Fungi fd. 10/26/98

dwheeler at teleport.com dwheeler at teleport.com
Tue Oct 27 15:07:35 EST 1998


The morning of Oct. 26 was glorious in Portland: clear, clean, a little
brisk, bright; in other words the perfect day to go looking for truffles and
mushrooms.

Deciding on a site in the higher Cascades near Timothy Lake, Bob Brittain and
I loaded the trusty Geo and sallied forth! Most of the first hour or so was
spent walking in a old-growth forest I came across a few years ago, while
gathering the odd White chanterelle (Cantharellus subalbidus) and other
edibles. But while returning almost to where the Geo was parked, Bob spotted
the first (and only) matsutake of the day: still slightly covered with moss,
but with gills nearly planar.

A few miles up the road and we arrived at a replanted clearcut of perhaps 15
years of age. In this area, for the first time I found truffles
(Rhizopogons?, Zelleromyces? others?) between the drip line and trunk of
several trees: Whitebark pine, Lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, Snowbrush
ceanothus, Trailing blackberry, Western pippsissewa. I suspect that these are
new to me, and will be eagerly awaiting word from Dr. James Trappe on
identification of these collections.

I even found, for the first time, a well-involved pupae parasitized by some
form of fungus. I hope it can also be identified. Somehow I suspect this is
not the well-known Bacillus thurengensis in action.

One of the Rhizopogons? was found nearly 3 inches deep, under a largish rock
that itself was over an inch deep. While raking, I saw a flash of white
underneath the rock, and carefully unearthed the whole thing. It was large,
off- white, pale buff gleba while fresh (probably indicating immaturity.
DARN!) and nearly 2 inches across: very unusual for a Rhizopogon in my
experience, and certainly the largest specimen I unearthed today.

Another oddish fungus was fruiting sandwiched between rocks. This oddity was
nearly square as a result, and have a peridium only at the top and bottom,
but not around the sides! The gleba of this possible Zelleromyces was dark
greenish- gray, bruising black near what would have been the peridium and the
peridium when sliced in two.

Now it's time to get my collections dried for identification, and make notes
on the envelopes.

The matsutake?

Oh yes, Bob sliced it thin for me, adding it to a can of Campbell's Chicken
Noodle Soup, creating a sublime infusion that is nearly beyond words. Now I
understand what all the ruckus is about this tastey mushroom. But the oddest
think about finding it was I didn't expect to find it there: in old-growth
forest, watered by a nearby culvert, near a Western hemlock nearly 2 feet in
diameter, which in turn was probably the smallest tree within a 60 foot
radius. Most of the Douglas fir here is 3-8 feet in diameter.

Call me a tree hugger is you like. I do love to hug these behemoths! And in
their presence I find much peace and tranquility.

I just wish I could grow them a little faster. ;)

Daniel B. Wheeler
http://www.oregonwhitetruffles.com

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