Sixteenth Issue, July 2005
Published about twice a year from Greenville, California
by Herman Brown 


This year had a very wet spring. For some mushrooms it was a feast.  We found lots of Snow Mushrooms (Gyromitra montana A.K.A. G. gigas), Black Morels (Morchella elata), Spring King Boletes (Boletus pinophilus), Amber Staining Agaricus (Agaricus albolutescens) and more than a few Red-Capped Butter Boletes (B. regius). The B. appendiculatus numbers we found were pretty disappointing this year, however.

We were sent some fresh Hydnum repandum by Irma Brandt, and we had already traded some dried morels and Snow Mushrooms for her dried Black Chanterelles and Candy Caps. All of what she sent were new taste treats for us, especially the Candy Cap pound cake that she sent also.  The Maple Syrupy taste seemed to linger in our mouths for more than a few minutes after swallowing even a small portion of it.

We also saw lots of the Sculptured Puffball this season, (Calvatia sculpta), but left most of them.

Findings, March 2 to July 13 (top)

Phlogiotis helvelloides
Phlogiotis helvelloides

Clitocybe nuda
Clitocybe nuda

Wednesday, March 2: After contacting our friend Hugh Smith about his recent fungal finds in the Plumas NF, we decided to check some of our spots on Caribou Road, which crosses Highway 70 in the Plumas NF. We were pretty weary of waiting for the snow to melt here and the temperatures to rise above 50 degrees.

In short, it was mostly sunny and we did find a few different species, almost all at the last campground just before you go over the bridge. There were several of some species, but most were few in numbers.

I am trying to get spore prints in an attempt to identify most of them.

These mushrooms came in various colors, including violet, pink, and orange, as well as different shades of brown plus one white one.

It looked like the find included an Apricot Jelly Mushroom (Phlogiotis helvelloides), Blewits (Clitocybe nuda), Laccaria laccata, Helvella lacunosa, Pluteus cervinus, Melanoleuca sp,  Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), and what looked like a Hygrophorus russula (a new one for me), except the gills didn't feel very waxy.

Anyway, you can see all of what we found at /caribou/. It is just the list of pictures, which you can see by clicking on the file name.

The images are best viewed with the browser set for full screen, if you only have an 800-pixel screen setting, like I do.

It's an early start for us!

Saturday -  Sunday, March 6 - 7: This weekend, following some very generous information given to us by my new friend Mike Thomas, we went searching for morels in wood chips in some new housing tracts, down the mountains and closer to his area.

In less than 2 hours, we found 4½ lbs.

It seemed like the age of the chips made quite a difference, as the older, dried-up chips seemed to yield little or nothing, as well as the freshly-laid ones, but those homes that were almost finished or up for sale for the first time, seemed to have to most around them.

The morels looked like more than one specie, based mainly on the shape of the ridges. However, I didn't try to ID these, just dry them for the table.

We briefly checked a few spots at various elevations on the way home, but didn't see any mushrooms this time.

We usually don't even start looking around here at 3600 ft, until towards the end of March.

But that's coming up pretty soon!

Gyromitra montana
March 27 find of Gyromitra gigas

April 10 find, #2 spot

Sunday, March 27: Just went outside to check out our local Snow Mushroom (Gyromitra montana A.K.A.  G. gigas) patch, and actually found 6 of them. The first one, found by Cecelia of course, was the big one in the staged picture to the right. It is one of my favorite edibles.

The Morels should be appearing soon!

Sunday, April 10: Today we decided to search for Morels at 4400 ft. in a last-year's logging operation. We didn't find any morels but found a few what I now know were Clitocybe glacialis along the edge of a snow patch, and one large unidentified Tricholoma.

We then went to another area that had been logged recently but still no morels.  However, as we were returning to the car, Cecelia spotted some Gyromitra montana (now gigas) on the other side of the road.

On closer investigation, we saw some of the biggest and most numerous Snow Mushrooms we had ever seen, along with  a few unidentified tan cup mushrooms.

After picking the larger Gyromitras, we went to another spot where I had found them last year.

Jackpot!  This was an even larger grouping then the first spot.

This was a good sight and good sign.

Monday, April 11: Went out today looking for more Snow Mushrooms..

Didn't find any Snow Mushrooms but found two small patches of the Black Morel, Morchella elata, my first for the season.

These were found right next to a storage shed in the bare dirt close to where I had found them before.  I found a total of 6.

Searching around the property, I did find one large brown cup fungus, but no more morels. On the way home, we started seeing lots of different species of small mushrooms, including a small patch of the Gyromitra esculenta.

Maybe the season has begun, at least at 3700 ft.

Sunday, April 17 and Monday, May 2: A few weeks ago we went south, and on the first Sunday, April 17, we went foraging a few miles north of Arroyo Grande where we were staying, to see what might have appeared after all the recent rains.

We saw lots of the Bleeding Agaricus (probably the Agaricus fuscofribrillosus - some old, some new) which we usually only collect in February, some Blewits, lots of Shaggy Parasols (Lepiota rachodes), and 3 tiny stalked puffballs, probably one of the Tulostoma brumale group, a new one for me.  I later cooked up all of the Agaricus and Lepiotas together and added them to soups that I had later.  Very tasty addition.

Today (May 2) I went to an area around 4400 ft. to see if any of the Snow Mushrooms (Gyromitra montana) were still about, and we found lots of them almost everywhere, especially closer to the snow.  We also found many of the Discina perlata in large patches (a-patch.jpg). Some were bunched up so tightly that they almost looked like G. montana (a-cluster.jpg).

One of the Snow mushrooms was about 4 inches in diameter (almost ½ pound), and one of the Discina was almost as large as my hand (large-one.jpg).  I left a few of the Gyromitra I picked, behind for one friend to try, and what I brought back home weighed in at 4 pounds.

We saw lots of different species of Brown Mushrooms, plus more of the Clitocybe glacialis, in various stages of development.

Some large mounds we looked under contained wormy thawed-out mushrooms, probably some kind of Hygrophorus.

I hope the abundance of the Discina and Gyromitra signifies that a good morel season is just around the corner.

Addendum to Monday, May 2:  I went out shortly after I got home from picking snow mushrooms to pick a morel that was seen under an apple tree. I then decided to check another Snow Mushroom patch, and near the patch, found about a half dozen softball-sized Calvatia sculpta puffballs.

I then thought I would check some places where I usually find morels first.

I not only found about a dozen black morels, but more Snow Mushrooms, 2 large delicious amber-staining Agaricus albolutescens, and lots of what I believe were some very large Melanoleuca evenosa.

I think the mushroom season has started, at 4400 ft. at least.

Tuesday, May 3: Later today I went up to an area at about 5000 ft., where I had found so many morels last year. I spotted one very soon after I left the car, and went back to get my smaller basket. In less than 15 minutes, I filled the basket with them, some large, some not. Most were dark black and therefore easy to spot.  Some were found under small piles of pine needles. I searched the area farther from the car, and decided to move the car.

I then went to another area very close by, where I had also had found many last year, this time bringing my large basket.

Most of the ones I did find there, seemed to be very close to where I parked the car, and one of those was almost 3" in diameter!  The first, large, morel was right after I entered the second area, and was found along the side of the dirt road.  Where I finally parked the car I found about 6 right next to it.  When I returned to the car after walking around for over an hour, I found another almost right under the car.

It seemed the areas further from the car yielded only a few morel patches.

However, the total for the afternoon walk was over 4 lbs. Not too bad for being all by myself.

While walking around the forest, I also saw many Sarcosphaera crassa, various species of white and brown mushrooms, and even found a small patch of Gyromitra montana to bring back.

The season has definitely started!

Friday, May 6: Today, I decided to take Cecelia along with me, to see if the extra eyes would help find the morels I missed a few days ago.

We found only a few after walking for over an hour, but on the way back towards home, I checked my tiny morel spot in a park and found 3 more.

I then stopped at a friend's house to see the mushrooms she said she had just seen recently in her back yard.

Most of what we found, I tentatively identified as LBMs (Little Brown Mushrooms), but she also showed me a very old Gyromitra gigas/montana.

As we continued in her yard, I glanced down and excitedly told her to see if she could see what I just noticed. It took a while for her to respond, and she didn't know what it was. I told her that it was a very large Black Morel, and it was right next to a dead Fir tree.

She said, "Where there is one, there should be more. Right?" I told her that I believed so, and as we continued toward the lake, we started seeing them scattered almost everywhere, some within a few feet of another.

We were delighted, to say the least, and I picked as many as I could for her and placed them in my up-turned tee-shirt basket.

The total that we brought back to the house was about 1½ lbs. The first was the largest and freshest.

She now knows what she might find next spring.

Continuing towards home, I stopped along the highway to check out a couple-of-years-old logging area, and we immediately found 5 very close to the truck. We walked for a few minutes around the area, but found only one more. I do plan to return later.

Saturday, May 7: Based on a reply from Darren Murphey, we decided to change our attention from looking for disturbed area morels, to concentrating on looking for natural morels.

Today we spent more time looking in the areas where we usually find them earlier in the season, i.e.,  under power lines and near the older fire rings.

The first stop was at the intersection of a power line road and some older fire rings, near Lake Almanor.  We soon filled the small basket with light brown morels and Snow Mushrooms, about 50-50.

The next few spots produced only a few of each, mostly probably because the areas had all been recently disturbed.  The lighter-colored morels we did find were very hard to see. 

One of the areas we checked later was on old burn site off a road that leads away from the Lake.  There, we found several small, but fresh, light brown morels in the small dirt roads leading into the burn site, and several large Snow Mushrooms, but nothing in the actual burned areas or in the deeper-rutted, larger roads.  This should be a pretty good morel site in a
few weeks.

The last place was a stop at the Canyon Dam Store to talk to the owner.  He usually spots mushrooms near the store for me.

He told us that he had just seen a large patch of morels in some ground cover across the street.  We checked it out and found several black, but thin-fleshed, morels all around a house there, all in what I was told was called "Pine Manzanita".  He also showed us a couple under an apple tree near the store.

After leaving the store, we checked another power line road just past the store, and found 6 black morels.

Total yield for the 4 hours was 3 lbs. Snow Mushrooms and 2 lbs. morels.

Another pleasing result of all the recent spring rain, is the abundance of the Fairy Ring Mushroom in town, the Marasmius oreades.

After noticing a small patch of them growing in my front yard, I went inside, got a shopping bag, went back out and proceeded down the street, hoping to find more of these delectable mushrooms.

I was pleasantly surprised, not only at the numbers of fairy rings in town, but that they were almost filled with crowded patches of them.  I grabbed as many caps as I could as I continued on my journey.  They were in the school yard, school playing fields, in many front lawns, and even between the sidewalk and the street.

The problem with crowded patches however, is that the mushrooms stay pretty small and are difficult to remove without pulling out a lot of stems and grass.

But I managed, bringing back a modest 1 ½ lbs of just caps.

It sure is a fun time of year!

Thursday, May 11: Today we took a friend out on her first morel foray.  We showed her one of our favorite spots, where the walking is easy and we usually find morels. We did.

As soon as we got out of the car, we saw several light-brown ones along the side of the dirt road.  As we went further into the forest, we found several more, all fairly close to our cars.

But as we left the close proximity of the cars, we seemed to find less and less.

We did see lots of other species, including the Sarcosphaera crassa (Pink Crown), and the pretty Snow bank Orange Peel Fungus, (Caloscypha fulgens).

We also found a large cache of Snow Mushrooms (Gyromitra montana), still firm enough to pick.

In the short time we were all hunting together, we each found about a half-pound of morels, some young and fresh, and a few that were pretty mature, but still good enough for the drier.  Our friend was very happy, as were we.

Cecelia and I then proceeded down the road to check some of our other spots close by, and we were pleasantly surprised to find some fresh morels, in some cases, large patches of them.

When I got home I found a large, firm, Gyromitra montana placed on the porch, and soon after got a phone call to tell me that another friend had found several near where we had just been.

I went back to that spot and collected several large ones, and at another spot we had missed earlier, found several more morels, plus a large specimen of the sweet-tasting, Amber Staining Agaricus (Agaricus albolutescens).

Our total for the day was about 5 lbs morels and about 2 lbs. Gyromitra montana.

Another fun day. 

The season continues!

Friday, May 13: We took off today towards higher elevations to quickly scout for morels, so I would have better foraging places for my guest(s) arriving next week.

The first spot seemed too high (around 5500ft.) as we only saw a small patch of tiny Snow Mushrooms in an old logging operation, with lots of snow, so we went a bit lower in elevation. Before we stopped the car, Cecelia spotted a large patch of large Snow Mushrooms near the side of the road, in another older logging operation, so we parked, picked these, and scouted the area.

We didn't see anything for the first part of our journey, until Cecelia found a large black morel in an undisturbed area.  We kept searching, found a few more large ones outside the disturbed areas, and went back towards the car. There we went to the other side of the road, and started finding smaller ones in the fire rings and tire tracks.

Once we got our eyes calibrated to the lighter-colored morels, we found enough medium-sized ones to fill our small basket, in about 15 minutes. We were pressed for time, so we left, but left pleased with our finds.

Different colors

One of the largest natural morels that Cecelia found was in the most reddish color I have seen before, and compared the green-tinged ones we also found, seemed even redder..

The total for the short time we were there was 2 lbs. of morels and about the same for the Snow Mushrooms.

I think this will be a good spot to bring my visitor(s) next week.

Because we also found some cut stems at this elevation, it could be that we might have found morels at the higher elevation had we looked more carefully and farther from the road.

The green-tinged ones we found were nothing compared to the 5th in a series of morel pictures sent to me by Hugh Smith, which can be seen on his own website,

Sunday, May 15: Today it rained a bit, but we anyway decided to go up to 4400 ft to see if any Spring King Boletes were out yet.

Didn't see any Boletes nor productive mounds, but we did find 2 large morels, one on the side of the road and the other in some bushes in a clearing. In this area I rarely find morels, so it was a pleasant surprise.

We then checked some property at the same elevation, where we had previously been given permission to hunt for mushrooms, and immediately found several patches of morels and Verpa conicas. Both were found in a grassy area.

With them both being placed in the same small basket, it was full by the time we left.

The Verpas I cooked up as soon as I got home and thought they had both a nice flavor and texture.  After they were cooked, they yielded almost a full cup of Verpas.

The nicest thing about them was the lack of visitors, where many of the morels already had tiny worms and even two earwigs.

I will continue collecting the Verpas, probably each year at this same place, as I had found both morels and verpas in the exact same spots last year.

Monday and Tuesday, May 16 and 17: For the last two days, I and/or Cecelia have returned to some of our old spots again, just to find out that we were probably several days too late.

The stop on Monday was at a place at 4400 ft. where I had just picked fairly good last Thursday, and this time I found over 4lbs by myself!  Most were large and mature, but still good enough for the drier.

Today, we both went out, but to an area closer to 5100ft., and before trying our old spot, went on the other side of the road to see what we might find there.


They were almost everywhere, large, and easy to spot because they were all so large and dark colored. In less than an hour, we filled my large basket, so we then returned to the car to dump the basket and decide what to do next.

We agreed, as time was getting pretty short, to just quickly check our old spot on the other side of the road, knowing pretty much what to expect, and we soon filled both our baskets.

Apparently, I was fooled into thinking that the season was going to be later in the year because of the late snows and rain, and because I had seen so very few morels at a similar spot near by.  I know now that the area had previously been picked pretty clean, but these last two areas seemed untouched. We also found a few Gyromitra montana and Agaricus albolutescens.

When we got home, we found we had picked over 7 lbs at the first place, and 11 lbs at the second!  This is the most morels I have ever picked in one day. Some were almost 4" in diameter, but as it goes, size is usually a result of age. Some were too crumbly even for the drier, and some had tiny worms.  I tried to pick only the best for the driers, but soon ran out of trays. The freshest batch was from the first spot, which also had the most morels per acre, and most were good enough to want to return very soon. However, tomorrow I want to take my morel-hunting guest to an even higher elevation and look for even fresher ones.

Next year, we plan to check that side of the road fairly early in the season, like right after most of the snow has melted.

Another fun day.

Saturday, May 21: For the last few weeks, I have been pretty busy taking friends out on forays.  It started with my doctor, then a friend who lives near Auburn, then a friend from Concow, and today some friends from Magalia.

In all the forays, we found lots of morels, the last batch being found at the higher elevations, where there was still snow patches around.  For the last spot, my GPS said 5200 ft., but I think it was a bit higher than that.

At some of the lower elevations, the morels were larger physically and in numbers, but more mature. Today at the highest elevation they were nice and fresh, medium sized, but in fewer numbers.  I would expect them to be larger and in higher numbers in a couple of days, now that the sun has come out.

Today we also found a batch of Gastroid Pholiotas (, as well as the morels and a few Gyromitra gigas.  A few of the tasty Agaricus albolutescens were found too.  As usual, the Sarcosphaera crassa were abundant wherever we found the morels.

I am a bit tired tonight from all the walking we did today, but very happy with the results.

Friday, May 27: This morning, Cecelia and I decided to get an early start to go out looking for mushrooms, as it has been getting warmer everyday.

We first stopped at one of our Spring King spots at 4400ft. found a few morels, but saw no signs yet of the boletes there.

We then went back to our morel spot at 5200ft. and spent the rest of the day zigzagging through the forest.  This is where the GPS really came in handy.

We first found some morels, then some Snow Mushrooms, some Agaricus albolutescens, and finally, a few Spring Kings, the Boletus pinophilus (found by Cecelia, of course), a bit early for them at that altitude.

By the size and freshness of some of the morels, it looks like the morel season still continues, as well as just begun for the Spring Kings.

We also saw lots of both the yellow and pink Coral Mushrooms, and a few of the pink-tinged Hygrophorus.

\We continued to zig, zag, and pick, until we got exhausted.  Lots of walking for the prize.  Beautiful day and a nice walk in the woods though.

On the way home, we decided to drive slowly up and down a narrow dirt road, and we found about a half-dozen more Morels growing in the cut banks of the road.

In total, we got 4lbs morels, 2lbs Agaricus albolutescens,1lb of the Spring Kings,  and ½lb of the Snow mushrooms.

Tired but happy.

We will have to recheck our Spring King spots at 4400ft more carefully now.

Saturday, May 28: Encouraged by our success yesterday in finding some Spring Kings at 5200 ft, I went and rechecked a few of my 4400ft Spring King spots and found 4 of them. I picked two and left the other two to see how fast they grow overnight.

I also saw a few yellow Amanitas, and what looked like an all-white Boletus, hopefully a Boletus barrowsii.

I will be checking it regularly to see what it becomes. The cap was only about 1" in diameter, but the base was almost 2", and it was very firm to -the touch.

This spreads out my areas to hunt Spring Kings right now to include 4400 ft to 5200 ft.

It seems way too early for them to be appearing up here at either elevation. It might also mean that I could be picking both morels AND Spring Kings on the same day, for a longer period of time.

I won't complain.

Thursday, June 2: For most of the week, I have been rechecking my Spring King bolete spots.

On Saturday, May 28, I had found four at 4400 ft, leaving two behind to see how big they would grow overnight.

On Sunday, I returned, and they had almost doubled in size from 1½": to almost 3", plus I found a few more nearby. I picked one of those I had found Saturday, and left one to see it's growth after 2 days.

The next day, on Monday, I went back, and the one I left had only grown about ½" more in diameter, so I picked it, plus a few more that were pretty near. I also checked some other spots at 4400 ft., and in one, found one that had been discovered by some gnawing creatures, but they had left enough to be worth picking.

From Wednesday through today, I kept checking most of my King Bolete spots, but only one keeps yielding any King Boletes.  On Wednesday, I also found a huge boletus-looking mushroom, that was very heavy and firm, but I couldn't seem to find a pore surface nor a defined stem until I cut into it. I am planning on taking it to the Spring Fungi Class for Dennis Desjardin and Fred Stevens to look at. Fred agrees with me that it looks like an aborted King Bolete, which may be a result of it's living on a power line road (herbicides?).

Here are the pictures I took, after putting it back together with toothpicks:

On Thursday, I went to a higher elevation, probably 5400 ft., and only found a single, but large and fresh,  morel, plus a few Gastroid Pholiotas.

Today, at 4400 ft., I picked one King Bolete that I had left behind for growing, and picked 2 more for dinner. I also found one small, dried-up morel

The season here for the Kings is starting slowly, but may pick up as the surface warms up and dries out more.

Saturday, June 4: Today I took my friend from Magalia, along with his son, on a Spring King Bolete (Boletus pinophilus) hunting expedition.

Our first stop was at 4400 ft., where I had left one to see how much more it would grow, and to have at least one to show him.  I hadn't been back to check it for two days, so I was worried it might be too mature and wormy.

It hadn't grown nearly as much as I had thought, so it was still very firm, wormless, and perfect for picking.  We continued searching around the area and found about a dozen more.

The next stop was also at 4400 ft.  We only found a few there, but I also found one Boletus regius, the Red-Capped Butter Bolete.

The last stop was at 5200 ft., and we parked the car in order to walk along the road looking for boletes and to search an area where I had found so many puffballs in the past.  We soon found a very large patch of medium-sized Calvatia sculpta, enough to fill both our baskets and more.  My friend was delighted, as was I.

After transferring the puffballs to the car, we started looking for boletes along the side of the road. Just a few feet from the car, we found a nice bunch of them, some partially consumed by small-toothed creatures.

I was pressed for time, so we walked in the forest circling towards the car, to see what we might find there.  We didn't find any more boletes, but did find about 15 medium-sized, fresh morels.  My friend also found one, intriguing, Cortinarius magnivelatus, with it's persistent veil.

None of us were disappointed by our finds for the day.

I think I will return very soon.

Cortinarius magnivelatus
Cortinarius magnivelatus

Agaricus albolutescens
Agaricus albolutescens
(Amber Staining Agaricus)

Monday , June 6: We had a brief visit with the Spring Fungi of the Sierra Nevada Class at Yuba Pass and dropped off the large deformed bolete that I had found.  I heard the term Sterile Mushroom more than once.

It gave us a chance to see lot of people we hadn't seen for over a year, e.g., Dr. Dennis Desjardin, Fred Stevens, Mike Wood, Darren Murphey, Earl Hazleton, Matthew Kierle, and Peter Werner, are some that come to mind. We had planned to go on the first foray with the class, but it was way too cold for our attire, and we were told there was still lots of snow at the first site and that they hadn't found much in their earlier scouting expeditions. We would have liked to have stayed longer to visit, but left (shivering) just as the class went to the foray.

Tuesday, June 7: Today we went to check some of our Spring King spots again, and this time we found almost 8 lbs (most at 4400 ft.) total, plus 24 morels, more Cortinarius magnivelatus, one Agaricus albolutescens, a few Boletus regius, and lots of Calvatia sculpta, one being almost soccer ball sized.

While returning towards the car from our spot at 5100 ft., we took a shortcut back and met up with Loraine Berry, who I had talked to previously about possibly going to that same area  She and her husband Bob, along with a friend, had arrived shortly after we did, but had parked away from our car.  We were returning the same time as she and just happened to cross paths.

She had most of her mushrooms out for display, which included a Boletus pinophilus, Ramaria rasilispora, assorted puffballs, Agaricus albolutescens, and a Black morel, among others.  We had gone mainly for the morels and B. pinophilus.

The B. pinophilus we found at that elevation were pretty small, so we plan to wait 3-4 days before returning again. The morels we found there were few and far between, but were still fresh.  All the morels seemed to be found NOT in the disturbed areas. Naturals?

Monday, June 14: On Monday, Cecelia and I returned to our favorite Spring King spot at about 5000 ft.  The basket soon got pretty heavy with a few morels and the rest being Spring Kings, so I took it back to the car to transfer the contents to a large shopping bag, and to eat lunch.

While we were eating lunch, I searched under the trees close to the car, and found about 6 more pretty large ones.

Because it seemed like we were already close to our limit for the day, we left for home, taking a new route back and saw our first good look at a small golden-colored bear as it ran across the road.

Most of the larger ones we had collected from the 5000-ft. spot had a few worms, but one large one, about 7" across, was a firm as a turnip and worm-free.  Most all of those 3 - 4 " in diameter were both firm and worm-free.

At home, the shopping bag weighed in at 13 lbs.

Later that day, I took the "clippings" to an area about 4400 ft, in order to bury them, in the hopes that I might help "propagate the species".  As soon as I got out of the car, I found 2 ½ medium-sized ones (one chomped stump), and after walking around the area for a bit, found one large, perfectly formed mound, with no evidence of infestation, under which was a beautiful, large Spring King Bolete.

I decided then that the mosquitoes were much too prevalent and aggressive to want to stay much longer, so I left for home.

All of those found at this second spot were firm and almost completely worm-free.

Not a bad day.

Friday, June 18: Friday was a rainy day in Greenville, but I decided to take my chances going up to an area around 5000 ft.

It had stopped raining by the time I got there, so I rechecked an area that was recommended to me for finding Spring Kings by my friend in Magalia, and with his latest directions, I found the spot he described.

Most of the ones I found were already chomped off probably by deer, with little left but small bits of chard, but I did find enough almost whole ones to overfill my smaller basket.  There were lots of Yellow Amanitas all over the place, many chomped off by critters. I also had found one large, nibbled upon Red Capped Butter Boletus on the side of the road on the way to the spot.

I then proceeded to a slightly higher elevation to a fairly recent logging operation, but only found one solitary morel. I decided to go back to my favorite 5000 ft. spot and walked a narrow road just made by the Forest Service, along which we had found a few Spring Kings last week.

I soon filled my larger basket with boletes, and as I was returning back towards the car, I spotted what I thought was a skull of a small bear, so I placed that on top of my basketful of boletes.  I only picked a few more boletes, and when I got closer to the car, I heard what sounded like 3 loud yells of a bear. Paranoia set in almost immediately, and I almost ran towards the car, with my finger close to the car key panic button. so I could push that if I saw the bear approaching.  

I imagined the bear yelling because I had stolen its mate's remains.

Even in my panic rush, I stopped and picked a few more boletes, but only when I was within site of the car.

I never saw a bear, but when I got home, I looked at the skull more closely, and I think it is a Mountain Lion skull instead.

When I got home, after trying to clean off the boletes that were now sticky with layers of dirt that I couldn't remove at the site, I decided to never pick the larger King Boletes in the rain unless they were spotless. There were only a few worms inside some, but all but the smaller boletes were saturated with water and VERY difficult to clean. I set the smaller ones aside for cooking later, and after scrubbing the rest, put them in the dehydrator.

I will just have to wait until after we have had more sunshine, I think.

Wednesday, July 7: This Sunday, we had found one solitary Boletus pinophilus at 5700 ft. while walking on the road near Drakesbad. We also saw one yellow Amanita (probably an A. aprica) and a mushroom that looked like a Tawny Grisette.

On the following Monday, we went to a 5000 ft. spot to check for Boletus appendiculatus (correction, the B. abieticola), which we usually find there in July.

Driving along the road, we spotted 4 mounds, under each of which were medium-sized, firm boletes, but these were NOT B. appendiculatus (correction, the B. abieticola), but rather late season B. pinophilus.

We were short for time, so on Tuesday, we went back and found several more, ranging in size from 10 inches to less than 2 inches in diameter.  We were very  surprised, as we had found what we thought were the last of the Spring Kings there a few weeks ago.

We didn't find and B. appendiculatus (correction, the B. abieticola) this time either, but did find one firm B. regius, the red-capped Butter Bolete.  We also saw lots of fresh Yellow Coral Mushrooms and a patch of the interesting looking Cortinarius magnivelatus.

We plan to keep going back every few days and check out the surrounding area more thoroughly.

Later the same day, a friend brought over an Agaricus she wanted me to ID, and as far as I can tell from the Demystified key, it was an A. bisporus, the first I have ever seen grown in the wild.

It had a white cap with grey to black streaks radiating from the center of the cap, stained reddish when rubbed, had no appreciable odor, had a slightly overhanging margin, and looked mostly 2-spored under the microscope.  She said it was found in the grass near a maple tree, and that it  had pinkish gills when she first picked it 

The gills were dark brown by the time she gave it to me, and most of the spores had been dispersed.

I plan to recheck the area where she found it, just to see what it looks like in different stages.

Friday, July 10: Today I went back to my B. appendiculatus (correction, the B. abieticola) spot at 5000ft. and found about a half-dozen very firm B. regius.  Maybe in a few more days, the appendiculatus will start appearing.

Monday, July 13: This Monday, a very warm day, we went up to a campground off SR36 to see if we could find any Boletus appendiculatus again.

We found several cut yellow stumps, one button, and one large one that was too wormy for saving.  I think we were a little too late this year, and it is now getting pretty hot (90F) for that elevation, which was around 5000 ft.

We also saw several pale yellow Amanitas and one very large Tricholoma imbricatum (I believe). It had white spores around it, was very firm, smelled like cucumbers, and was tan capped.  When I got home, the spore size seemed to fit.

That was it for the day.

Now to keep our eyes out for the White Chanterelles, which should start appearing in about a month, at 4400 ft.

But I don't think we will be out and about looking for much until then.

Rehydrating Dried Morels (top)

The following was a MSSF dialog concerning the best way to rehydrate dried morels:

From: Kyle Dawson
Subject: dried morels

I'm looking for some advice on rehydrating morels. I was under the impression that the best way to rehydrate them was to soak them in cold water for 3-4 hours, changing the water every hour to clean out the dirt. My house mate has taken the dried mushrooms and rehydrated them for 10-15 minutes in boiling water. Is there any reason why one way should be better than the other? What is considered the best way to rehydrate them?


This was the response from David Rust:

Subject: RE: dried morels


Boiling water is too hot. This method actually cooks the mushroom as it re-hydrates, and the flavor is lost into the water.

Cold water would help get rid of the dirt, but why 3  hours and why change the water three times? Clean them better before you dry them, although morels have more crevices and tend to be ash-splashed and gritty if picked in a burn area.

Here are some general recommendations from Louise Freedman's excellent cookbook, which can be found on the MSSF website  (the link was my addition, HAB):

Using Dried Mushrooms: In using dried mushrooms, first rinse them quickly under the faucet and then place them in a bowl. Pour enough hot water over them to cover and soak for the recommended period of time for each type of mushroom. Soaking time will vary because of the different size, thickness, and shape of each variety. As a rule, this should take at least 15 to 20  minutes. Remove the mushrooms and squeeze them dry.

Save the soaking liquid for use in your recipe since much mushroom flavor will have been released while rehydrating. Decant the soaking liquid slowly to avoid adding sediment that has settled to the bottom of the vessel.

Cooking with Dried Morels: The intensity and character of the morel flavor is not lost in drying. We have used them after three years of storage and found them to be just as aromatic, if not more so, as when fresh.

Reconstitute them in hot water for 5 minutes or simmer them in cream until soft, about 15 minutes, not allowing the cream to boil. Always add the rehydrating liquid to the dish for which your morels are intended. A great deal of the flavor remains in the liquid.

When incorporating dried morels in a recipe calling for fresh specimens, use 3 ounces as the equivalent of 1 pound of mushrooms. Once reconstituted, they should be equal in volume.


And this response from David Campbell:

Subject: RE: dried morels

Kyle, et al,

Aside from the basic task of restoring succulence to the dried morels, there are two common pitfalls that need to be dealt with in reconstituting morels.

First, you don't want to lose flavor components to the liquid, especially if you have no use for the liquid in your dish. Secondly, the removal of grit (dirt, charcoal fines, fool's gold) from the morels is essential for an enjoyable culinary experience. Morels from burn zones always have charcoal fines, and they have more serious contaminants if they have been subject to hard rain when growing in exposed dirt and get mud splashed. It is best to only pick in areas with a healthy duff layer to avoid the splashed morels, some of which will never come clean. I've taken to tipping the top halves of some soiled morels, when they are otherwise just too beautiful to leave behind. The bottom rim of the cap gets the most contaminants, and is the most difficult (impossible) to clean.

I have developed a morel dehydration technique that I find satisfactory, if perhaps a little labor intensive, some would say anal retentive, but they just don't understand...

I use two vessels. After a quick preliminary rinse, I cover the morels in a vessel with just enough water to give them a bath, agitate them gently, then pull them out of the bath with my hands or a slotted spoon and drop them into the other vessel. I then pour the liquid out of the first vessel over the morels in the other vessel, leaving the bottom liquid behind, decanting sediment from the bottom. Using the same liquid repeatedly, I repeat this process as many times as necessary until no more grit precipates. The eyes can't really tell if it's grit, you use your finger on the residue to verify. If it's soft, it ain't grit. You can feel the grit on your finger almost as well as you can feel it on your teeth. Sometimes it takes many repetitions to accomplish the deed. I have never had a grit complaint when properly processing morels in this manner.

Now you have morels in a minimum of excess water, which is already quite dark, laden with morel flavor. The morels have absorbed much of the bathing water by now. I put them in a pan on a low burner and simmer until the remaining moisture has almost absorbed or evaporated, then add butter and proceed to gently cook them as long as I see fit, depending on the dish I'm making. I now have no excess soaking water to put in the dish that doesn't need it, or into the refrigerator to grow mold for a couple weeks before being discarded. And all the flavors the morels possessed from the get go is still in the pan. The morels are plump and juicy, simulating fresh mushrooms quite nicely. The idea of wringing or squeezing reconstituted mushrooms has always seemed counter-productive to me. I remember Larry Stickney complaining once of "all the flavor of cardboard" many years ago.

What a terrible thing to have to say about a reconstituted morel!


Recipe for Heavenly Morel Tarts (top)

We were sent this recipe this spring, served it some friends, and we all liked it very much:

Heavenly Morel Tarts
Source: Midwest Living
Makes about 16 appetizers.
Prep: 30 minutes. Bake: 20 minutes


1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 
½-cup butter or margarine
1½ cups all-purpose flour 
8 ounces fresh morel, button, or other mushrooms (except enoki)
¾-cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
¼-cup dairy sour cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼-teaspoon salt
1/8-teaspoon dried orange peel (optional)
1/8-teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
1/8-teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 beaten egg


  1. For pastry, in a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and the ½-cup butter or margarine with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the 1½ cups flour and beat at low speed until combined, forming stiff dough (or combine cream cheese and the ½-cup butter or margarine in a food processor bowl until smooth. Add the 1½ cups flour and process until a stiff dough forms.) Cover; chill for at least 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, clean morel mushrooms. Drain thoroughly; pat dry with paper towels. Chop the morel, button, or other mushrooms (you should have 3 cups).
  3. For filling, in a large skillet, cook onion in the 3 tablespoons butter or margarine until tender. Add mushrooms; cook and stir over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until liquid is nearly evaporated. Remove from heat. 
  4. In a bowl, stir together sour cream, the 2 tablespoons flour, the salt, orange peel (if you like), marjoram, and rosemary until combined. Stir into mushroom mixture.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch circles. Using small cutters, make cutouts in the centers of half of the rounds or cut a slit in half of the rounds to let the steam escape during baking.
  6. Place circles without cutouts on an un-greased baking sheet. Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each. Moisten edges of filled pastry with water; add the remaining circles with cutouts or slits. Crimp edges together with a fork. Brush tops with beaten egg.
  7. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. 

Serve warm. Makes about 16 appetizers.

Featured Mushroom, the Cortinarius magnivelatus (top)

This year, we noticed lots of the Cortinarius magnivelatus with its beautiful, persistent veil.  It is a pleasure to find, but sometimes disappointing when you expect to find something else under the mound.

For a direct link for this mushroom on the Mykoweb site, complete with pictures, go to: