Sunday, July 30, 2006

Issue 9, August 2006

Yet another month has forever slipped away. Where has the summer gone? This season has had its frustrations, as well. The weather has been unseasonably cool, gardens have not done as well as usual, the Kenai has been closed to fishing for ‘reds’ and my mushrooming success has been far from outstanding. I didn’t even mention the fact that our roads, campgrounds and businesses are plugged with tourists! But, we haven’t had the hot, dry weather that has plagued the western half of the lower 48 with temperatures reaching the triple digits in Seattle and Portland and 120 degrees in South Dakota! Then, there are the forest fires from Arizona to Montana! All things considered, I would say we are fortunate to live in Alaska and particularly blessed to live here on the beautiful Kenai Peninsula!

Our foray on the first Saturday of July yielded an interesting assortment of mushrooms. There were a number of nice boletes (Boletes edulis), two or three species of Leccinum, a couple of shelved clusters of ‘oysters’ (Pleurotus ostreatus), a Russula or two and the usual assortment of LBM’s.

Frank Kufel submitted these photos of his grandsons with the morels they harvested from the burn on Skilak Lake. Access was tough, but from the pics, I would say it was worth the effort! Thanks Frank.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Our next foray will be August 5th. We will be traveling to Seward. Our destination will be the Caine’s Head trail and Caine’s Head State Recreation Area.

We will be traveling to Seward to forage along the Caine’s Head trail south of Lowell Point. It should be an interesting trip. There are a number of species of fungi common to the coastal forests that are seldom (if ever) found in the Kenai River drainage. Dominique Collet is familiar with the area and will lead the foray. (He is a wealth of knowledge and not only knows his fungi, but the native plants as well!)

If you plan to attend and would like to carpool with someone or provide a ride to others, please let me know so that we can work out the details.

We will be leaving from the back parking lot of Fred Meyer at 8:00 a.m. sharp and should arrive in Seward around 10:00 a.m. You can expect to be back at the trailhead around 4:00 p.m. for the trip home to Soldotna.

To get to the Caine’s Head trailhead, follow Hwy. 9 through Seward, turn right on Railway Avenue, go two blocks and turn left on Lowell Point Road. From there, it is approximately two and one-half miles to Lowell Point and Caine’s Head trailhead. The trail runs parallel to the shoreline of Resurrection Bay and is about two and one-half miles long.

Bring a lunch, a sturdy picking basket and dress appropriately for the weather. It should be a lot of fun!

The newsletter and club events can be found on our website at Share the address with your friends!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The photo above was the mushroom of the month for July. We promised you that if you would send us an e-mail with the correct genus and species name you would win a prize. No, it wasn’t a week for two in Hawaii, but it was something almost as good – you would have had your name and achievement immortalized in print in this issue of the newsletter! Alas, the prize went unclaimed. There was not a single response. But, all is not lost. In this issue of the Spore Print is a new ‘Mushroom of the Month’ and we are still offering the same great prize to anyone who knows its identity.

The specimen above was collected from a well-rotted log in the wooded area behind the Catholic Church in Soldotna. The species is Lycogala epidendron, a Myxomycetes or slime mold. Slime molds were traditionally studied with fungi, but have recently been moved to the Kingdom Protozoa. The common name for this fungus(?) is ‘Wolf Milk’, a name derived from the thick pink ooze that flows from the pea-sized balls when they are cut or bruised. This is a common species and is found throughout much of the Pacific Northwest. Though it is not an edible species, it is none-the-less interesting, unique and even beautiful in its own way.

The August Mushroom Of The Month

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The two photos above are of the same mushroom species. In the upper photo, my granddaughter is holding a mature specimen, while in the lower photo the young ‘twins’ still have the veil intact. This species is easily identified by its anise odor, habit of growing in grassy areas and the cogwheel pattern produced in the unbroken veil as the cap expands.

Send us an e-mail with the correct genus and species name and just as we promised, YOU will have your name and achievement immortalized in print in our next newsletter.

The order we placed for Dr. Miller’s book, North American Mushrooms, A Field Guide To Edible and Inedible Fungi has finally arrived. In response to demand for the book, we ordered 36 copies. As usual, the cost for members is our cost (50% of retail and postage), $15.00. That is an $11.00 savings over the bookstore price! We will have copies available at the foray or you may contact me and make arrangements to pick up your copy.

It is an excellent work and well worth the money. The book is 584 pages with over 600 excellent photos and species descriptions. A large number of Alaskan and Canadian species are represented. Issue #7 of the Spore Print has a more comprehensive review of this great book.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sadly, as I reported last month, Dr. Miller has passed away. His death is a great loss to the amateur mushrooming community. May his funerary always be festooned with fairy rings.

A final reminder: The 2006 NAMA (North American Mycological Association) Foray will be held in Hinton, Alberta, August 17-20. There is still time to register. 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!

The Alaska State Fair in Ninilchik is coming soon. We are looking for volunteers to man the club booth. If you are willing to help, please let me know no later than August 10th.

It is a great opportunity to meet folks, make new friends and share your enthusiasm for mushrooming with others!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


There are two new illustration packages available for MatchMaker on the internet for free download: These are p173-180 and p181-188.exe. They are downloaded in the usually way:

a) save them and run from your hard disc (don't try to run them on the website), click unzip, ok, close,

b) choose Refresh All Illustrations on the Advanced menu of MatchMaker to integrate them into the program. To get these updates, go to Ian Gibson’s website at:

You can also download free, the latest update of the MatchMaker program at the same website. Version 1.2 offers

1) up-dated name changes

2) a glossary that has tripled in size to include all technical terms and some new glossary illustrations (check out Drew Parker's beautiful illustrations of cystidium shapes)

3) an index to all species on the List menu

4) non-gilled descriptions integrated so that they do not need to be installed separately

5) a search feature that is now case insensitive by default to conform to what is expected by Windows users

6) the correction of a bug in the Quiz program that was causing problems with newly added illustrations

7) a new splash screen

This update does not include the synoptic key for non-gilled species which will be a part of the forthcoming Version 2.0.

Ian Gibson has included the following instructions for updating to Version 1.2. These instructions are also found on the website.

1. Download update12.exe from the website given above.

2. Double click on the file update12.exe in the folder where you have downloaded the file. Click OK, Unzip, Close. This will extract the setup.exe file, several .cab files, setup.lst, WhatsNew.txt, and readme.txt to C:\Program Files\MatchMaker_Setup_04\.

3. Uninstall the old MatchMaker version. In Windows 98 or Windows XP you do this by Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Add or Remove New Programs -> MatchMaker, and you will be given the option to uninstall. A notice may say that it was unable to remove the folder completely. This is because it will still contain the update illustrations. Do not remove them.

4. Double click on the setup.exe file mentioned above that is in C:\Program Files\MatchMaker_Setup_04\, and follow screen directions to install MatchMaker.

5. Go to the new C:\Program Files\Match-Maker\ folder and double click Name-Changes.exe. This will copy many illustrations on your CD under their new names so they can be used by the new program.

6. Load the MatchMaker program and click Refresh All Illustrations on the Advanced menu.

If you are using Windows XP this download should give you no difficulty. If you are running an earlier version of Windows (Windows 98 for example) the download may not be successful.

This is due to a bug in the original Visual Basic 6 setup program which has since been solved.

There are now separate downloads for users of Windows XP and for users of earlier versions of Windows. This is just a precaution: usually either one will work on any system.

Do not forget to uninstall the old version before installing the new one.

When you are updating, you do not delete the illustrations.

The update site address for those with something other than Windows XP is:

If you are unfamiliar with MatchMaker, it is a tremendous resource. There is nothing else out there that even begins to compare with this program. Ian Gibson, his son and others have put thousands of hours into producing MatchMaker and they have made it available free of charge! It is a Windows based program that contains nearly 3500 photos and descriptive text for 4000 mush-room species. It is built around an identification program for gilled mushroom species, but it is loaded with additional features such as an extensive glossary, range maps, links to other great sites and a quiz feature. I have been told that if just the descriptive text and photos were to be put into book form the volume would be over 5500 pages! I can’t say enough about this amazing program! If you don’t have it, take the time to load it onto your PC. If you are currently using MatchMaker, it is well worth your time and effort to load on the new version.

I had originally planned to include a couple of mushroom recipes, but after giving it some thought, I felt that it might be more useful to offer a list of good mushroom cookbooks. No personal mycology library is complete without at least a few recipe books. After all, for most of us, the reason we are out foraging for fungi is to turn them into food. My list is not in any particular order, but the ones I am familiar with and consider to be excellent books will have an * before the title.

Mushroom Cookbooks:

1. *Mushroom by Johnny Acton and Nick Sandler (160 pages).
2. Mushrooms by Rita Rosenberg (170 pages).
3. The Edible Mushroom: A Gourmet Cook’s Guide by Margaret Leibenstein (206 pages).
4.*Wild About Mushrooms: A Cookbook for Feasters and Foragers by Louise Freedman (239 pages).
5. The Savory Mushroom: Cooking with Wild and Cultivated Mushrooms by Bill Jones (200 pages).
6. The Complete Mushroom Book: Savory Recipes For Wild And Cultivated Varieties by Antonio Carluccio (224 pages)
7. *Hope’s Mushroom Cookbook by Hope Miller (221 pages).
8. *Wild Mushroom Recipes by the Puget Sound Mycological Society (178 pages).
9. Mushrooms: Wild and Tamed by Rita Rosenberg (170 pages).
10 The Mushroom Lover’s Mushroom Cookbook and Primer by Amy Farges (340 pages).

Mushroom Books That Contain Recipes:

1. *Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America: A Field-To-Kitchen Guide by David W. Fischer and Alan E. Bessette.
2. *The Savory Wild Mushroom by Margaret McKenny.
3. *The Ultimate Mushroom Book by Peter Jordan and Steven Wheeler.
4. Foraging For Edible Wild Mushrooms by Karen and Richard Haard.

There are also a number of excellent web sites that have mushroom recipes. You should have no trouble finding recipes for any species or dish that you would like to prepare.

With this issue of the Spore Print I had planned to begin a series on IDENTIFYING GILLED MUSHROOMS TO GENUS using three basic characteristics of the fruit body: 1) spore print color, 2) stature type and 3) a combination of growth habit and habitat. The last month has been so hectic that I wasn’t able to get it together. I hope to begin with the next issue.

Anyone who has spent any time at all looking for mushrooms in Alaska soon realizes that one of the most common mushroom genera encountered during the summer months is Leccinum. Though not considered the choicest fungi for the table, they are (for most folks) edible, and if prepared properly, can be quite good. Anyone can quickly learn to identify the genus, but separating the different species can be much more difficult. In the pages that follow you will find a flow chart and brief descriptive text which I think will help you identify the various species you might encounter.

We hope to see you at the Caines Head foray. Until then, take care and happy hunting,


* Here is a helpful FLOW CHART FOR IDENTIFYING LECCINUM SPECIES, including ALASKAN LECCINUM SPECIES. Click "Download", and then on the next screen, click "Download the file now." (Forgive the ads, it is a free file hosting site. )


At 12:58 AM, Blogger business voodoo said...

awesome information, thank you so much!!!
the 'shroom of the month is amazing ... i have seen large mushrooms in the underbrush in the forests in oregon as a child, but NEVER one that large. beautiful!
peace & harmony,
'freedom must be exercised to stay in shape!'


Post a Comment

<< Home