Seventh Issue, December, 2000
Published about twice a year from Greenville, California
by Herman Brown




It looks like the cold weather and early snow has ended this year’s mushroom crop, at least at this elevation. Even with the lack of rain we have been having all year, I still found a few fall mushrooms and was introduced to the following new species (for me):

  • Arcangeliella crassa or Gastroid Milk Cap
  • Ganoderma oregonense or Varnished Conk
  • Gastroboletus subalpinus or Gastroid King Bolete
  • Gastroboletus suilloides or Gastroid Bolete
  • Lactarius torminosus or Bearded Milk Cap
  • Pholiota aurivella or Golden Pholiota
  • Russula sororia or Comb Russula

The all-tan Arcangeliella crassa was found in a lawn in Quincy, and almost looked like a flattened, stalked puffball because of the completely enclosed gills. I didn’t know it was a milk cap until I cut it open to get a section to look at under the microscope.

The Ganoderma oregonense was found both near Yuba pass. It is one of the larger shelf mushrooms with a smooth pore surface, no apparent stem, and characterized by the shiny red upper surface similar to a varnished brick. It is closely related to the Ling Chi, which is collected for its supposedly medicinal properties. Some books even list it under that name. I ate some of the younger ones and dried the rest to make a medicinal tea. Dipped in egg, breadcrumbs, and then fried in butter, the cooked ones were worth eating again.

The Gastroboletus subalpinus was found closer to home. It has a pore surface similar to the boletes, but stays mostly underground with its pores entirely enclosed. The one I found had exposed pores. The pallid pore surface seemed too large for the size of the cap, extending well beyond the margin of the thin-fleshed cap. I have found one here before, but never was able to identify it. Dr. Dennis Desjardin identified this one for me.

The brown-capped Gastroboletus suilloides is similar to the G. subalpinus in that it too tends to grow underground, but the pores are more irregularly orientated, and the cap is more deformed.

The beautiful, peach-colored Lactarius torminosus was found in a neighbor’s yard under some birch trees and had a very peppery taste with non-staining white latex.

The striking Pholiota aurivella was found at several places growing from rotting conifers. Dr. Desjardin identified this one for me too. Its slimy golden cap decorated by darker scales, scaly stalk, and brown spores, which are usually evident along the stalk, characterizes this mushroom.

The Russula sororia was also found near home and is characterized by its dingy-brown cap, striate gill margin, peppery tasting gills, unpleasant odor, and flesh that breaks like chalk.

This fall, I also found a few White Chanterelles, Shaggy Manes, puffballs, and Fairy Ring Mushrooms (Marasmius oreades), but that was about it for the edible mushrooms. NO EDIBLE BOLETES AT ALL!

Finally, I was interviewed in October for the local newspaper in regards to my passion for finding wild mushrooms, and after the article was published, I was contacted by a few who would like to join me in some future foray. It will be nice to have more company with me out in the forest.

You can a see a copy of the article at: Wild About Mushrooms

Findings, September 2000 to November, 2000 (top)

Sunday, September 3: We have had a small bit of rain here for the last few days, and I had found a solitary, all-white Lepiota naucina (Woman on Horseback) in my daughter's grass on Saturday. Arora says the presence of this mushroom marks the beginning of the fall mushroom season, so I was encouraged a bit.

Sunday we took a walk in town, found a few patches of the Marasmius oreades (Fairy Ring Mushrooms) in a couple of the yards, and decided to continue our walk to the cemetery.

There, I was pleased to find a few more specimens: several orange latex Lactarius deliciosus, a few Tricholoma saponaceum (Soapy Tricholoma), 2 different types of puffballs, one earthball, probably a Scleroderma cepa, a few all-white Russula, a solitary dark grey-capped mushroom that had what looked like volval patch on the top, but I could not dig up the base of the stalk to verify the presence of a volva, and a dark-gray Russula (?) with slimy cap and brown center.

The puffballs in one group were about 1" diameter, all white with small, thin, fragile spines, with a small sterile base, what looked like a columella (internal stalk) going about halfway through the spore mass and separating the spore mass, unbranched capillitium, very thin peridium (skin), and very small, round spores. The spore mass in one was just turning yellow to olive-yellow.

The puffballs in the second group were a bit larger, had a grayish-tan, minutely fuzzy cap, a very short sterile base, branched capillitium, large pores that shaped like light bulbs, spore mass at the base that was starting to turn yellow, and with a thicker peridium than in the other puffballs.

I wasn’t able to ID any of these.

Saturday, September 22: Usually we would have had more rain by now, but we did get a few sprinkles yesterday.

Besides the small chance of success, I decided to check out a spot outside of town where I usually find large puffballs all during the year.

I found one about the size of a tennis ball, the same type I have found there before. Those I found before were about the size of softballs, but were usually stomped on or too mature for picking.

These are the ones that look like the description in Mushrooms Demystified for the Calbovista subsculpta: there were flat, pyramidal warts present, the skin was very thin, but there was no sterile base to speak of, the capillitium was occasionally branched, and the spores seemed fairly smooth.

Anyway, having been fungi-less for some time, it having been pretty dry so far this season, it was nice to find something, especially something that was edible.

I sliced it up, cooked the slices in a little butter, and will add them to an omelet tomorrow morning.

Thursday, October 5: Late today we decided to take a short walk outside town. It has been very dry and the pine needles crunched audibly as we walked. Not expecting to find any mushrooms, I left my collecting basket in the truck.

I eventually saw a familiar bump on the ground. Under that bump I found a white Chanterelle. Near that bump, we started finding more until my upturned tee-shirt basket was pretty full.

We went back to get my real basket, and on the way, found a few more, medium-sized, for a total of 12.

As we walked, we looked a little more carefully and found a few more interesting specimens:

  • A small, fat bolete with grey cap and grey pore surface, with the bulbous pore surface extending way beyond the cap, This bolete seems to develop completely below the ground. I had found one before, had tasted it, and it tasted like it could be another of the B. edulis complex,
  • a beautiful, white Russula with green tinged gills where the gills meet the stalk, probably a R. brevipes, Var. acrior,
  • a red-pored bolete,
  • a small yellow mushroom with scales on the stalk, growing out of a tree stump,
  • a polypore growing flush to the ground, that was just leaving a light green-grey spore print. The smooth spores were very tiny under the highest magnification. It could have been a Phaeolus schweinitzii,
  • and a light yellow polypore mushroom with white pore surface, growing on the ground, that looked like a plate full of wide pasta with cheese melted on the top. This might be an old Grifola frondosa, or Hen of the Woods.

Because we had only received about a tenth of an inch of rain, if we get the expected rain next week, it should be pretty exciting.

Friday, October 6: Encouraged by yesterday's find, I went farther north to see what might have sprung up there.

At first I didn't see anything, so I decided to check out a downed tree on which I usually see Oyster Mushrooms, but usually later in the year and are then too old to pick.

This time they were just at the right age for picking. I had left my basket in the car again, so I only was able to pick a few.

On the way back, I found more of the red-pored Boletes I found yesterday.

I checked a few more spots and found more of the same boletes, a tan Ramaria I identify as the R. strasseri, a few white Russula, probably R. brevipes, a better sample of the same orange mushroom I found yesterday, and a clump of small mushrooms that may turn out to be a Lyophyllum.

Not too bad considering the lack of rain.

Saturday, October 8: On Saturday morning, Cecelia and I took off early to be able to meet up with Norm Andresen for the MSSF Yuba Pass Foray.

When we got there, Norm hadn’t shown up yet. We waited for a while, and when Dr. Dennis Desjardin showed up with his fungi class, I decided it was a good opportunity to have him identify the mushrooms I had brought from home.


The mushroom that looked like a plate of pasta with cheese melted on top turned out to just be a disfigured Sulphur Shelf (Laetiporus sulphureus).

The orange mushroom with the scales was identified as a Pholiota aurivella. The puffy bolete that developed entirely under ground was identified as a Gastroboletus subalpinus, or Gastroid King Bolete. I had eaten one before and did think it had the taste and texture of a King Bolete.

The small clump of mushrooms I brought was left unidentified until I can get some that were more developed. I also left the bag of Oyster Mushrooms with Dennis and his class.

I decided to tag along with the class on their first foray of the day, as two of them, Matthew Kierle and Earl Hazleton, were friends of ours, and we had not seen them since the spring.

While walking along with Matt, and later with Earl, we found a pretty good variety of specimens, and most of the ones I found I left for the class.

Friday, October 13:  We went out today to see if anything came up after the recent rains. It was a bit early, but we did find a few specimens. These were mostly few and far between:

  • A solitary slimy but rather large Gomphidius glutinosus.
  • More groups of the striking Golden Pholiota, the Pholiota aurivella.
  • A single Russula brevipes, var. acrior, with the green-tinged gills.
  • A couple of what looked like Fomitopsis pinicola conks.
  • A solitary mushroom that looked like a Lepiota with dark, almost black, streaked cap, but no membranous veil visible. This might be a L. barssii (Gray Parasol).

Yesterday I found a clump of Pholiota on a conifer stump, which may have been the P. filamentosa because of the somewhat bright greenish-yellow colored cap. I also found a few old Chanterelles.

Otherwise, most of what I have been finding has been pretty fresh, so I am encouraged to continue the hunt in a few days. I will check some of the spores under a microscope tonight. I only picked one small conk to try to identify it, thinking it might be a Ganoderma applanatum, which I have yet to identify in the field. It wasn’t.

NO boletes yet!

Sunday, October 15: Later today we went back to the place we had been finding Chanterelles to see if any new ones had come up. We did find a few more, but they didn't look like they were new, only leftovers from before. Some even looked like they had become waterlogged from sitting in the moist earth.

I was disappointed because I had hoped to find some new growth by now. Maybe after the next rain.

But I did find a beautiful all-white Amanita silvicola, with its cottony patches all over.

I also found what appears to be a Rhizopogon, but I couldn't find it in my books. It was smooth, light tan with a light greenish-tan interior, about 1" thick and 3" in diameter. It had smaller round "babies" close by. It didn't seem to stain when I rubbed it.

Another confusing find was a part of a mushroom that was exposed by a digging creature. The remaining cap was very thin, and the gills were long and folded a bit, but not crowded, just as if someone had tried to squash the cap. Most of it was tan. The light tan flesh in the thick stalk was similar to an old Chanterelle.

Another weird one was found in the grass at the Quincy on Saturday. From the top, it looked like a tan 2 1/2" diameter Agaricus, but when I picked it up, the gills were totally enclosed in a thick membrane. The gills inside were very shallow, light tan, crowded, but not contorted. The flesh was lighter tan colored, and it had a solid stalk about 1/2" diameter.

I am trying to get spore prints on the two above. The elliptical spores I scraped from inside the "Rhizopogon" were some of the smallest I have ever seen, so even under the highest magnification, I could not see if they were ornamented, although they did appear to be a few "spots" on some.

Later, after noticing white latex coming form its cut flesh, I identified the mushroom with the enclosed gills as an Arcangeliella crassa or Gastroid Milk Cap.

Wednesday, October 18: It seems like we will not get a very good fall mushroom season this year, at least not up here, but I found a few today anyway.

While looking for more White Chanterelles outside of town, I found a solitary Grisette with a dark brown cap, probably an Amanita pachycolea, a red staining Rhizopogon most likely in the R. rubescens group, a small pack of small Cortinarius, a few Gomphus, but NO Chanterelles!

One small group of light-colored Gomphus looked like they might be the G. bonari, while another large, solitary one looked more like it might be the G. kauffmanii.

Saturday, October 21:  On Saturday we went up toward Yuba Pass to see if we could find more of the Ganoderma oregonense or Varnished Conk, our close relative to the G. lucidum or Ling Chi.

Once there, we proceeded up the dirt road that Norm took us to on the last foray.

Like we did on that day, around that area we found many different-sized ones, softball-sized to over a foot across. But none were soft enough to give a taste to our friends accompanying us.

While wandering around, we found an interesting assortment of colorful mushrooms, but the presence of the snow and very cold wind encouraged us to travel back down to a lower elevation.

At a nearby campground I went back to the same tree stump I had seen my first oregonense during the MSSF foray and collected a few more.

Down the road, we parked the car, walked around a bit, and were surprised at the number of mounds we saw. Under the mounds were various colorful Cortinarius, Tricholoma, groups of Gomphus bonari, and one tan Ramaria. We also found growing in a stump what looked like the Golden Pholiota, or P. aurivella.

Sunday, October 22: This afternoon, I thought I'd take a walk in the woods around the area where I had been finding white Chanterelles. This time I covered different spots near the area and found a few Cortinarius, Lactarius, Hygrophorous, Tricholoma, and a few miserably small, old Chanterelles. On the way back to the truck, I studied the ground more carefully, checking an area that had not yielded many mushrooms in the past, and was surprised to find more but different mushrooms and even a few fresher Chanterelles. These Chanterelles were under very small, almost imperceptible mounds, and seemed to occur in small groups. They had been there for a while, but were good enough for the table.

Tuesday, October 24: Later today I took a friend to look for some Chanterelles. As we wandered, found a few fairly fresh mushrooms, including some Russula brevipes var. acrior, and one Grisette. One interesting find was a Gastroboletus with a brown cap, yellow, non-blueing flesh and inamyloid spores, which keyed out to be a Gastroboletus suilloides. This would be the first of that species that I have identified.

Near the side of the dirt road, on the way back to the truck, we found three good-sized fresh white Chanterelles.

Friday, October 27: After a somewhat disappointing walk yesterday, I went back to wander aimlessly through the forest looking for "that spot" where I had previously found some Chanterelles.

In the process I found a medium-sized Ganoderma oregonense with the whole cap beautifully varnished, removed it from a pine tree stump, and placed it in my basket to dry later.

Then I started finding more mushrooms.

I found 2 beautifully pink-tinged Hygrophorous pudorinus, a darker pink H. purpurascens, a few Tricholoma, many Russula brevipes, various Cortinarius, a few Russula sororia (HOT HOT!), some Gomphus bonari, and finally, 3 nice-sized white Chanterelles. One of the Chanterelles was pretty fresh but none were at "that spot".

Tuesday, October 31: It was sunny today so I decided to take a walk in the forest at around 4400 ft. Didn't see many mushrooms except for a very bright orange Gomphus floccosus (Scaly Chanterelle), an old dark gray and misshapen Boletopsis subsquamosa (Kurakawa), and a very old and slimy Boletus edulis (King Bolete), the only one I have seen this year. This one had been uprooted by something (human, not a deer) and just left to turn into slime.

After scanning that area pretty good, I went to another area across from one of the local campgrounds. Here, in a large parking area, I found several clumps of Coprinus comatus (Shaggy manes) that were still pretty young. I picked the largest ones and will check tomorrow to see what develops. There were many mounds with Coprinus just starting to emerge.

Monday, November 6: Today was a pretty good day - I not only found some nice White Chanterelles, I also received my scaled microscope eyepiece in the mail. Now to get the microscope calibrated!

I met a neighbor that wanted me to check some mushrooms in her yard. On the way home, I stopped to see what she had and to show her what a White Chanterelle looked like.

Some of the mushrooms in her lawn appeared to be the common Fairy Ring Mushroom, the Marasmius oreades, and another patch keyed out to be a Lactarius torminosus. These were growing in her lawn under a birch tree.

Yesterday I went back to look at my crop of Shaggy Manes, but they had not grown much since I last checked them 3 days ago. There is plenty of moisture, but I think it has been too cold. I'll continue to check back every few days.

I still ended up with about a pint of cooked ones. I took home a shovel full of dirt with a batch of very small ones in it to see if they would do better in my heated laundry room.

After a few days, I was able to pick a few from my pile of dirt.

Tuesday, November 28: In spite of the snow and freezing temperatures, I found two large White Chanterelles and several hundred Shaggy Mane buttons.

The chanterelles were a bit soggy, the Shaggy Manes were very muddy, and all will be a real chore to clean.

A Most Memorable Hunt (top)

The following is a rather colorful report from Larry Stickney regarding a recent foray he took at Priest Lake, Idaho:

Tentative report on the Priest Lake Foray

The conditions were not perfect, it being a week earlier than the preferred dates at the end of the month. (Hill's Resort had a sellout for that date already.) Rain had fallen Thursday making things look wetter than they really had been. Coleman took me on his favorite walk, north of the Resort along the beach on Friday morning and we found more than a dozen Matsutake buttons and a few Boletus edulis on a very brisk cold day. It was one of those days when every emergence into the warming sunlight by the lake was very welcome, indeed sought after. In the afternoon I went south of the Resort along the beach and unearthed more than two dozen Matsutake as mushrumps, all tightly closed small buttons slightly pushing up the moss or duff. More showed up there Saturday afternoon for folks I sent there to look for themselves when they had seen none elsewhere that day

Our personal Saturday foray north about 20 miles to Beaver Creek at the end of the Lake wasn't wildly successful, but it was a much warmer sunny day for walking through the woods once the sun rose higher in the clear blue sky. No sign of the wispy morning mists remained after nine o'clock. Only ducks rippled the mirrored lake surface which inverted snowy Lookout Peak. Chanterelles were scarce, and more often small white ones rather than golden ones. Whites show first even in Mendocino, don't they. Best find of the day was a long strip of deep orange Sulphur shelves on a snag which won first prize as a table decoration after surrounding it with other colorful fungi and mosses. Small prizes, mostly jars of Huckleberry Jam, were presented to a number of registrants for smallest, largest, rarest, most colorful mushroom. No one found a deadly species so that prize went begging. Isn't Priest Lake really wonderful?

Hill's is so plush these days it is hard to believe what it once was back in the 60's. All the big old drafty two story lakefront cabins are gone and of course replaced. But Hill's kitchen remains remarkable, and the bar bigger. Morning huckleberry pancakes and syrup, scrambles eggs with bacon or sausage, and excellent coffee bring back old almost forgotten memories even in the much changed and enlarged dining room, now with a new big deck outside the plate glass windows. Less lake is visible from it these days because the Firs and Cedars have grown wider and taller; leased Forest Service land comes with unchanging, inflexible cutting restrictions, alas. The Saturday night Banquet for over 100 diners was impeccable; tender Prime Rib, whether rare or rinded, bacon-laced green beans, real smashed potatoes, and a Huckleberry sauce over vanilla ice cream. My meal was preceded at the bar with fresh "Oyster Shooters", oysters from the resident saltwater tank, shucked into a cordial glass and laced with traditional sauces. I'd love to be there for more next weekend when fruiting conditions will be much better.

What a marvelous rotting world we share!

- Larry

Featured Mushroom, Cantharellus subalbidus (White Chanterelle) (top)

In the late fall, these beautiful, but sometimes dirty mushrooms usually can be found almost anywhere. This year, however, we apparently did not have enough rain soon enough for them to fruit in any large numbers at this elevation. I also think it got too cold too soon.

This is one of my favorite mushrooms, both to find and to eat. It has one of the best textures when cooked.

Possibly because of the colder weather, the ones I found this year never got above ground, so finding them required a lot of digging under sometimes almost imperceptible mounds.

I have found them here as early as late August and on into the end of November.

Here is the link to the Cantharellus subalbidus at the Mykoweb website: Cantharellus subalbidus