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Mushroom Spotlight

Throughout the year we highlight one mushroom that can be found in WNC. This is in an attempt to help members or guests learn our local mushrooms. It will also be noted whether the mushroom is edible, ill advised, or poisonous.

Calvatia gigantea

AKA: Giant Puffball. Fall has arrived and with it new challenges for the mycophagist. There are so many leaves falling that searching in the woodlands and forest can be all but fruitless. I know...

Hericium erinaceus

AKA: Bearded tooth, Lion's Mane If you’ve been reading this column for any length of time you already know to scan the trees as well as the ground any time you are mushroom hunting. This is a...

Laetiporus sulphureus

AKA "Chicken mushroom" I’m thinking most mushroom hunters know this mushroom well. If you don’t take a minute to learn it now. When it is young and fresh it has the flavor and texture of white...

Sparassis crispa & spathulata

AKA Cauliflower mushroom OK beginners wake up and pay attention. Here’s an easy edible that provides a large amount of food and there’s nothing poisonous that even remotely resembles it. While...

Cantharellus cibarius

AKA the golden chanterelle The time is upon us for the coming of the golden chanterelle, perhaps the most prized of the edible wild mushrooms. Search the moist forests for the egg yolk yellow caps...

Polyporous squamosus

AKA Dryad’s saddle, Pheasant back Ok it’s May and there are probably still morels about, so if you are still out looking remember to look at the dead wood as well. I should probably have...

Russula crustosa

AKA the green quilt russula Well this isn’t quite the season, but last month’s column was about morels. So I decided to write about one of my favorites. Russulas in general get little respect....

Genus Morchella

Now is the time experienced mushroom hunters start getting the itch. The unmistakable signs of spring are becoming evident. Even though the ground is covered with snow you can feel the weather...

Auricularia auricula

AKA tree ear, wood ear, etc… If the recent warm weather has you longing for a hike take a small collecting basket with you. Look closely at the dead trees & limbs as you pass for brown...

Coprinus comatus

AKA shaggy mane, lawyer’s wig etc… This is one of the most widely known fungi other than, perhaps, morels. The cylindrical white, shaggy caps are easily recognized. I have found them in late...
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