Thursday, June 29, 2006

Issue 8, July 2006

Another month is just about gone and there are still very few mushrooms to be found. The combination of a slow warm up and very dry weather has made for a less than fruitful spring. But, with the recent rains and a forecast for more of the same, that should all change. By our next foray, we should see quite a number of species fruiting.

Our next foray will be Saturday, July 1st. We will meet at the Soldotna Creek Park (across from Safeway) at 9:00 a.m. From there we will break up into groups and go out gathering mushrooms. At 12:00, everyone will meet back at the park to identify and discuss what has been gathered.

There were only about fifteen people that attended our June 7th foray at the lower campground on Skilak Lake. The small turn-out was not surprising considering the very dry conditions and the competition from a number of other community events that weekend. When we gathered back at the camp area we had collected (excluding the polypores) a total of five species. A handful of Gyromitras, a couple of Hellevellas, a few morels and two different gilled specimens that were already nearly dried out. But, in spite of the dismal harvest, every one seemed to enjoy themselves.

We have placed an order for twenty-five copies of Dr. Miller’s book, North American Mushrooms, A Field Guide To Edible and Inedible Fungi. Those that responded to my e-mail and requested the book will have first opportunity to pick it up at our cost (50% of retail and postage) which will be somewhere between $15.00 and $16.00. If you would like a copy and did not get on the order list, all is not lost, we will place another order as interest warrants.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sadly, the author, Dr. Orson K. Miller, Jr. passed away about a week ago. He was one of the ‘old guard’ (most of whom are no longer with us). His infectious enthusiasm stirred scores to pursue a career in mycology. In addition to his teaching career, he was a well known figure among the amateur mushrooming community, often as a guest speaker at local mushroom clubs or acting as an identifier at forays. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Mushroom Of The Month

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This is a new addition to our newsletter. During the mushroom fruiting season we will include a photo each month of a local mushroom species for our readers to identify.

This particular species is not uncommon, but may be easily overlooked. The pinkish fruits (which have the appearance of small puffballs) are no larger than a pea. When crushed they exude a pinkish paste.

Send us an e-mail with the correct genus and species name and you will have your name and achievement immortalized in print in our next newsletter.

Just a reminder: The 2006 NAMA (North American Mycological Association) Foray will be held in Hinton, Alberta, August 17-20. Details and a registration form can be found on the NAMA website at

The Edmonton Mycological Society will act as host and Dr. Markus Thormann will be one of the presenters and identifiers. It would be a great opportunity for you to meet ‘shroomers’ from all across the U.S. and Canada and a tremendously valuable learning experience!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Above is a photo of the KPMS booth at the Kenai River festival. We shared the space with Dominique Collet who had some of his beautiful art work on display. Even though the weather was cold and wet we still had quite a few folks stop by. We did not have any fresh mushrooms to display, but should have plenty when we have our booth at the fair this fall.

Don’t forget to check out our website for the newsletter and the latest updates on the mushrooming prospects! Just get on line and go to

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Well, we have had several good rains since I began to put together the newsletter. I’ve been out numerous times looking for an early flush of those delicious King Boletes, but I guess they just aren’t up yet. You know that I would be the first to let you all know if I was fortunate enough to find anything. Oops, how did this photo get in here?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It kind of reminds me of the time I called up a friend of mine who lived in the Yaak (back when I still lived in Montana). He said he had been our all morning looking for morels but hadn’t found any. “Too early,” he said. Well, I paid a surprise visit and what do you suppose he had laying out to dry all over his kitchen counter top. Mushroomers are a notoriously secretive bunch, but to out and out lie to me? I would have never done that!!


In the next several issues of the Spore Print we will be looking at the characteristics that make a mushroom unique and teaching you an identification method that will make it possible for you to identify most ‘gilled’ mushrooms to the ‘genus’ level. We will be considering three basic aspects of a mushroom, 1) spore print color, 2) stature type and 3) a combination of growth habit and habitat. As we progress, we will be constructing an identification chart, which when completed will help you to identify 162 genera of ‘gilled’ mushrooms.

It has been my observation that most mushroomers never advance beyond becoming familiar with a few species. These are usually mushrooms that they have had identified for them. If you were to ask them what characteristics make a particular mushroom distinctive and identifiable to them, they would probably find it very difficult to describe any specific features.

There is nothing wrong with learning by rote, but as a consequence, there is often no real understanding of what makes one species of mushroom different from another. We would like to remedy that.

Time constraints do not permit me to begin the series with this issue, but we will begin with the August Spore Print.

We hope to see at the foray, July 1st. Until then, happy hunting!