivated mushrooms eaten raw or undercooked

Flagellate erythema (hives-like rash in streaks), Gastrointestinal upset, chills, disoriented, headache, muscle spasms, unconscious, weak, difficulty breathing

Morchella species

 

Gastrointestinal upset

5 to 45 minutes

Toxic when eaten raw, alcohol consumed may also cause problems.

Nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain and cramping.

Phaeolepiota aurea

Gastrointestinal upset

30 minutes to 2 hours

Intolerance in certain individuals is common

Gastrointestinal upset with severe nausea.

Pleurocybella porrigens

Encephalopathy: Deaths reported in Japan

2 to 3 weeks

Patients all older males with kidney disease, most had received dialysis prior to ingestion.

Tremor, weakness of extremities, disturbance of consciousness, intractable seizures; cerebral cortex lesions.

Tricholoma equestre or flavovirens

Rhabdomyolysis: Deaths reported in France

1 to 4 days following repeated meals (3 or more) over two weeks or more.

Fatigue, muscle weakness and pain, anorexia, nausea, profuse sweating, myogloburia; kidney failure.

 

Table 4: Some edible mushrooms with common names and life style or trophic mode

Latin Name

Common Names

Comments

Agaricus augustus

The Prince

Saprotroph

Agaricus campestris

Meadow mushroom

Saprotroph

Armillaria species *

Honey mushrooms *

Wood decay

Boletus edulis group     

King bolete, Cep, Porcini

Ectomycorrhizal

Boletus fibrillosus

Dark king bolete

Ectomycorrhizal

Boletus mirabilis

Admirable Bolete

Ectomycorrhizal

Boletus rex-veris

Spring king bolete

Ectomycorrhizal

Boletus zelleri

Zeller’s bolete

Ectomycorrhizal

Cantharellus cascadensis

Cascade chamterelle

Ectomycorrhizal

Cantharellus formosus

Golden Chanterelle

Ectomycorrhizal

Cantharellus roseocanus

Rainbow Chanterelle

Ectomycorrhizal

Cantherellus subalbidus

White chanterelle

Ectomycorrhizal

Catathelasma imperialis

Giant Cat

Ectomycorrhizal 

Chlorophyllum brunneum

Shaggy parasol

Saprotroph

Chlorophyllum olivieri

Shaggy parasol

Saprotroph

Chlorophyllum rachodes

Shaggy parasol

Saprotroph

Clitopilus prunulus

Sweetbread mushroom

Saprotroph

Coprinus comatus

Shaggy Mane

Saprotroph

Craterellus cornucopioides

Black chanterelle

Ectomycorrhizal

Craterellus tubaeformis

Winter Chanterelle, Yellow Foot

Ectomycorrhizal

Flammulina velutipes

Enoke, Enoketake

Wood decay

Gomphus clavatus

Pig’s ear gomphus

Ectomycorrhizal

Grifola frondusus

Maitake

Wood decay

Hericium abietis

Bear’s Head or Lion’s Mane

Wood decay

Hericium americanus

Bear’s Head or Lion’s Mane

Wood decay

Hericium coralloides

Bear’s Head or Lion’s Mane

Wood decay

Hericium erinaceus

Bear’s Head or Lion’s Mane

Wood decay

Hydnum repandum

Hedgehog, Sweet Tooth

Ectomycorrhizal

Hydnum umbilicatum

Belly-button Hedgehog

Ectomycorrhizal

Hypomyces lactifluorum *

Lobster mushroom *

Parasite on Russula

Lactarius deliciosus

Orange Milkcap

Ectomycorrhizal

Lactarius deterrimus

Spruce Orange Milkcap

Ectomycorrhizal

Laetiporus conifericola *

Chicken of the Woods *

Wood decay

Laetiporus gilbertsonii *

Chicken of the Woods *

Wood decay

Leccinum aurantiacum *

Orange Cap bolete *

Ectomycorrhizal

Leccinum scabrum*

Birch bolete*

Ectomycorrhizal

Leccinum species *

Rough stem boletes *

Ectomycorrhizal

Lepista nuda

Blewit

Saprotroph

Lepista praemagna

Giant blewit

Saprotroph

Lyophyllum decastes

Fried Chicken mushroom

Saprotroph

Morchella spp. *

Morels *

Saprotroph

Phaeolepiota aurea*

Gold-cap*

Saprotroph

Pleurocybella porrigens *

Angels’ Wings *

Wood decay

Pleurotus ostreatus

Oyster mushroom

Wood decay

Pluteus cervinus

Deer mushroom

Wood decay

Polyozellus atrolazulinus

Blue or Purple Chanterelle

Ectomycorrhizal

Polyozellus marymargaretae

Blue or Purple Chanterelle

Ectomycorrhizal

Rozites caperata

Gypsy mushroom

Ectomycorrhizal

Russula xerampelina

Shrimp mushroom

Ectomycorrhizal

Sarcodon imbricatus

Hawk’s wing, scaly hedgehog

Ectomycorrhizal

Sparassis crispa

Cauliflower mushroom

Root parasite?

Suillus brevipes

Short-stemmed slippery jack

Ectomycorrhizal

Suillus granulatus

Granulated slippery jack

Ectomycorrhizal

Suillus lakei

Lake’s bolete

Ectomycorrhizal

Suillus luteus

Slippery jack

Ectomycorrhizal

Suillus subolivaceus

Slippery Jill

Ectomycorrhizal

Tricholoma flavovirens *

Man on Horseback *

Ectomycorrhizal

Tricholoma magnivelare

Pine mushroom, Matsutake

Ectomycorrhizal

Tricholoma populinum

Big sandy

Ectomycorrhizal

Tuber gibbosum

Oregon white truffle

Ectomycorrhizal

Verpa bohemica

Early morel

Ectomycorrhizal

 

Table 5: Scientific names of BC’s edible mushrooms

 Here are current names for BC edible fungi, from Kroeger & Berch 2017 with some additions. Names conform to Index Fungorum. Scientific names for fungi are rapidly changing as genetic studies reveal how different species are related or not. Many mushrooms we knew by familiar European names are being recognized as new species native to this region.

Mushroom name and authority

Family

comments

Agaricus arvensis Schaeff.

Agaricaceae

 

Agaricus augustus Fr.

Agaricaceae

 

Agaricus bernardii Quel.

Agaricaceae

 

Agaricus bisporus (J.E. Lange) Imbach

Agaricaceae

 

Agaricus bitorquis (Quel.) Sacc.

Agaricaceae

 

Agaricus campestris Fr.

Agaricaceae

 

Agaricus subrufescens Peck

Agaricaceae

 

Agaricus subrutilescens (Kauffman) Hotson & D.E. Stuntz

Agaricaceae

 

Agaricus sylvaticus Schaeff.

Agaricaceae

also as A.haemorrhoidarius

Agaricus sylvicola (Vittad.) Peck

Agaricaceae

as Agaricus silvicola

Armillaria cepistipes Velen.

Physalacriaceae

 

Armillaria gallica Marxm. & Romagn.

Physalacriaceae

 

Armillaria gemina Berube & Dessur.

Physalacriaceae

 

Armillaria mellea (Vahl) P. Kumm.

Physalacriaceae

 

Armillaria nabsnona T.J. Volk & Burds.

Physalacriaceae

 

Armillaria ostoyae (Romagn.) Herink

Physalacriaceae

 

Armillaria sinapina Bérubé & Dessur.

Physalacriaceae

 

Armillaria solidipes Peck

Physalacriaceae

 

Aureoboletus flaviporus (Earle) Klofac

Boletaceae

as Boletus

Aureoboletus mirabilis (Murrill) Halling

Boletaceae

as Boletus

Boletus aereus Bull.

Boletaceae

 

Boletus barrowsii Thiers & A.H. Sm.

Boletaceae

 

Boletus coniferarum Lebedeva

Boletaceae

 

Boletus edulis Bull.

Boletaceae

 

Boletus erythropus Pers.

Boletaceae

 

Boletus ferrugineus Schaeff.

Boletaceae

Boletus spadiceus Schaeff.

Boletus fibrillosus Thiers

Boletaceae

 

Boletus regineus Arora & Simonini

Boletaceae

 

Boletus rubriceps D. Arora & J.L.Frank

Boletaceae

 

Boletus smithii Thiers

Boletaceae

 

Boletus subtomentosus L.

Boletaceae

 

Butyriboletus appendiculatus (Schaeff.) D. Arora & J.L. Frank

Boletaceae

as Boletus

Cantharellus californicus Arora & Dunham

Cantharellaceae

 

Cantharellus cascadensis J.S. Dunham, O’Dell & R. Molina

Cantharellaceae

 

Cantharellus cibarius Fr.

Cantharellaceae

 

Cantharellus formosus Corner

Cantharellaceae

 

Cantharellus pallens Pilat

Cantharellaceae

IF Cantharellus cibarius var. pallens

Cantharellus roseocanus (Redhead, Norvell & Danell) Redhead, Norvell & Moncalvo

Cantharellaceae

 

Cantharellus subalbidus A.H. Sm. & Morse

Cantharellaceae

 

Catathelasma imperiale (Quél.) Singer 

Tricholomataceae

 

Catathelasma ventricosum (Peck) Singer

Tricholomataceae

 

Chlorophyllum brunneum (Farl. & Burt) Vellinga

Agaricaceae

also as Lepiota

Chlorophyllum olivieri (Barla) Vellinga

Agaricaceae

 

Chlorophyllum rachodes (Vittad.) Vellinga

Agaricaceae

also as Lepiota, as Macrolepiota rhacodes

Clitocybe praemagna (Murrill) H.E. Bigelow & A.H. Sm.

Tricholomataceae

As Lepista

Clitopilus prunulus (Scop.) P. Kumm.

Entolomataceae

 

Coprinus comatus (O.F. Müll.) Pers.

Agaricaceae

 

Cortinarius caperatus (Pers.) Fr.

Cortinariaceae

as Rozites caperata

Craterellus cornucopioides (L.) Pers.

Cantharellaceae

 

Craterellus tubaeformis (Fr.) Quél.

Cantharellaceae

as Cantharellus tubaeformis, C.infundibuliformis

Flammulina populicola Redhead & R.H. Petersen

Physalacriaceae

as F. velutipes

Flammulina velutipes (Curtis) Singer

Physalacriaceae

 

Gomphus clavatus (Pers.) Gray

Gomphaceae

as Cantharellus clavatus

Grifola frondosa (Dicks.: Fr.) Gray

Meripilaceae

 

Hericium abietis (Weir ex Hubert) K.A. Harrison

Hericiaceae

 

Hericium americanum Ginns 

Hericiaceae

 

Hericium coralloides (Scop.) Pers.

Hericiaceae

also as Hericium ramosum

Hericium erinaceus (Bull.) Pers. 

Hericiaceae

 

Hydnum ellipsosporum Ostrow & Beenken

Hydnaceae

as Hydnum sp. F19678

Hydnum indurescens D. Hall & D.E. Stuntz

Hydnaceae

Sarcodon indurescens (D. Hall & D.E. Stuntz) Stalpers

Hydnum repandum L.

Hydnaceae

as

Hydnum repandum variety albidum (Peck) Bres.

Hydnaceae

as Hydnum albidum

Hydnum repandum variety album (Quél.) Rea

Hydnaceae

 

Hydnum rufescens Pers.

Hydnaceae

as Hydnum repandum var. rufescens (Pers.) Barla

Hydnum subincarnatum K.A. Harrison

Hydnaceae

as Sarcodon

Hydnum umbilicatum Peck 

Hydnaceae

 

Hypomyces lactifluorum (Schwein.) Tul. & C. Tul.

Hypocreaceae

 

Imleria badius (Fr.) Vizzini

Boletaceae

As Boletus badius

Lactarius deliciosus (L.) Gray

Russulaceae

 

Lactarius deterrimus Gröger

Russulaceae

 

Lactarius rubrilacteus Hesler & A.H. Sm.

Russulaceae

 

Laetiporus conifericola  Burds. & Banik

Fomitopsidaceae

 

Laetiporus gilbertsonii Burds.

Fomitopsidaceae

 

Laetiporus sulphureus (Bull.) Murrill

Fomitopsidaceae

as Polyporus sulphureus (Bull.) Fr.

Leccinum alaskanum V.L. Wells & Kempton

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum arctostaphyli V.L. Wells & Kempton

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum aurantiacum (Bull.) Gray

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum clavatum A.H. Sm., Thiers & Watling

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum discolor A.H. Sm., Thiers & Watling

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum fallax A.H. Sm., Thiers & Watling

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum fibrillosum A.H. Sm., Thiers & Watling

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum holopus (Rostk.) Watling 

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum insigne A.H. Sm., Thiers & Watling

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum manzanitae Thiers 

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum ponderosum A.H. Sm., Thiers & Watling

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum potteri A.H. Sm., Thiers & Watling

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum scabrum (Bull.) Gray

Boletaceae

also as Leccinum rotundifoliae, Leccinum oxydabile (Singer) Singer

Leccinum subtestaceum A.H. Sm., Thiers & Watling

Boletaceae

 

Leccinum versipelle (Fr. & Hök) Snell

Boletaceae

also as Leccinum atrostipitatum

Lepista glaucocana (Bres.) Singer

Tricholomataceae

 

Lepista irina (Fr.) H.E. Bigelow

Tricholomataceae

 

Lepista nuda (Bull.) Cooke

Tricholomataceae

as Clitocybe nuda (Fr.) H.E. Bigelow & A.H. Sm.

Lepista personata (Fr.) Cooke

Tricholomataceae

 

Lepista tarda (Peck) Murrill

Tricholomataceae

 

Leucangium carthusianum (Tul. & C. Tul.) Paol.

Helvellaceae

as Picoa carthusiana Tul. & C. Tul.

Lyophyllum decastes (Fr.) Singer

Lyophyllaceae

 

Marasmius oreades (Bolton) Fr.

Marasmiaceae

 

Morchella americana Clowez & Matherly

Morchellaceae

 

Morchella angusticeps Peck 

Morchellaceae

Recent revision, name now obsolete

Morchella conica Krombh. 

Morchellaceae

Recent revision, name now obsolete: equals M. esculenta

Morchella costata (Vent.) Pers.

Morchellaceae

 

Morchella crassipes (Vent.) Pers.

Morchellaceae

Recent revision, name now obsolete

Morchella deliciosa Fr.

Morchellaceae

Recent revision, name now obsolete

Morchella elata Fr.

Morchellaceae

Recent revision, name now obsolete

Morchella esculenta (L.) Pers.

Morchellaceae

Recent revision, name now obsolete

Morchella frustrata M.Kuo

Morchellaceae

 

Morchella importuna M. Kuo, O’Donnell & T.J. Volk

Morchellaceae

 

Morchella snyderi M.Kuo & Methven

Morchellaceae

 

Morchella tridentina Bres.

Morchellaceae

as Morchella conica

Phaeolepiota aurea (Matt.) Maire

Agaricaceae

 

Pleurocybella porrigens (Pers.) Singer

Marasmiaceae

also as Pleurotus albolanatus

Pleurotus dryinus Pers.) P. Kumm. 

Pleurotaceae

 

Pleurotus ostreatus (Jacq.) P. Kumm.

Pleurotaceae

 

Pleurotus populinus O. Hilber & O.K. Mill.

Pleurotaceae

 

Pleurotus pulmonarius (Fr.) Quél.

Pleurotaceae

 

Pleurotus subareolatus Peck 

Pleurotaceae

 

Pluteus atromarginatus (Konrad) Kühner

Pluteaceae

 

Pluteus cervinus (Schaeff.) P. Kumm.

Pluteaceae

also as Pluteus atricapillus

Polyozellus atrolazulinus Trudell & Kõljalg

Thelephoraceae

 

Polyozellus marymargaretae Beug & I. Saar

Thelephoraceae

 

Polyozellus multiplex (Underw.) Murrill

Thelephoraceae

 

Russula xerampelina (Schaeff.) Fr.

Russulaceae

 

Russula xerampelina variety isabelliniceps C. Roberts nom prov

Russulaceae

 

Sarcodon imbricatus (L.) P. Karst.

Bankeraceae

 

Sparassis crispa (Wulfen) Fr.

Sparassidaceae

 

Stropharia rugosoannulata Farl. ex Murrill

Strophariaceae

 

Suillus albidipes (Peck) Singer

Suillaceae

 

Suillus albivelatus A.H. Sm., Thiers & O.K. Mill.

Suillaceae

 

Suillus amabilis (Peck) Singer

Suillaceae

as Boletinus amabilis (Peck) Snell

Suillus borealis A.H. Sm., Thiers & O.K. Mill.

Suillaceae

 

Suillus brevipes (Peck) Kuntze

Suillaceae

 

Suillus caerulescens A.H. Sm. & Thiers 

Suillaceae

 

Suillus cavipes (Opat.) A.H. Sm. & Thiers

Suillaceae

 

Suillus decipiens (Berk. & M. A. Curtis) Kuntze

Suillaceae

 

Suillus flavidus (Fr.) J. Presl

Suillaceae

 

Suillus flavogranulatus A.H. Sm., Thiers & O.K. Mill.

Suillaceae

 

Suillus glandulosipes Thiers & A.H. Sm.

Suillaceae

 

Suillus granulatus (L.) Roussel

Suillaceae

 

Suillus grevillei (Klotzsch) Singer

Suillaceae

 

Suillus hirtellus (Peck) Snell

Suillaceae

 

Suillus lakei (Murrill) A.H. Sm. & Thiers

Suillaceae

 

Suillus luteus (L.) Roussel

Suillaceae

 

Suillus neoalbidipes M.E. Palm & E.L. Stewart

Suillaceae

 

Suillus ochraceoroseus (Snell) Singer

Suillaceae

as Fuscoboletinus

Suillus pictus (Peck) A.H. Sm. & Thiers

Suillaceae

as Boletinus

Suillus placidus (Bonord.) Singer

Suillaceae

 

Suillus ponderosus A.H. Sm. & Thiers

Suillaceae

 

Suillus pseudobrevipes A.H. Sm. & Thiers

Suillaceae

 

Suillus punctatipes (Snell & E.A. Dick) Singer

Suillaceae

 

Suillus punctipes (Peck) Singer

Suillaceae

 

Suillus sibiricus  (Singer) Singer

Suillaceae

 

Suillus subaureus (Peck) Snell

Suillaceae

 

Suillus subolivaceus A.H. Sm. & Thiers

Suillaceae

 

Suillus tomentosus (Kauffman) Singer

Suillaceae

 

Suillus umbonatus E.A. Dick & Snell

Suillaceae

 

Suillus variegatus (Sw.) Richon & Roze

Suillaceae

as Suillus tomentosus F31018

Suillus viscidus  (L.) Roussel

Suillaceae

as Fuscoboletinus aeruginascens

Tricholoma caligatum (Viv.) Ricken

Tricholomataceae

 

Tricholoma equestre (L.) P. Kumm.

Tricholomataceae

also as Tricholoma flavovirens

Tricholoma magnivelare (Peck) Redhead

Tricholomataceae

 

Tricholoma populinum J.E. Lange

Tricholomataceae

 

Tuber aestivum Vittad.

Tuberaceae

cultured

Tuber anniae W. Colgan & Trappe

Tuberaceae

 

Tuber besseyi Gilkey

Tuberaceae

 

Tuber beyeleri Trappe, Bonito & Guevara

Tuberaceae

 

Tuber borchii Vittad.

Tuberaceae

cultured ?

Tuber gibbosum Harkn.

Tuberaceae

 

Tuber giganteum Gilkey

Tuberaceae

 

Tuber melanosporum Vittad.

Tuberaceae

cultured

Tuber oligospermum (Tul. & C. Tul.) Trappe

Tuberaceae

as Tuber asa Tul. & C. Tul.

Tuber oregonense Trappe, Bonito & P. Rawl.

Tuberaceae

 

Tuber rapaeodorum  Tul. & C. Tul.

Tuberaceae

as Tuber rufum Picco

Tuber rufum Picco

Tuberaceae

UBC deposit pending

Tuber uncinatum Chatin

Tuberaceae

 

Verpa bohemica (Krombh.) J. Schröt.

Morchellaceae

 

Verpa conica (O.F. Müll.) Sw.

Morchellaceae

 

Xerocomellus chrysenteron (Bull.) Šutara

Boletaceae

as Boletus

Xerocomellus  truncatus (Singer, Snell & E.A. Dick) Klofac

Boletaceae

as Boletus

Xerocomellus  zelleri (Murrill) Klofac

Boletaceae

as Boletus

 

A Bibliography for Commercial wild mushrooms

Acker & K. Russell (1986) Harvesting wild edible mushrooms in Washington: An issue paper. The Edible Mushroom Task Group. Washington.

J.F. Ammirati (1985) Poisonous Mushrooms of the Northern United States and Canada. University of Minnesota Press.

Anonymous (1994) Workshop results- Pine Mushroom Task Force. Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, Victoria.

Anonymous (2003) Abstracts: The third international workshop on edible mycorrhizal mushrooms. Victoria, B.C.

D. Arora (1986) Mushrooms Demystified. Ten Speed Press.

D. Arora (1991) All That The Rain Promises and More… Ten Speed Press.

D. Arora (2008) California porcini: three new taxa, observations on their harvest, and the tragedy of no commons. Economic Botany 62 (3): 356-375.

A. Bazzicalupo et al. (2018) White paper on strategies to reduce risks and expand appreciation of foraged wild mushrooms. (https://www.namyco.org/docs/EdiblePoisonousReport20170914.pdf).

BC Ministry of Forests and Range(2010) Harvesting edible wild mushrooms in BC. https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/publications/00028/harvest.htm (Jul 12, 2017).

D.R. Benjamin (1995) Mushrooms: Poisons and Panaceas. A Handbook for Naturalists, Mycologists and Physicians. W.H. Freeman and Company.

S. M. Berch and A.M. Wiensczyk (2001) Ecological description and classification of some Pine mushroom (Tricholoma magnivelare) habitat in British Columbia. Ministry of Forests, Research Program, Research Report No. 19. Victoria.

S. M. Berch and W. Cocksedge (2003) Commercially important wild mushrooms and fungi of British Columbia: What the buyers are buying. Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, Victoria.

M. Beug. (2016). Mushroom poisoning in North America, summary of voluntary reporting and news articles for 2015 and 2016. http://www.namyco.org/toxicology_reports.php (May 7, 2017).

M. Beug, M. Shaw, & K. Cochran (2006). Thirty-plus years of mushroom poisoning: Summary of the approximately 2,000 reports in the NAMA case registry. McIlvainea 16:47-68.

E. J. H. Corner (1966) A Monograph of Cantharelloid Fungi. Oxford University Press.

T. Ehlers, S. Berch and R. Winder (2010) Pacific Golden Chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus) Ecology and Productivity in the Nimpkish Valley, Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Draft Report

T. Ehlers & T. Hobby (2010) The chanterelle mushroom harvest on northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia: Factors relating to successful commercial development. BC Journal of Ecosystems and Management 11:72-83.

F.B.M. Consulting Ent. (1989) The harvesting of edible wild mushrooms in British Columbia. In: Integrated Resources Branch, B.C.F.S., editor. BC Ministry of Forests, Victoria BC.

S. Gamiet, H. Redenour and F. Philpot (1998). An overview of pine mushrooms in the Skeena-Bulkley Region. Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research, Smithers, B.C.

N. de Geus (ed.), S.A. Redhead & B. Callan (1992) Wild mushroom harvesting discussion session minutes. Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, Victoria.

N. de Geus (ed.) (1995) Summary of public response: Pine Mushroom Task Force recommendations. Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, Victoria.

N. de Geus (1995) Botanical forest products in British Columbia: An overview. Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, Victoria.

N. de Geus, Scott Redhead and Brenda Callan (1992) Wild mushroom harvesting discussion session minutes. Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, Victoria.

N. de Geus & S. Berch (1997) Tne Pine Mushroom industry in British Columbia. In Mycology in sustainable development; expanding concepts, vanishing borders. Ed. M. Palm & I. Capela. 55-67

J. Ginns (2017) Polypores of British Columbia (Fungi: Basidiomycota). Prov. B.C. Victoria. B.C. Tech. Rep. 104.

D. Hosford, D. Pilz, R. Molina and M. Amaranthus (1997) Ecology and management of the commercially harvested American Matsutake mushroom. USDA-FS PNW-GTR-412. Portland.

J.M. Kranabetter and P. Kroeger (2001) Ectomycorrhizal mushroom response to partial cutting in a western hemlock/western redcedar forest. Can. J. For. Res. 31: 978–987.

J. M. Kranabetter, J. Friesen, S. Gamiet & P. Kroeger (2005) Ectomycorrhizal mushroom distribution by stand age in western hemlock-lodgepole pine forests of northwestern British Columbia. Can. J. For. Res. 35: 1527-1539.

J. M. Kranabetter, H. Williams & J. Morin (2009) Ecological descriptions of Pacific golden chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus) habitat and estimates of its extent in Haida Gwaii. B.C. Journal of Ecosystems and Management. 10: 59-67.

J. M. Kranabetter, R. Trowbridge, A. Macadam, D. McLennan and J. Friesen (2002). Ecological descriptions of pine mushroom (Tricholoma magnivelare) habitat and estimates of its extent in northwestern British Columbia. For. Ecol. Manage. 158: 249–261.

P.Kroeger (1991). ‘Yumm,’ said the police chief. Mushroom The Journal 34.

P. Kroeger & S. Berch (2017) Macrofungus species of British Columbia. Prov. B.C. Victoria. B.C. Tech. Rep. 108.

P. Kroeger, B. Kendrick, O. Ceska & C. Roberts (2012). The Outer Spores: Mushrooms of Haida Gwaii. Mycologue Publications and Haida Gwaii Museum.

L. Liegel, D. Pilz, & T. Love (1998). The MAB Mushroom Study: Background and concerns. In Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment. Special Report Number 9: 3-7.

L. Liegel, D. Pilz, T. Love & E. Jones(1998). Integrating biological, socioeconomic, and managerial methods and results in the MAB Mushroom Study. In Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment. Special Report Number 9: 26-33.

G. Lincoff and D.H. Mitchel (1977) Toxic and Hallucinogenic Mushroom Poisoning: A Handbook for Physicians and Mushroom Hunters. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.

T. Love, E. Jones & L. Liegel (1998) Valuing the temperature rainforest: Wild mushrooming on the Olympic Peninsula Biosphere Reserve. In Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment. Special Report Number 9: 16-25.

D. Malloch (1976) Morels: A gourmet’s delight. Agriculture Canada, Publication 1581.

M. McKenny, D. Stuntz and J. Ammirati (1994) The New Wild Savory Mushroom. Douglas and McIntyre.

H. McLean, S. Peck, G. Eng, R. Mathias, W. Black& G. Morgan (1987). Epidemiologic notes and reports restaurant-associated botulism from mushrooms bottled in-house — Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 36:103.

R. Molina, T. O’Dell, D. Luoma, M. Amaranthus, M. Castellano and K. Russell (1993) Biology, ecology, and social aspects of wild edible mushrooms in the forests of the Pacific Northwest: A preface to managing commercial harvest. USDA-FS PNW-GTR-309 Portland.

O. Persson and B. Mossberg (1997) The Chanterelle Book. Ten Speed Press Berkeley USA

M. J. Peterson, R. Outerbridge and John Dennis (2000) Chanterelle productivity on burned and unburned regeneration sites in the vicinity of Skidegate Lake on Moresby Island. Province of British Columbia Ministry of Forests.

D. Pilz, F.D. Brodie, S. Alexander & R. Molina (1998). Relative value of chanterelles and timber as commercial forest products. In Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment. Special Report Number 9: 14-15.

D. Pilz, R. Molina, & L. Liegel (1998). Biological productivity of chanterelle mushrooms in and near the Olympic Peninsula Biosphere Reserve. In Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment. Special Report Number 9: 8-13.

D. Pilz, L. Norvell, E. Danell and R. Molina (2003) Ecology and management of commercially harvested chanterelle mushrooms. USDA-FS PNW-GTR-576 Portland.

D. Pilz, R. Molina, and J. Mayo (2006) Effects of thinning young forests on chanterelle mushroom production. Journal of Forestry 104:9–14.

D. Pilz, R. McLain, S. Alexander, L. Villareal-Ruiz, S. Berch, T. Wurz, C. Parks, E. McFarlane, B. Baker, R. Molina and J. Smith (2007) Ecology and Management of Morels Harvested from the Forests of Western North America. USDA-FS PNW-GTR-710 Portland.

S.A. Redhead (1997) The Pine Mushroom industry in Canada and the United States: Why it exists and where it is going. In Mycology in sustainable development; expanding concepts, vanishing borders. Ed. M. Palm & I. Capela. 15-54

S.A. Redhead, L. Norvell and E. Danell (1997) Cantharellus formosus and the Pacific golden Chanterelle harvest in Western North America. Mycotaxon 65: 285-322.

J. Duane Sept (2006) Common Mushrooms of the Northwest. Calypso Press.

S. Tedder, D. Mitchell and R. Farran (2000) Seeing the Forest Beneath the trees: The Social and Economic Potential of Non-timber Forest Products and Services in the Queen Charlotte Islands/ Haida Gwaii. Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, Victoria.

R. Trowbridge, A. Macadam, and M. Kranabetter (1999). Ecological description and classification of highly productive pine mushroom sites in northwestern British Columbia. Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research, Smithers, B.C.

S. Trudell and J. Ammirati (2009) Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest. Timber Press.

N.J. Turner and P.von Aderkas 2009. The North American Guide to Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms. Timber Press.

 

Photographs

BC’s Truffle Industry: The Next Frontier is Underground

Dexter discovers a treasure

When you are out foraging for mushrooms, could the real treasures be underground? The folks at the Truffle Association of BC say it’s possible. The allure of truffles is well known, with prices as much as $6,000/Kg for the most expensive type, the Italian White Truffle, Tuber magnatum. Finding them, though, is another story.

 

What is a truffle?

If you don’t know much about truffles, here are the Coles notes: Truffles are essentially a mushroom that fruits underground. With most fungi, the vegetative body of the organism lives underground all year, and only in fruiting season will it send up a reproductive structure that we know as a mushroom. But with truffles, the fruiting body never breaks the surface. In the absence of wind current, truffles have evolved to have animals disperse their spores. Truffles release an attractive scent that mimics the sex hormones of pigs, which allows them to sniff out, dig up, and eat the truffles, dispersing the spores elsewhere in their stools.

You may be thinking, “I like the smell of truffles, does that mean I like the smell of pig sex hormones?” Try not to read into it. Shannon Berch, the lead researcher for TABC, advised that to her knowledge there are no poisonous truffles, due to the fact that they rely on animals consuming them to propagate. Humans could, hypothetically, also be vectors of spore dispersal (I asked).

Wild and cultivated truffle samples

BC Truffle Festival

On Saturday February 29th, the BC Truffle Festival held an event at the UBC Farm, located on the unceded lands of the Squamish, Tseil-Watuth, and Musqueam First Nations. It was a crisp sunny day, and about 40 truffle enthusiasts gathered in a rustic yurt just a few minute’s walk from UBC’s Truffiére (Truff-ee-AIR). In attendance were experts in every aspect of trufflemania you could think of: science, cultivation, culinary preparation, and of course, two adorable truffle dogs and their dedicated owners.

For something as secretive as truffles, the members of TABC were extremely generous with their information. The society actively encourages people to start cultivating truffles. However, as Sharmin Gamiet, truffle and mushroom cultivation consultant, puts it, “Growing Truffles is not for the faint of heart.” In her presentation, we learned it takes about seven years of planning, soil pH adjustment, and roughly a $35,000 investment before you see a truffle, if you’re lucky. The UBC Farm Truffiére was established with oak trees inoculated with Perigord truffle spawn in 2013 and is ripe to start producing truffles. Sadly, when we went out with the dogs, despite it being peak truffle season, there were none to be found. My fingers are crossed for next year. 

BC’s Truffle Industry

“We are trying to create an industry,” Doug Campbell, TABC volunteer and manager of the UBC Farm Truffière, told me after the event. Both wild truffle hunting and truffle cultivation are relatively new industries to BC. With Europe’s truffle industry in decline due to climate change and deforestation, there is an opportunity to meet the growing global demand for truffles. There are only a handful of producing truffiéres in Canada, with Southern BC being one of Canada’s few suitable growing regions. Varieties in cultivation in BC include Bianchetto (Tuber borchii) and Perigord (Tuber melanosporum). 

However, no species is off the table (pun intended). Since BC’s Truffle Industry is still emerging, it is an exciting new frontier for farmers and researchers to experiment and hopefully discover new techniques to grow previously uncultivated species. This is exactly what happened at ArborInnov Inc. in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Thanks to years of research and development in plant-fungi symbiosis (mychorrizae), they successfully cultivated the Apalachian Truffle (Tuber canaliculatum) in 2016. You can learn more about their work at arborinnov.com.

 

A bianchetto truffle grown in Langley, BC

BC’s Native Truffles

So you don’t have seven years to wait? You could still be in luck. To my delight, I learned that BC has dozens of native truffle species, and more are being discovered all the time. There are two main types of culinary truffle native to Southern BC: Oregon Black Truffles (Leucangium carthusianum), and Oregon White Truffles (actually two species that are only distinguishable by their harvest season: Tuber gibbosum, and Tuber oreganese). A trained truffle dog can sniff them out no problem. Brooke Page, truffle dog owner and trainer, told us, “The challenge with training is not teaching your dog to find truffles. They already know how to do that. The trick is teaching them to communicate to you where they are.” Any dog can be trained to hunt for truffles, but certain breeds, namely Lagotto Romagnolo, naturally excel at it. Your best bet is to start in a Douglas fir forest, in a valley, typically with trees younger than 50 (old growth is not necessary unlike other types of mushrooms). Both varieties can cost between $800-1800/Kg.

So with all the hard work and chance involved, why bother? To me, it’s like any other investment: the risk is high, but the potential return is worth it. The unique, revered flavour and rarity combined with a high price tag make truffle farming and hunting particularly attractive to those looking for the next gold rush.

The Truffle Association of British Columbia is a society dedicated to supporting BC’s truffle industry by providing information, upholding quality standards, and ensuring a consistent supply of truffles for years to come. If you are interested in learning more, visit bctruffles.ca. A special thank you to them for informing this article and providing photos from the event by Luke Mikler Photography lukemiklerphoto.com. 

Wow New Website!

We are so happy to announce our new website (the one you’re on right now). Thanks to Amy Earl for building the site, and to Paul Kroeger, Gordon Glaze, Sandy MacDonald, Cody Laboissier, and Mendel Skulski for the architecture. And thanks to Louise Gadd for digitizing our library listings!

Trametes versicolor, Port Moody, June 2014
© Lance Isackson

The VMS tips its (amadou) hat to our old website, and its designers & maintainers – Kent Brothers and Brian Didier in particular – for all their work. Thank you for bringing the Vancouver Mycological Society to the internet!

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