Newbie picker seeks advice, fellow hunters

Basidium basidium at
Thu Jun 20 04:06:35 EST 2002

>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.

First, throw out the Krieger and the S&S; the former is exceedingly outdated,
and the latter is an English translation of an Italian book.  OK, don't really
throw them out, but get a good modern field guide or three to use.  The
vinyl-bound "Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms" is
excellent for the Northeast, though naturally I heartily recommend the more
voluminous "Mushrooms of Northeastern North America."

>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.

There are two good clubs in your general area: the Triangle Area Mushroom Club
and the Mycological Association of Washington D.C.  Contact information is at

>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.

Sounds almost certainly like either the common "Sulphur Shelf" or "Chicken
Mushroom" (_Laetiporus sulphureus_) or its var. _semialbinus_.  I'm presuming
that by "globular" you're referring to the overall shape, rather than saying
that the mushroom is genuinely spherical.  L. sulphureus var. semialbinus, in
particular, grows quite consistently in large rosettes of overlapping shelflike

And I'm gonna' guess that the very large tree is an oak.  ;-)
David W. Fischer
~check out audio samples from my new CD at
Coauthor, "Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America" and
   "Mushrooms of Northeastern North America"

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