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What to do?

dwheeler at teleport.com dwheeler at teleport.com
Fri Aug 28 12:10:09 EST 1998

In article <1998082603275100.XAA01044 at ladder01.news.aol.com>,
  susan112 at aol.com (Susan112) wrote:

> Firewood?  I would think it would make lousy firewood, but then I'm used to oak
> and hickory  in the fireplace here.

White oak (those with lobed leaves) and other fast growing hardwoods appear
to be the preferred food for shiitake. Another key to choosing which species
to try is the amount of tannic acid. Trees high in tannic acid tend to
support better crops of mushrooms.

There are exceptions. Quercus palustra (Easter Red oak or pinoak) does not
produce much of either shiitake or Pleurotus ostreatus. However, it does
_much_ better producing Grifola frondosus, whose market has been expanding
exponentially due to recent data supporting claims of anti-cancer properties.

> Morels are the edible of choice in the bottomlands here and they're usually
> abundant in the spring compared to upland sites.  Would the others you
> mentioned occur here as well or are they western species?
The best answer to that is to observe. Many fungi are ephemeral. A local
mycology club should be able to answer that question, or post it to

Even if the mushrooms do not occur locally, they may still be cultivated,
provided they are provided with near ideal growing conditions. Shiitake
(Lentinus edodes) was totally unknown to the United States until Dr. Henry Mee
obtained permission to bring viable spawn into the US in 1976. Since then, the
fungus has been cultivated in many, if not most states of the US. The Pacific
Northwest is especially good for cultivation since it mimics the climatic
conditions that shiitake has in Japan and China.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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