Newbie picker seeks advice, fellow hunters

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at
Wed Jun 19 04:01:01 EST 2002

Bill Walker <bhw at> wrote in message news:<pgpmoose.200206120944.3509 at>...
> Hi all,
> After many long years of hesitation, I've decided that I'd like to
> explore the world of mushrooms that don't come dried in a bag, or worse,
> packed in a can.
> I have 'Krieger' and a Simon and Schuster identification guide, but
> without someone standing next to me eating the same mushroom, I doubt
> that I would ever have enough bravery/stupidity to risk my life eating a
> mushroom whose identification was only based upon my novice skills.
> Especially since I've seen some convincing pictures of edibles and
> fatally poisonous mushrooms growing side by side.
> Eeek.
There's a simple way to keep from eating the poisonous varieties,
Bill. Learn them first. Forewarned is fore-armed.
> I'd appreciate any and all efforts to introduce me to Northestern US
> mycophagia, and if there are enthusiasts near MD who I could go hunting
> with, that would be a huge plus.
Can't help you much there, Bill. I'm in that Nirvana of mycophagists
> I'm currently interested in a huge orange/pink globular mushroom that is
> growing out of the ground at the base of a very large tree.  This thing
> seems to pop up every year and is very solid and heavy.  I haven't seen
> anything resembling it in any of my identification manuals, but I will
> collect a specimen and try to provide a more rigorous textual
> description and perhaps even a photograph.
That's a stumper. It's very solid and heavy. Not a giant puffball,
then, since they tend to be rather light-weight for the mass. Does it
have gills? Pores? How large is huge? And perhaps most important, what
kind of a tree is it growing near?

There are some fruitings of Dryad Saddle up now (Polyporus squamosus).
According to Aurora's Mushrooms Demystified, it "is larger (cap 6-30
(60) cm broad and stalk up to 5 cm thick) and paler with dense,
flattened brown to dark brown scales (but may become darker brown
overall in age) and very large pores (1-10mm each in largest
dimension). It usually grows solitary or clustered on hardwoods (often
living) rather than on the ground and its stem, when well-developed,
usually has a black base. In North America it is most common east of
the Rocky Mountains, but occurs occasionally in Washington and
California." Only problem is Dryad Saddle isn't very globular.

Send me a jpeg if possible and I'll take a guess. But I should warn
you I don't have much experience with eastern mushrooms. OTOH, Oregon
has _a lot_ of different things here that aren't seen often in other
parts of the US.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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