Twenty-fifth Issue, Fall, 2009
Published about twice a year from Greenville, California
by Herman Brown 

Click on any picture to see a larger image


This year was pretty slim for finding any mushrooms. and except for a few exceptions, not very interesting. However, I was sent several packages of fresh mushrooms during the year by  Hugh Smith, which more then made up for our lack of finding mushrooms here. 

Findings, August 27  -  November 25 (top)

August 24: I had been throwing mature puffballs on our lawn for years, and this is the first time I have seen any distinctive results, especially as late as August!

I assume the ones pictured are Calvatia sculpta, the largest being about 1/2-inch across. 

If they continue to mature, I may try thinning them.

Beautiful even when young!

Tuesday, August  27th: For the last few weeks I have been successful finding white chanterelles once a week at 4500 ft. Last weekend I took Beth and Steve Wattenberg out with me so they could see the habitat for the chanterelles, and we found about a dozen in most of our "spots". The habitat, when it is this dry, has usually been under the ground under ponderosa pine, and in somewhat packed soil. I think that is how they retain what little moisture they can find.

Yesterday, Cecelia and I went out and found a few more, enough for a chicken and chanterelle dish she plans to prepare for us tonight.

I actually found one that was much larger than the rest that I had been finding, so I think those still under the ground will continue to mature, even with the lack of moisture.

The somewhat cooler weather has helped, I assume.

None were showing above ground yet and will probably stay that way unless we get some rain.

If we do, I suspect they will be almost everywhere in the area.

We also found one small, dried Neolentinus ponderosa and one reddish rhizopogon, probably a young R. ochraceorubens.

Sunday, August 29: Today, Loraine Barry came over and I took her to some of my white chanterelle spots so she could see where they seem to grow when it has been so dry, places where had just picked a few a couple of days ago.

We only checked a few of the spots, as we were running out of time, but we found 3 in the first spot, and 3 in the second, all buried under small mounds in packed soil.

Later she said, "If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it."

Update: For my puffball crop, it looks like several batches of puffballs have popped up (one new one at the right), all in small bare areas around the back lawn.

However, they now appear NOT to be the Calvatia sculpta, but I won't be able to be sure what they are for a probably a week or so.

Later, they seemed to be more like the Lycoperdon perlata, the Gemmed Puffball.

Wednesday, September 2: I went to two of the 4500 ft. spots Loraine and I had had some recent luck finding white chanterelles, and I again found a nice batch of them. They seem to be getting bigger faster now.

Here are some pictures, the first one is in situ with the dirt removed from the top, the second one as brought home, and the third one is all scrubbed clean under running water and then dried with a towel.

It is because of their extremely dense flesh (at this time of year) that allows them to be rinsed with impunity.

Monday, October 5th: It almost rained here at 3600 ft. (Greenville) but did snow at 5100 ft. (Clear Creek).

Nothing other than that to report. except the finding of one white chanterelle on Saturday, at 4400ft., probably the last unless we get some moisture.

We will try to make it to the upcoming Yuba Pass Foray.

Monday, October 19th: Encouraged by Sam Longmirer's find below, I went back up to some of my white chanterelle spots at 4500 ft. and found lots of old ones, left over from late summer but still edible. However, I only one small fresh one.

I also found one beautiful all-white shaggy amanita, with its shaggy, cottony cap and stem, probably an Amanita. silvicola, and a tan cort with purplish gills.

The recent moisture hasn't seemed to penetrate the soil very much yet.

Maybe in a week or two? It did rain a little more this morning.

From Sam: 

Surprisingly, in the lower Sierras today I found lots of old and a few new white chanterelles in addition to one lovely Amanita lanei and two gorgeous A. smithii (I think), as well as a preponderance of Strobilurus from old fir cones. 

Not much else, and no Boletus yet.

Sam Longmire

Wednesday, October 21: Went out again to the same white chanterelle spots at 4500ft  today, and
this time we brought back more new ones, about 50/50.


Also saw a clump of what looked like the Pholiota aerivinus group, some pink-tinged Hygrophorus pupurascens, some Strobilurus; another tan cortinarius with purple gills, and a few all-white amanitas with shaggy caps and stems, at least one with a very long stem.

I expect this weekend foray at Yuba Pass will be very productive.

Thursday, October 22: Again, encouraged by some of the recent mushroom reports I read, I went up towards Lake Almanor to check a few of our shaggy mane (Coprinus comatus) and oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) spots.

At the shaggy mane spot, the area where we were going to look was mostly covered by slash from a recent logging operation. However, along the perimeter of the slash piles, we found several, in all sizes and stages of development.

We left the smallest to pick tomorrow.

Next stop was closer to the Lake.

Right out of the car, we saw a large family of Pisolithus, some of the largest I have ever seen.

Large Pisolithus

On the way to the oyster mushroom spot, we stopped to check an area where I had found a few white chanterelles years ago.
Within 8 feet of that spot, we found several very large ones, none being fresh but all appeared to have grown since the rains.

If it hadn't been for some creature exposing one of them, I may not have spotted the group, as they all were a few inches below the surface and almost unrecognizable.

We continued along to the oyster logs and saw that they were just starting to appear. None were big enough to pick yet. A few Pholiotas were visible on one of the logs.

As we walked back, we found one Russula brevipes var acrior, with its green tinged gills, and a few tan cortinarius with tan gills.

Things are beginning to pick up!

Lyophylum decastes

Wednesday, October 28: Went to have lunch at the local 9-hole golf course today, and when I got back to my car, I found a nice box full of Lyophyllum decastes (Fried Chicken Mushroom) in the driver's seat, from the person who manages the course. Some were the largest I had ever seen.

Years ago I had identified them at his previous home, and he loved the taste of them.  He had showed me a few yesterday to make sure they were the right ones, so he shared some of his bounty with us.

Nice! One of our favorites. 

Wednesday, November 11: Just when I had decided it had been too cold at night for them, I went back up to my oyster mushroom spot at 4500 ft, and still found lots of fresh ones.

A pan-full

The Pleurotus ostreatus is a pretty hardy mushroom, as well as it is beautiful.

I thinly sliced them and am now cooking them in a large frying pan.

OOPS! Cecelia just got them before they all burned. 

Friday, November 13: In short, we finally found lots of mushrooms, but had to go to a little lower elevation. The complete story and pictures are at caribou-11-13-09.htm 

PS. I am still hoping for a local Queen Bolete or two, although it has been below freezing at night for some time now.

Thursday, November 25: As I was walking down to the Post Office to mail a letter, I passed a few agaricus between the main road and the sidewalk, where I had previously found what I thought at the time were Agaricus arvensis, the Horse Mushroom. 

I left these for later picking when I had the proper tools.

When I arrived at the post office, there was a good-sized package waiting there from Hugh Smith, which was full of several fresh (and dried) mushrooms from his recent pickings: some queen boletes (Boletus aereus), a butter bolete (Boletus regius), several chanterelles, two matsutakes, some Pigs ears (Gomphus clavatus), some beef steak fungus (Fistula hepatica), and some dried manzanita boletes (Leccinum manzanitae).

Oh, and one red rosette that looked like a type of varnished conk, a Ganoderma sp.

Quite a haul!

I went home, dropped off the package, and returned to the agaricus spot, bringing my basket and knife. When I got closer to them, I saw they were all mostly closed. 

I IDed them this time as Agaricus bitorquis, a very firm, short-stemmed, packed-earth loving, great tasting agaricus, one of my favorites to eat and to find. These usually partly develop below ground in packed earth, so a knife was needed to remove the mushrooms.

I have found them in similar places in Santa Barbara, returning to the same spots every year or so.
I was surprised at finding anything at all because it had been getting down to 19 F in the early morning hours.

But the A. bitorquis seemed to be surviving okay and tasted great after cooking them in butter.

Many of the rest of the mushrooms will be served at the upcoming Thanksgiving feast.