Economic Forest Fungi

dwheeler at dwheeler at
Sat Jan 31 19:11:09 EST 1998

The following is a copywritten address to the Clackamas County Farm
Forestry Association, the largest tree farming group in the world, at
their annual Tree School fair for 1994. I will be speaking again the
group this year on March 21, 1998 at the Clackamas Community College on
Truffle/Tree Farm Economics. This data is based on research conducted at
Paul Bishop Sr.'s Jones Creek Tree Farm, Bear Paws Co. land in Clark Co,
WA and my own property in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

				   c. 1994, By Dan Wheeler
		Address to Clackamas County Farm Forestry Association

	Good morning and welcome. I’m Dan Wheeler.	I’m current
president of the North American Truffling Society, a non-profit
organization that identifies, collects and preserves true and false
truffles, and truffle-like fungi.	All fungi are important to tree
farmers. Growing trees require fungi to survive. Kill symbiotic fungi and
you kill host trees. Kill trees and you kill symbiotic fungi.	     
Fungi represent 52-55% of the total living cells, called biomass, of both
tree farm and forest. Trees constitute 30-35% of biomass.     In biology
you may have learned fungi spread by airborne spores. If that were true,
everyone could easily grow fungi. And desserts would not exist.     Fewer
than 100 mushroom species have been cultivated. The Pacific Northwest
alone has 8,000 fungal species.     This is why forests are in conflict
today. Foresters by definition grow trees. Fungi are not trees. Thus
foresters manage at best 30-35% of forest biomass.     Who can name the
five essentials to grow trees? AIR, WATER, SOIL, LIGHT, FUNGI.	      
Fungi are essential to grow trees, and nearly all plants.	During
the past 3,000 years, history has documented the decline of forests and a
corresponding increase in desserts. In his book Tree Crops, J. Russell
Smith, an economist, notes modern agriculture is a case of “First the
saw, then fire, then the plow. Finally move on	when the soil is lost.”  
Remember the five essentials to grow trees? What happens when soil is
gone? Dessert.	  Remember how many fungi are found in the Northwest?
That number may be 80%, 60%, 40%, or 20% of the actual number. No one
really knows.	      Dr. William Dennison, president of the Oregon Small
Woodlands Association, found 60 species of fungi growing inside Douglas
fir needles. He explained these fungi cause the needles to become stiff. 
  The fungal-tree connection is similar to the oldest known terrestrial
plants -- lichens. Lichens are algae and fungi. The fungi provide algae
with water and nutrients. The algae provide fungi with simple sugars from
photosynthesis. Kill the algae and the fungi die. Kill the fungi and the
algae die. This relationship is called symbiosis. Symbiotic fungi help
plants grow. When they are associated with roots, they are termed
mycorrhizae, literally fungus root.   Not all fungi are symbiotic. Some
are saprophytes. Saprophytes survive by eating wood, leaves, twigs, cones
or other dead and dying vegetable and animal matter. Saprophytic fungi
are essential to life on Earth as we know it. Orson K. Miller of Virginia
Polytechnic once hypothesized a world without saprophytic fungi. Try to
imagine all land covered 65 feet deep by wood, leaves, organic debris and
excrement.	 The third and last group of fungi are parasites. As tree
growers, fungal parasites are usually considered harmful. But harmful is
dependent on what is grown. Phellinus weirii or root rot is harmful to
conifers. Bacillus thurengensis is harmful to Gypsy moths. Both are
fungal parasites. Are both harmful?	   If fungi are important to
trees, how should they be managed? Insufficient data.	      Can fungi
be cultivated, and if so how? About 100 species have been grown to date
in the world. Paul Stametes of Fungi Perfecti in Olympia, Washington
offers a course on cultivation for only $500. You provide your own meals,
room and transportation. This short course lasts two weeks.    What other
fungal properties are there? Medicinal, food, insecticides, soil
builders, pathogenic fungal fighters are just some.	    This class
can’t and won’t answer all your questions. At best it may stimulate the
formation of your questions. It will be your responsibility to research. 
   Remember this: Every forestry management practice - from cutting
branches to killing trees to planting trees - affects fungi. Some forest
practices produce healthy tree stands. Others ensure tree death. One
thing is clear: if you don’t manage fungi, fungi will manage you.	
Fungal managers must first learn fungal identification. Growing or
selling wrong fungi may kill. Some fungal toxins are as potent as cobra
venom. Others are known as health-aids: streptomyacin, myaliacin,
tetracyclin,  cyclosporin, and others.	   New plant species continue to
be found. This doesn’t prevent growing or cultivating some species.
Similarly, it is better to grow fungi than not.       This class is my
best guess where fungi are headed.     Let me read you an article by Jeff
Barnard from the Jan. 4, 1994 Oregonian. (INSERT ARTICLE)    The
following is from the Feb. 1, 1993 Oregon Grange Bulletin, page 11 (READ
ARTICLE).  Mushroom picking on federal land has a limited future, I
believe. Mushroom harvesting is now big business. The BLM and Forest
Service are being forced to deal with the issues of fungal permits,
citations, identification, safety, and management. Current citations are
laughable, compared to what pickers can expect to make.      I believe
the value of mushrooms on private timberland and tree farms can be more
valuable than trees. If proven, such value will give tree growers
tremendous income. That income would be necessary for fungal management
and prevention of mushroom rustling.	    Fungal management and
cultivation may create many high-paying jobs. These will be in mycology,
research, medicine, harvesting, forest management, wildlife management,
marketing, transportation, packaging and advertising. Other jobs will be
created which don’t even have names today. Fungal marketing provides a
whole forest of additional products - many not known today.	 Let’s
examine 24 possibilities now. They are listed on the handout you received
when entering.	The first 10 examples are symbiotic fungi. These fungi
require trees to exist.  In 1986 a Vancouver, B.C. mushroom picker
gathered 230 pounds of matsutake in one day, and was paid $10 per pound.
In 1992 pickers receive $6-$40 per pound, and at least one picker
received $100 per pound. On October 11, 1993 matsutake reached $600 per
pound.	   You may have recently read of a timber sale appeal near Crater
Lake. The Oregon Natural Resources Council and a member of the Oregon
Mycological Society brought the suit, contending the matsutake harvest
from the site is more valuable than the poor quality Lodgepole pine
scheduled for removal. Last year (1993) matsutake generated $20 million
in Oregon. The proposed sale is in the middle of a lucrative matsutake
bed.	 I found matsutake once, in July, 1979. Although it was summer,
the five-acre parcel showed more mushrooms than grass. I could have
picked several hundred pounds that day.      Matsutake is usually found
with Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine or Lodgepole pine in sandy soils. The
eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 may be a blessing for matsutake
hunters 20 years from now.	   The next mushroom is the most
expensive fungus on Earth today. The Italian White truffle is associated
with European hazel, Ilex oak, European willow and a few other tree
species. It has not bee reported from the U.S. One monster weighed 2.2
lbs. Had that specimen been found in Feb., 1991 it would have sold for at
least $3,000. (Note from author, a 2.2 lb. truffle found in 1997 brought
$3600!)    The third fungus is esoteric. At the turn of the century, the
French brought French black truffles to market in wheelbarrows. During
the 1930s this truffle was cheaper than potatoes. In 1990 France produced
60,000 pounds of truffles. In 1992 production dropped to 4,000 pounds.	
Over half the current world supply of French Black truffles are produced
in Northern Spain on a single 1700-acre plantation less than 7 years old.
Each 8- foot hazel is planted 20 feet apart. Truffle production requires
at least 3-4 years from inoculation. Both French Black and Italian White
truffles are found in calcareous soil. This soil is so poor and rocky
that the Spanish government said nothing would grow there. Truffles are
found by specially-trained dogs. Truffles may be half an inch to 3 feet
deep.	     The French black truffle averages one-half to 1 ounce in
size, comparable to the Oregon White truffle.  Oregon’s claim to culinary
fame is the Oregon White truffle, or Tuber gibbosum. It was first
discovered in a mixed Douglas fir-oak stand in California during the
1800s. it is now considered species specific with Douglas fir - that
means only with Douglas fir. It now sells for $200 per pound, down from
$400 per pound in 1984.  Recent analysis of truffles shows they contain
two peromones - androsterol and androstenol. Pheromones are chemical sex
attractants. They are sometimes called aphrodisiacs. Over 60 species of
Northwest animals eat truffles. Dr. James Trappe has noted Mule deer eat
truffles almost exclusively during October and November, by analyzing
fecal pellets. The onset of rut and truffle eating may not be
coincidence.	   Animals are essential to truffles and false truffles.
When spores mature, the truffle releases a powerful armoa which attracts
animals to dig and eat them. The spores disperse through the gut, and are
gradually expelled, up to a month after ingestion.     The most prolific
truffle eater is the California Red-backed vole. Voles eat their weight
in truffles each day. A mature vole requires at least 16 pounds of
truffles to survive each year. Voles produce 300 fecal pellets each day.
Each pellet can inoculate a new tree. According to Chris Maser, a small
mammal specialist, the California Red-backed vole is the most common
mammal of forests west of the Cascade Mountains.     If there are 100
voles per acre, then an acre must produce 1600 pounds of truffles and
false truffles to feed the vole population. No one knows how many voles
exist per acre.  I first hunted truffles at Paul Bishop’s Jones Creek
Tree Farm in November, 1985. The farm is three miles from here, and is
our destination this afternoon. The farm produced about 100 pounds of
true and mostly false truffles per acre in 1985. At that time, the trees
were 5 to 8 feet tall.	     Beginning in 1986, I began cultivation or
enhancement studies here. In 1988 and 1989, almost every tree inoculated
had truffles. By 1990 these areas produced between 300 and 1300 pounds of
Tuber species per acre per year. This amounts of $60,000 to $260,000 per
acre of fungi annually.   One benefit of truffles is their effect on root
rots. Dr. Trappe notes that truffle and false truffles association
decreased root rots. It is presumed that truffles act as fungal
prophylactics to root rots. This hypothesis has not been proven.     The
fifth fungus is an example of hundreds of unnamed fungi. In May, 1992 Dr.
Trappe indicated that the “Spring gibbosum” was in fact a separate,
distinct species. This new species typically fruits in the spring, is
relatively large, and has a different interior color from Oregon White
truffles. It appears to fruit in quantities as great or greater than the
Oregon White truffle, at least on Paul Bishop’s. Very little data has
been collected to date. Positive identification requires a scanning
electron microscope.  The most economically important wild mushroom in
the Pacific Northwest is Cantharellus cibarius, the Golden Chanterelle.
Chanterelles prefer mid- or old- growth tree stands locally. However on
the cost chanterelles have been found 10 years after clearcuts. Northwest
chanterelles are preferred by cooks because they have few worms. Our
chanterelles also tend to be larger than elsewhere. Washington
chanterelles may weigh 2 pounds each. Average weight is 2 to 6 ounces. A
commercial picker may cover 2 acres a day, and collect 300 pounds. That
translates to 150 pounds per acre, for a retail value of $1200 per acre
per year.	As tree species replace each other leading to a climax
forest there is also a succession of fungi with individual trees.
Abundant chanterelles often mean few truffles. Removal of more than 5% of
biomass at any time adversely affects chanterelle production. The current
annual value of chanterelles is so great, it seems reasonable that
ecological requirements of chanterelles should be learned. That basic
research has yet to be done.	  Since 1890, European studies indicate
chanterelles are in decline. No one knows why, although acid rain is
strongly suspected.  I have seen false truffles associate with seedling
trees, followed by true truffles when full canopy is reached. True
truffles remain for about 50 years before being replaced by chanterelles.
	The sale of chanterelles overseas without additional processing
is like buying Douglas fir lumber from Japan. Both are resource drains
and continue to trade deficit. Chanterelles are now bought from pickers
at $1-$4 per pound, packed in brine in 50-gallon barrels and shipped to
Germany. In Germany the mushrooms are canned, and resold to the United
States at $16 per pound. Why are American canneries not canning
chanterelles?	  During the Winter Olympics at Sarajevo, some
sportscasters mentioned our next fungus. One said porcini mushrooms were
selling for $40 per pound. Porcini is Italian for “little pig.” These
fungi may well have been harvested in Oregon or Washington. The King
bolete, as porcini is called loally, is well-known. There are two flushes
or fruitings each year in Oregon: one in spring, one in late summer or
fall.	      Pickers find up to 250 pounds per day. They receive $1-$5
per pound, which equals $125 to $1875 per acre per flush.     The King
bolete is world-renowned. It is also called Penny-bun bolete, ceps and
Steinpiltz. Cut the King into 1/4-inch slices, and dry for future use.
I’m hard pressed to sell this mushroom. I like it too much. It is high in
protein, contains no fat and is  immuno-activating.    At the 1992
Lincoln County Mycological Show I was asked to identify three of the
prettiest King boletes I’ve seen. I said sure, if I get the mushrooms. He
agreed. The man estimated he had another 40 mushrooms in various stages
of maturity littering his front lawn. Why is it always someone else’s
lawn?  I told him Salishan Lodge might buy them for $10 per pound. I
think he agreed the cost of identification was worth the price.   A
single King bolete may produce 40 million spores. I believe it could be
cultivated in stands of Ponderosa pine in Central and Eastern Oregon, and
in Lodgepole pine or Sitka spruce stands of coastal Oregon.	    The
Queen bolete may be found in similar conditions. While it can be found at
almost any elevation, it is more abundant on the cost. Expect $1-$10 per
pound for the Queen. It is usually 1/2 to 1 pound in size.	 The next
fungus is deadly poisonous. Amanita virosa is a beautiful white to pale
green mushroom. It is seldom larger than 1/4 pound and 6 inches high.
Locally it is symbiotic with chestnut tres. For that reason it is
important, as we will learn when discussing shiitake.  Again, Amanita
virosa is deadly. But is also contains muscimol, a pain- killer  as
potent as morphine but non-addictive.	     Muscimol may make Amanita
virosa economic. A single mushroom can treat a cancer patient’s pain for
several hours. Unlike Amanita virosa, muscimol is safe and non-addictive.
   Armillariella mellea is known as Honey mushroom, after the color of
the cap. It is also called Shoestring Root Rot. It’s one of the most
abundant fungi in the Northwest today. I believe that is because
clearcutting favors root-rot growth.  The Honey is found on soil in
mycorrhizal symbiosis with hardwoods, or can be saprophytic on Bigleaf
maple, Red alder, Oregon White oak, Lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, Western
hemlock, cottonwoods, willows, true fir logs and snags. For unknown
reasons this mushroom complex of several varieties can be either
symbiotic, parasitic or saprophytic. During the Gypsy moth outbreak on
the east coast several years ago, the Honey attacked weakened trees,
resulting in a profussion of mushrooms a year after.	 Shoestring root
rot derives from the strong root-like strands of fungal threads, called
rhizomorphs, found beneath the bark of infected trees.	The Honey is
closely related to the next mushroom. It’s officially the largest known
organism on Earth today. You may have already heard of the Humongous
Fungus or Monster Mushroom, as Armilariella ostoyae is now known.
Mycologists theorized this was true for many years, but it required DNA
testing to prove. The first was a Michigan fungus that covered 36 acres.
It was quickly eclipsed by a Moses Lake, Washington fungus 2.5 miles in
diameter. A Crater Lake specimen is now being tested with a radius of 15
miles. This fungus has only recently been identified. We don’t know if it
is Shoestring Root Rot or not. Let us hope not. 	The remaining
fungi are saprophytes. Saprophytic fungi live by degrading stored energy
in cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin - better known as trees. Some
fungi are generalists. They’ll eat anything. Other fungi eat specific
wood parts. Some eat roots. Some cones. Some bark. Some needles. Some
parasitize living needles, then produce insecticidal mycotoxins. Still
other fungi grow on only certain species of wood.	Regardless of
tree size, the cambium is eaten within a year of tree death. Parasitic
insects such as bark and ambrosia beetles, carry fungal spores with them.
They eat the growing fungus and degraded wood. These insects also like
the cambium layer.	  One spectacular old-growth fungus is the True
Fir Hericium, sometimes called the Waterfall Hydnum. This photogenic
fungi may form a mass 5 feet across, several feet high and deep. A single
specimen may reach 100 pounds. Five to ten pound specimens are more
common. As it’s name implies, it prefers true firs, and likes downed
logs. Search for this fungi among Noble, Pacific Silver and White firs.  
It’s relative, Hericium erinaceous, has strong possibilities for
cultivation. Rock Hill Shiitake of Lebanon has been selling 200 lbs. per
week in California for the past two years at $4 per pound. Hericium
erinaceous is marketed under the name Pom Pom, but is also called Lion’s
Head, Goat’s Beard, and Bear’s Head. The Chinese call it White Ghost’s
Breath, and use it as a medicinal herb. It is strongly suspected of being
immuno-activating. A few years ago, my legs would suddenly go asleep.
Sometimes while I was walking. Not every day nor every step, but it
became so frequent I was cautious of where I walked and what I did.
Within a week of eating Hericium erinaceous for the first time, this
symptom stopped as abruptly as it began.     A third, the Coral hericium,
likes Douglas fir, Western hemlock and perhaps true firs. It is massive
also, reaching 50 pounds.  I assume most of you have already heard of
shiitake, or Lentinus edodes. But the Northwest has a relative of
shiitake, called Train Wrecker, for its affinity to eating “preserved”
railroad ties. Train Wrecker forms huge mushrooms with a diameter of 20
inches or more. It fruits during summer and early fall in Central Oregon.
I believe I saw it once, about 50 feet high in a standing snag near
Detroit, Oregon. Southeast Asians are fond of its flavor when fresh. This
indicates another market, similar to matsutake.     As for shiitake, it
means literally “mushroom of the shiia tree.” But what is the shiia tree?
Chinese chestnut. Chestnuts are oaks that resemble our native chinquapin.
Other tree species for growing shiitake include white oaks, maple, Red
alder, birch and hickory. Maple is used mostly for sawdust cultivation. 
The preferred shiitake bed log is 2-8 inches in diameter, lacks side
branches, and is nearly straight. Any length log can be used if
inoculated where it falls. Selection is a function of weight.	   A
4-foot, 8-inch diameter fresh-cut oak log weighs about 120 pounds. Larger
diameter logs are difficult to inoculated quickly. Shiitake will also
spread to untreated Douglas fir lumber and conifer lathes. But I know of
no fruitings on this substrate.      Most of the world’s shiitake is
produced on sterlized sawdust-bran blocks, like this. This block conains
about 1 cent  worth of sawdust. It will produce about $10 worth of
mushrooms. This block is in its firth flush. It may produce another six
or seven over the next six months. The remaining materials make wonderful
soil enhancer.	  Modern tree farms are orchards.Their abundant
single-species biomass attracts parasites. Multi-species orchards provide
diversity and decrease parasites. Diversity also multiples the number of
marketable crops.      Consider the following plantation plan. It
includes a ratio of 1 Douglas fir to 2 Red alder to 1 chestnut. The Red
alder buffers both fir and chestnut. All three trees are associated with
trufles and false truffles. All grow rapidly with each other. All have
lumber potential. All grow up to 8 feet per year. Red alder grows
fastest, and increases the growth of nearby Douglas fir. At 4 to 10
inchees diameter, Red alder can be thinned or culled for shiitake
production. A cord of Red alder produces about 3,000 pounds of shiitake
worth $4 per pound locally. Chestnut is more valuable than Douglas fir
for lumber. It produces clear hardwood which is resistant to most fungi.
Once cut, chestnut regenerates from stumps. Chestnuts over 1,000 years
old are known. The Japanese harvest shiitake logs from shiia plantations
every 8 years, but seldom need to reforest.  J. Russell Smith in Tree
Crops notes chestnuts produce more food value than a similar acreage of
corn. And chestnuts like rocky, pool soil. Deer, turkey, bear, pigs and
cattle eat chestnuts; along with squirrels, mice, goats and large birds
like crows.    Grown on Oregon White oak and chestnut, shiitake produces
around $12,000 per cord with shiitake at $4 per pound.	      Maybe
forestry for lumber alone is economically flawed. The above data offers
food for thought, at least.	  According to work in progress, at least
5% of biomass needs to remain on the ground as woody debris more than 3
inches in diameter. This material could grow the next mushroom, 
Laetiporus sulphureus, or Chicken of the Woods. The mushroom was featured
in Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood, growing on old-growth beech. Chicken of
the Woods likes oak, maple, and is especially fond of Sitka spruce,
Douglas fir and Western hemlock here. The young growing tips are similar
to chicken nuggets when slow-cooked in a crock pot. It fruits in late
summer.    Chicken of the Woods can be utilized ton control root rots.
How? Root rots are adapted to slow, constant 55o in-soil growth. Almost
any sparophytic fungi outgrows them. Growing Chicken of the Woods serves
three purposes. It rejects root rot on stumps. It rots stumps faster.
Farmers can harvest clumps of a mushroom up to 50 pounds apiece worth $4
per pound retail.   The same method can be used with Grifola frondosa,
Hen of the Woods, in hardwood stands; or Sparassis radicata, the
Cauliflower mushoorm, in conifer stands. Hen of the Woods weighs up to 60
pounds, and has been shown to reduce serum cholesterol levels.	  Recent
data indicates Hen of the Woods is also effective against HIV in vitro.
However, more testing needs to be done before it can be deemed an
effective treatment.   An elk hunter in 1983 found an 86 pound
Cauliflower msuhroom, along with 4 others weighing 20 pounds apiece. He
sold them for $6 per pound. He didn’t get an elk, but he did bag $960
bucks - not a bad day’s work in 1983.	  Morels are a real Cinderella
story. Do you want to hear a fairy tale, boys and girls? Once upon a time
there was a young out-of-state college student. He found a morel patch.
There were morels as far as the eye could see.	(Okay, he was myopic.)
The struggling student knew in Minnesota, people would pay $16 a pound of
rmorels, at least that’s what the newspaper article said.	So the
student took a leave of absence, rented a refrigerated U-Haul truck, and
picked morels. He picked and he picked. And picked some more. And when he
was done he sold and sold. And sold some more. And he cleared enough
money to go to college for 3 years. Unlike Cinderella, this is a true
story.	   Mushroom, the Journal reported two patents have been granted
for morel cultivation in the last five years. Neither infringes on your
right to cultivate your own morels.	   Morels are considered
devastation mushrooms. They are common in clearcuts, after forest fires,
landslides and eruptions. Morels were the first life form seen after Mt.
St. Helens erupted. Within days.	Earlier this month I talked to
Mike McCrystal of Falls City. He told me that several friends picked
morels last year near Enterprise. In one day this group collected 2200
pounds of morels. They sold them to a mushroom broker the day after for
$10,000 cash.	     Oregon has at least three species of morels. One is
found under conifers, especially Douglas fir. Another prefers oaks. The
third is associated with cottonwoods and willow. This is good news if you
own a hybrid cottonwood stand.	  In the laboratory, morel mycelium grows
faster than most other fungi. It can cross a petri dish in 3 days. Two
years ago I inoculated a chipped debris trail with morels. Last March I
harvested the first crop - 17 morels weighing about 1.5 pounds.  Oyster
mushrooms are non-specific saprophytes. They are found on cottonwood and
other hardwood trees. To degrade hardwood stumps rapidly, spread oyster
spawn on the cut stump. Cover with fresh newspaper, then a layer of
plastic. Tie down. Wait two months then remove the plastic.	    Your
first crop should fruit within a yar.	   Oyster mushrooms have a
drawback. They produce copious spores. The spores grow on cellulose.
Human cell walls are cellulose. In other words, Oyster mushrooms can grow
on your lungs. If you must grow it, cultivate it in well- ventilated
areas or outside. Oyster mushrooms sell for $5 to $10 per pound, meaning
$1.25 to $2.50 to the grower. Expect one pound of mushrooms for every dry
pound of wood or other substrate. This fungus can turn straw into a
choice, easily digestivble fodder for cattle, chickens, pigs, sheep and
horses. According to Paul Stamets, calves prefer it to alfalfa hay.  At
$400 per dried pound, Ganoderma lucidum or Ling Zhi has potential. This
is an ancient medicinal, used by Chinese for at least 2300 years. It has
been shown to be an immuno-ativator, meaning it stimuatles your body’s
production of interferon. A January 14, 1993 Newsweek article claimed 50
Africans has been cured of AIDS after taking minescule doses of
interferon.	    Two scientific papers have been done on AIDS and
interferon in the US. The first indicated interferon had no effect on the
AIDS virus. The second was more specific. It shows that although
interferon didn’t kill the virus, the virus didn’t replicate when
interferon was present.   Chinese doctors often prescribe LIng Zhi.
Although it may not help, it never harms. Unlike Oyster mushroom spores
which die at about 101 degrees F., Ling Zhi spores die around 89 degrees
F.   Three species of Ganoderma are found in the U.S. Two are common in
Oregon and Washington. I have grown both. I strongly suspect, and David
Aurora agrees, that Ganoderma lucidum and our native Ganodermas are
actually the same fungus growing on different substrates in different
climates.  Grow your own Ling Zhi from Fungi Perfecti of Olympia, WA. for
about $30. You can purchase Ling Zhi from the same source. Or your can
collect it wild from August to November on Douglas fir and Western
hemlock stumps. It is sometimes is called the Shellac Shelf for the shiny
red to maroon surface of the fungus.	     Blewitt, Washington is one
of the few towns named for a mushroom. The Blewit is a conifer needle,
twig and straw degrader. Prolific, it is relatively easy to identify and
can be sold for about $4 per pound. It fruits from late autumn to early
spring. I’ve grown it on both straw and Douglas fir needles.	     The
last fungi is Stropharia rugosa-annulata, aka Giant Stropharia, aka
Gartenreisse, aka Wine-Cap Stropharia. It doens’t last long, becomes
wormy rapidly, and may die if  temperatures drop to 20 degrees F. 
Against that, it is large, flavorful and easy to cultivate on hardwood
chips. It is especially fond of Red alder. Try selling it to specialty
markets and restaurants for around $6 per pound. Since it fruits during
the summer, it is not in competition with almost any other mushroom. It
likes to have chip beds covered with about 6 inches of soil, making it
attrative for raised-bed gardeners.	   Although every tree farmer is
a mushroom grower, not everyone is successful at etiher or both. When the
Northwest Shiitake Association formed in 1987, about 200 people tried
growing shiitake. Of this number, perhaps 20 were successful. Production
of any fungi requires careful planning and marketing strategies.	
To learn more about shiitake, join the Northwest Shiitake Association.
Also buy and read Gorwing Shiitake by Paul Przybilowitcz, and The
Mushroom Cultivator by Stamets and Chilton.    Need to learn more about
fungi? Read every mushroom book you can find. Memorize scientific names.
Join the Oregon Mycological Society, the Mid- Willamette Mycological
Society in Salem, or the Lincoln County Mycological Society in Lincoln
City. Spend time with mushroom growers. Visit farms such as Rock Hill in
Lebanon. Learn how to recognize fungi. Get involved. Subscribe the
Mushroom the Journal. David Aurora’s Mushrooms Demystified  and All The
Rain Promises are excellent resources.	      To learn more about
truffles, join the North American Truffling Society. Attend the monthly
forages. Send in collections. Flyers for this organization are on the
back table, or send a postcard to PO Box 296, Corvallis, OR 97330. This
afternoon you can attend a forage and find a truffle yourself. Learn how
to describe and submit truffles for free identification.     To learn
about marketing mushrooms, contact Jerry Larson at the Oregon Department
of Agriculture in Salem. Talk to mushroom buyers and sellers. Check want
ads in your local paper to find mushroom buyers.     One last comment
before I take questions. The first person who sells a poisonous mushroom
that causes a death will a: be charged with manslaughter or murder; b:
immediate depress all mushroom markets; c: probably be prosecuted, fined
and sued to the full extent of the law. If you are going to sell
mushrooms, be positive of your identification. Here is a simple key:
Don’t sell what you wouldn’t eat yourself. There are many look-alikes. 
Thank you for attending.	Any questions?

Daniel B. Wheeler

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