Touring France for Mushroom Hats: Could Anything Be Mushroom

1 The Mycophile, September/October 2007 Volume 48:4–5 S eptember ⁄ October 2007 Continued on page 10 Mushroom Hats: Could Anything Be More Chic? by Dick Sieger No, not those cloches from Nord- strom’s. These hats are made from mushrooms by artisans in Bohemia, Romania, and Hungary. They look like doeskin—yellow-brown and soft with a short visor and odd, embossed appliqués. I bought mine, along with a placemat, in the magnificent public market in Budapest in 1999. The hat cost about $25. I’ve been trying ever since to find out how mushroom hats are made. Paul Kroeger found references to mushroom products of Eastern Europe in three books from his library. From The Romance of the Fungus World, 1925, we learn that “while amadou (Fomes fomentarius) finds in various parts of the Continent, particularly in Bohemia, a variety of employment in addition to the usual one [tinder]. Thus, not only are caps, aprons, and various articles of dress made from it, but also chest protectors, picture frames, ornaments and other articles.” The Dictionary of Economic Plants, 1966, tells us about “Fomes fomen- tarium,” writing that “Recently it has been used for manufacture of buttons, bedroom slippers, flower pots, smoking caps, etc. Used by dentists for absorption and compressing,” This suggests two forms: hard, hollowed-out conks, and soft fabric-like material. Therapeutics Materia Medica and Pharmacy, 1926, says that “AGARICUS CHIRURGORUM, Surgeons’ Agaric (Unofficial)—is the interior portion of the fungus Fomes fomentarius, which grows on the trunks of beeches, birches, and oaks in Europe. It is prepared for use by boiling in weak lye and beating with mallets, and then occurs in light, thin, yellowish-brown pieces, soft and pliable, without odor and taste. . . . It was formerly used as a mechanical hemostatic, and for the purpose of moxa [material burned on the skin as a counterirritant].” Storm, a fellow who studies primitive technologies, showed me a piece of fabric that was similar to my placemat. It had been made by pounding the interior tube layers of Fomes fomentarius into a felt. Adolph Ceska, who studied in Prague, wrote, “I have no idea about the by L. Anathea Brooks, M.S. Those of you planning to attend the international foray in Poitou at the end of October this year will be warmly welcomed in France. “Talking mushrooms” can be your link to a richer experience in a land where they are taken seriously. This invited note pro- vides a few ideas to round out a mushroom-focused trip to France. First, you probably want a good guide to the fungi of France. Fortunately, Prof. Régis Corte- cuisse, eminent mycologist and current President of the Société Mycologique de France—which, like NAMA, gathers both profes- sional and amateur mycologists— has contributed to several excel- lent guides. Avoid less expansive, translated guides and look for Guide des champignons de France et Continued on page 7 Touring France for Mushroom Lovers From the Editor .............................. 2 Forays and Announcements ......... 3 Fungi in the News .......................... 5 Book Reviews ............................... 8 Sustainability and Fungi ............. 10 Key to Club Forayers .................. 12 Wildacres Application Form ...... 13 Riddles ......................................... 13 Obituary: Peter Katsaros ............. 14 Summer Mushroom Sightings .... 15 Culinary Corner ........................... 15 Mushroom of the Month ............. 16 In this issue: Alissa Allen models her mushroom hat.

Transcript of Touring France for Mushroom Hats: Could Anything Be Mushroom

1 The Mycophile, September/October 2007

Volume 48:4–5 September ⁄ October 2007

Continued on page 10

Mushroom Hats: Could Anything BeMore Chic?by Dick Sieger

No, not those cloches from Nord-strom’s. These hats are made frommushrooms by artisans in Bohemia,Romania, and Hungary. They looklike doeskin—yellow-brown and softwith a short visor and odd, embossedappliqués. I bought mine, along witha placemat, in the magnificent publicmarket in Budapest in 1999. The hatcost about $25.

I’ve been trying ever since to findout how mushroom hats are made.Paul Kroeger found references tomushroom products of Eastern Europein three books from his library.

From The Romance of the FungusWorld, 1925, we learn that “whileamadou (Fomes fomentarius) finds invarious parts of the Continent,particularly in Bohemia, a variety of employment in addition to the usualone [tinder]. Thus, not only are caps, aprons, and various articles of dressmade from it, but also chest protectors, picture frames, ornaments andother articles.”

The Dictionary of Economic Plants, 1966, tells us about “Fomes fomen-tarium,” writing that “Recently it has been used for manufacture of buttons,bedroom slippers, flower pots, smoking caps, etc. Used by dentists forabsorption and compressing,” This suggests two forms: hard, hollowed-outconks, and soft fabric-like material.

Therapeutics Materia Medica and Pharmacy, 1926, says that “AGARICUSCHIRURGORUM, Surgeons’ Agaric (Unofficial)—is the interior portion ofthe fungus Fomes fomentarius, which grows on the trunks of beeches,birches, and oaks in Europe. It is prepared for use by boiling in weak lyeand beating with mallets, and then occurs in light, thin, yellowish-brownpieces, soft and pliable, without odor and taste. . . . It was formerly used asa mechanical hemostatic, and for the purpose of moxa [material burned onthe skin as a counterirritant].”

Storm, a fellow who studies primitive technologies, showed me a pieceof fabric that was similar to my placemat. It had been made by poundingthe interior tube layers of Fomes fomentarius into a felt.

Adolph Ceska, who studied in Prague, wrote, “I have no idea about the

by L. Anathea Brooks, M.S.

Those of you planning to attendthe international foray in Poitouat the end of October this yearwill be warmly welcomed inFrance. “Talking mushrooms” canbe your link to a richer experiencein a land where they are takenseriously. This invited note pro-vides a few ideas to round out amushroom-focused trip to France.

First, you probably want agood guide to the fungi of France.Fortunately, Prof. Régis Corte-cuisse, eminent mycologist andcurrent President of the SociétéMycologique de France—which,like NAMA, gathers both profes-sional and amateur mycologists—has contributed to several excel-lent guides. Avoid less expansive,translated guides and look forGuide des champignons de France et

Continued on page 7

Touring France forMushroom Lovers

From the Editor .............................. 2

Forays and Announcements ......... 3

Fungi in the News .......................... 5

Book Reviews ............................... 8

Sustainability and Fungi ............. 10

Key to Club Forayers .................. 12

Wildacres Application Form ...... 13

Riddles ......................................... 13

Obituary: Peter Katsaros ............. 14

Summer Mushroom Sightings .... 15

Culinary Corner ........................... 15

Mushroom of the Month ............. 16

In this issue:

Alissa Allen models her mushroom hat.

2The Mycophile, September/October 2007

The Mycophile is published bimonthlyby the North American MycologicalAssociation, 6615 Tudor Court,Gladstone, OR 97027-1032.

NAMA is a nonprofit corporation;contributions may be tax-deductible.

Web site: www.namyco.orgIsaac Forester, NAMA PresidentP.O. Box 1107North Wilkesboro, NC 28659-1107<[email protected]>

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Otherwise—you may not be gettingyour newsletter for a while. Eachissue, several Mycophiles arereturned as undeliverable because ofno forwarding address on file. NAMAis charged seventy cents for eachreturned or forwarded newsletter.


Summer Mushroom SightingsA number of photos have come to me (I always enjoy them, so keep ’emcoming!) over the summer of different mushrooms that have been spottedacross North America—some on lawns, in woodlands, in collecting baskets,and others adorning the license plates of cars.

Pluteus longistriatus (above) and Pholiota highlandensis (below), foundgrowing around the campfire ring at a state park. Photos courtesy of JohnPlischke III.

Summer mushroom photos continue on page 15

3 The Mycophile, September/October 2007

F O R A Y S & A N N O U N C E M E N T S

Continued on page 4

54th Charles Horton Peck ForayLock Haven, PennsylvaniaSeptember 21–23, 2007

The 2007 Charles Horton PeckAnnual New York State MushroomForay unites lovers of mushroomsand other fungi for a weekend ofcollecting and identification. Hostedsince 1954 by a different volunteerorganizer each year, the foray willbe held this year in Sieg ConferenceCenter at Lock Haven University.Guest speakers are Bill Russell,author of the new Field Guide to theWild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania andthe Mid-Atlantic, and Taylor Lock-wood, photographer and author ofthe new book Chasing the Rain.

4th Int’l Medicinal MushroomConferenceLlubljana, SloveniaSeptember 23–27, 2007

Slovenia, a member state of theEuropean Union will host IMMC4 inits historical capital, Ljubljana. Theevent provides a creative andinformative milieu for mycologistsand mycology students, medicaldoctors, immunologists, contagiousdisease specialists, naturopaths,ecologists, bioremediators and allthose who are interested in investi-gating the most current research onthe biological properties of mush-rooms to discuss topics in 1) System-atics, taxonomy, distribution, ecol-ogy, and fungal culture collections;2) Medicinal value and pharmacol-ogy of mushroom active compounds;3) Mushroom nutraceuticals;4) Fungal physiology, biochemistryand genetics; 5) Mycotechnology andmushroom cultivation; 6) Myco-remediation; 7) Medicinal mush-room species; and 8) Ethnomycology,folk medicine and homeopathy. Asof March ‘07 over 180 abstracts hadbeen received. For information onregistration, accommodation, andsocial program, visit the Web

Foray Newfoundland &LabradorSeptember 28–30, 2007Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland

Explore mushrooms in boreal forest,bogs, subarctic tundra, subalpinehilltop, coastal meadows and dunes.Mycologist faculty includes BrittBunyard, Dave Malloch, FayeMurrin, Tuula Niskanen, JorindeNuytinck, Greg Thorn, Gary Warren.Cost: about $200 CAD. Registrationforms and more detailed informationshould become available on our Website,

2007 Gary Lincoff Mid AtlanticMushroom ForaySeptember 15, 2007

Don’t miss out on one of the largestforays in North America! Featuredspeaker is Gary Lincoff, plus guestmycologists Renee Lebeuf, BillRussell, and Dave Miller. For moreinformation see the Mar/Apr issueMycophile or contact John PlischkeIII, (724) 834-2358; email <[email protected]>.

2007 Mexican Mushroom ToursSeptember 21–30, 2007

A few spaces have just opened up soit’s not too late! Details were printedin the Mar/Apr Mycophile, and anitinerary outline appear on the Website, ContactGundi Jeffrey & Erik Purre, foundersof Myco Aficionados of Mexico; tel/fax: (from El Norte): 011-52 (246) 461-8829 or e-mail <[email protected]>.

10th NAMA Wildacres ForaySeptember 27–30, 2007

NAMA celebrates the 10th anniver-sary of Wildacres! Dr. Andy Methvenwill again grace us with his southernexpertise as lead mycologist, and Dr.Walt Sundberg will serve as recorder.Foray is limited to 50 members,double occupancy.

In the beginning, Dr. OrsonMiller served us as mycologist, andHope Miller did the recording.Through the years Drs. GregMueller, Patrick Leacock, andDennis Desjardin also have beeninvited mycologists, with muchassistance from Drs. ColemanMcCleneghan, Richard Baird, OwenMcConnell, Rod Tulloss, Bart Buyck,and Glenn Freeman. Additionally,Bill Roody, Donna Mitchell, JayJustice, Dave Lewis and GlennBoyd have given valuable skills andknowledge, to name just a few ofthe enlightened. Somehow, we allhave managed to get into the actand contribute, even to the musicand (on occasion) exotic dancing inthe evenings. Ursula Pohl makesmagic with some of the offerings,and the dye contingent has gonewild with some of the hues theyhave discovered. Gabrielle Zeiglerhas tales to tell since she hasattended all but one of these forays.We originally held our displays inthe north classroom, under thelobby, but our unique aromas,especially after a couple of days,drove the establishment to find thepottery shed a better fit.

What sets Wildacres apart:◆ our continuing discovery of more

and more species new to thearea, even in the same forayingsites

◆ some very rare collectionsincluding a newly describedRussula

◆ an Amanita new to NorthAmerica

◆ the easy and casual foraying trips◆ the spectacular Blue Ridge

Parkway and Mount Mitchell◆ conviviality with folks with other

unusual interests◆ Great food, and, best of all:◆ the Special Ambience of


4The Mycophile, September/October 2007

Forays and Announcements,continued from page 3

To make this a very special event,we are requesting any sort ofmemorabilia that would be suitablefor a display. Stories, old photo-graphs, artwork and, heaven forbid,old mushrooms are welcome.Register now; registration form inthis issue. See you in September!

2007 Mushroom Conferenceat BreitenbushOctober 18–21, 2007Detroit Oregon

The 2007 Mushroom Conference atBreitenbush Hot Springs Resort willfeature the poisons, psychoactivity,and passions of mushrooms andmushroomers of the Pacific North-west. Our expert mycologists willteach you to positively identify themushrooms, and our chefs willdemonstrate how to prepare andpreserve our delectable forest andfield fungi. Mycologists and expertswill lecture and tell stories ofmushrooms, hunting, and feasting.

Guided field trips, lectures,cooking and preservation andidentification workshops will fill thetime between soaking in the hotwaters of the natural springs. Thepractitioners of healing arts atBreitenbush can soothe your tiredmuscles after hiking to collect fungifor both the identification and dinnertables. Treat yourself to an educa-tional, delicious, and relaxingautumnal event in the midst of theold growth forests of Oregon.

Reservations and info:, or phone (503)854-3320. Reservations are requiredfor overnight stays and day use.Costs of the mushroom conferenceare $145 plus three days lodging (seeWeb site for daily rates–Breitenbushrates vary with type of cabin re-quested). General information by e-mail: <[email protected]>.Please e-mail Patrice Benson withquestions about the conference:<[email protected]> orphone (206) 819-4842.

11th Annual SOMA WildMushroom Camp ’08January 19–21, 2008Occidental, CA

Three days of great fun! Expertspeakers (TBA), forays, classes,workshops, artwork, specimentables, feasts, presentations, mush-room chefs and much more! Registeronline at, contact <[email protected]>, or call(707) 773-1011.

Check out these low fees: $275full weekend, $215 with offsitelodging, $125 Sunday only. Includeslodging in shared, comfy cabins, allmeals, and great mushroom camara-derie. Check the SOMA Web site forEarlybird Specials before Nov. 15.

Decorative Morel MushroomTiles and Coasters

I just discovered Moondance Gifts(, a cutelittle shop in the small town of WestBend, WI. The shop is packed withall sorts of decorative items for justabout any interest, but I was fasci-nated by the decorative tiles—inparticular, the rustic-looking morelmushroom tiles. Laurie, the shop’sowner, also sells morel tile coastersand can do any sort of custom work,if morels aren’t your favoritemushroom. The coasters are approx.4x4 inches. Stone marble tiles areused for coasters and hold up verywell. They have a cork backing. Fordecorative tiles, 4.25” x 4.25” glossyceramic tiles are used. Theseactually show the detail beautifully,where the stone tiles don’t show offthe detail as well but have an old-world, rustic look. Other sizes oftiles include 6x6, 6x8, 8x10, andmurals any size, depending onquality of original image. Themurals are several tiles put togetherwith one image and are beautiful.Laurie takes her own photos, andalso can do custom work for custom-ers who send their own images viae-mail, flickr, mail, etc. The stonetiles can take some heat but willeventually fade from the heat. Theyalso will fade some if hung out-

doors, or in a very sunny, hotlocation. Otherwise, they last fine.Laurie has been doing them forabout five years and has some thatare that old and still look fine. Theretail prices are 4x4 for $5.00, 6x6for $8.50; 6x8 for $10.50; 8x8 for$12.50; 8x10 for $15.50. Contact herat <[email protected]>or tel. (262) 306-1862.

For Sale: Very Rare Find

Offered by Lawrence Nagel:Alexander Smith’s Mushrooms in TheirNatural Habitats, 1949, Sawyer’sInc., was given to me many yearsago by my long deceased godpar-ents, Walter and Anna Boychuk. It isinscribed by the work’s photogra-pher, William Gruber: “To Anna andWalter Boychuk with many goodwishes, Wm. B. Gruber, July 29 –’50; This volume is #1 off the press.”Walter Boychuk was a well-knownphotographer in Oregon in the1930s–1950s and a close friend ofMr. Gruber. The two volumes havebeen kept in almost pristine condi-tion, including the ViewMaster andall 33 reels of stereo photos.These rare volumes are quitevaluable. I would like to find acollector who is interested in buyingthem. Contact Lawrence Nagel (541)482-5717 or <[email protected]>.

New! NAMA EducationalCommittee DVDs

Five new educational DVDs are nowavailable (as of 7/2007) from NAMA,and many more are planned overthe coming two years. The DVDscontain PowerPoint presentationswith an audio track and include aWord file of the text that can beprinted out and read on occasionswhen audio is not available. Theyalso contain a file about NAMA andinstructions on how to use the DVD.The DVD can be viewed as a nar-rated slide show with narration orindividual frames can be viewed inany order while displaying the textbelow each frame. Requests for theDVDs should be handled the sameas requests for slide-tape programs

Continued on page 14

5 The Mycophile, September/October 2007


Wow, the journals have really beenpiling up over the busy summermonths. From the latest two issuesof MSA’s Mycologia we find adiversity of topics covered.

From fungi that get around withthe help of arthropods . . . Greifand Currah (99[1]: 7–19) published asurvey of some 1,700 individualsaprophytic fungi, representing 65species, that were carried by arthro-pods and caught in baited traps setin aspen-dominated woodland inwestern Canada. And just what doesone use as bait for saprophyticfungi? The authors—no doubt to befeatured in an upcoming episode of“Dirtiest Jobs”—used coyote dung,moose dung, white-rotted wood,brown-rotted wood, and fiberglass(as a control). The fungi wereisolated in pure culture and identi-fied. Isolates of cosmopolitan fungaltaxa such as species of Cladospo-rium, Penicillium, and Beauveria werethe most numerous. Taxa withpredilections for specific substrates,such as Myxotrichum and Crypten-doxyla, which are known inhabitantsof cellulose-rich materials (e.g.rotted wood), and various represen-tatives of the keratinophilic Onyge-nales were recovered from arthro-pods attracted respectively to baitsrich in cellulose and keratin. Ifyou’re keeping score at home,Diptera (the two-winged, true flies)were the most numerous arthropodscaught and carried the widest diver-sity and most numbers of fungalspecies per individual arthropod.This research is further evidencethat bugs and fungi really know howto get along!

. . . to fungi that stay put but(possibly) attract arthropods,using bioluminescence. The coverof the latest issue of Mycologiafeatures a photo of bioluminescentmushrooms taken from a paper byDesjardin et al. (99[2]: 317–31)describing six species (two that are

new to science) of bioluminescentmycenas from a single site inprimary Atlantic Forest habitat in theParque Estadual Turístico do AltoRibeira, São Paulo State, Brazil.These include two new taxa ofMycena, viz. M. asterina and M.lucentipes. Luminescence in Mycenafera, M. singeri, and M. discobasis isreported for the first time. In addi-tion, an undeterminable lumines-cent Mycena species is described, andadditional specimens of Gerronemaviridilucens are documented.

The authors summarize knownbioluminescent species of Mycenaand provide a discussion of possiblereasons for glowing in the dark. Is itto attract arthropods—possiblevectors of spores? Is it to warn offmycophagous arthropods? Is itsimply a random process? Is itmerely a byproduct of anotherchemical process, such as scaveng-ing free radicals formed duringnormal metabolism? The answer toall these questions is . . . maybe.More work is ongoing, but theresearchers remain in the dark, so tospeak. (The paper describes howspecimens must be collected in thedark.) The authors note, “Collectingspecimens at night is a productive,albeit potentially dangerous, methodof documenting the diversity ofbioluminescent fungi.” Remember,this work was done in the tropicalrainforests of Brazil.

Another idea to ponder is thatwithin the genus Mycena there areat least 33 species, from 16 sections,known to bioluminesce. Many moredo not, of course. And this begs thequestion: did bioluminescenceevolve once and was the trait lostmany different times throughouthistory, or did it evolve manydifferent and independent timeswithin the genus? Of course, theformer scenario is more parsimoni-ous. Either way, the trait seems tobe of some benefit as it’s retained inso many species of fungi. Picturedon page 15 is Mycena lucentipes

shown in the light and glowing inthe dark (photos used with permis-sion of the author). For this study,film exposure times ranged from 20to 50 minutes.

Morels are fruiting . . . in thepages of Mycological Research.The biotic and abiotic factors condi-tioning morel fruit body productionare incompletely known. (Of course,countless theories, myths, andsuperstitions exist and are overheardeach Spring across North America.)

Mihail et al. (111[3]: 339–46)examined spatial and temporalpatterns of Morchella esculentafruiting over five years in a woodedsite in Missouri. (Naturally, theywon’t tell you exactly where!)Fruiting onset was inversely corre-lated with spring air and soil tem-peratures, whereas abundance waspositively correlated with rain events(>10 mm) during the 30 dayspreceding fruiting. The two yearswith the greatest fruiting had theshortest fruiting seasons (6–7 days).Fruiting season length was posi-tively correlated with soil warming,suggesting that a narrow range ofoptimum soil temperatures favor theexplosive production of fruit bodies.All woody stems of at least 1 cmdiameter were mapped and stemdiameter and crown condition werenoted. Morel fruit bodies weresignificantly closer to stems of Caryaspp., Tilia americana, and Ulmusamericana than predicted by thefrequencies of these woody speciesor their contribution to the totalbasal area on the site. The spatialpattern of M. esculenta fruitingappears to be associated withvegetation pattern, whereas theonset and abundance of fruiting aredetermined by the interaction ofspring temperatures with availabilityof supporting precipitation.

I have a couple additional noteson this paper. I was a little disap-pointed to see so few specimens

Continued on page 6

6The Mycophile, September/October 2007

collected for this study: from 2001 to2005, respectively, they collected 35,14, 58, 8, and 16 ascocarps perseason. The first day of fruitingranged days 104–110 of each year.Length of fruiting season, which hasgot to be way less than in the north-ern parts of North America, was 6,10, 7, 13, and 15, respectively. Maxi-mum air temperatures ranged 22–30ºC, and minimum air tempsranged 0.3–4ºC. Maximum soiltemperatures ranged 12.6–19ºC;minimum soil temps changed verylittle, ranging 9.7–10.7ºC. Besideswater, no other abiotic factors seemto be that tightly correlated to theamount of fruitbodies produced.However, there seems to be acorrelation between number offruitings and length of season: themore fruitings, the shorter theseason.

George Poinar has discoveredcountless species of fossilizedinsects entombed within ancientchunks of amber. In a recent issueof Mycological Research he providesevidence of mycoparasitism andhypermycoparasitism (111[4]: 503–06) demonstrated in Early Creta-ceous Burmese amber. The agaric,Palaeoagaracites antiquus gen. sp.nov., is parasitized by the myco-parasite Mycetophagites atrebora gen.sp. nov., which in turn is parasitizedby the hyperparasite Entropezitespatricii gen. sp. nov. This discoveryshows that sophisticated patterns offungal parasitism were well devel-oped some 100 million years ago.The mushroom host in this study isthe oldest known agaric mushroomever found.

Hohenbuehelia are fruiting inChina . . . I was intrigued to findamong the pages of the latest issue(Vol. 14, No. 1) of the prominentChinese journal Acta Edulis Fungithat the wild mushroom Hohenbue-helia is becoming an importantcultivated species in the Far East.Two papers describe the state of theresearch in China: “Extraction of

carbohydrate from Hohenbueheliaserotina fruit bodies” by Chen andLin and “Effect of selected cultureparameters on the growth of Hohen-buehelia petaloides mycelium” byZhu et al.

. . . and other fungi are workingon suntans in eastern Europe.With summer all around us, we canthank a chemical called melaninthat protects our skin from harmfulamounts of light radiation comingfrom the sun. Fungi rely on mela-nin, too. Melanin is a high-molecu-lar-weight pigment, ubiquitous innature, with a variety of biologicalfunctions. The term “melanin”originates from melanos—a Greekword for black. Believe it or not,many fungi constitutively synthesizemelanin, which is likely to confer asurvival advantage in the environ-ment by protecting against UV andsolar radiation.

Melanin pigments are ubiqui-tous in nature. Melanized microor-ganisms inhabit some remarkablyextreme environments, includinghigh altitude, Arctic, and Antarcticregions. Most dramatically, mela-nized fungal species colonize thewalls of the highly radioactivedamaged reactor at Chernobyl andsurrounding soils. Dadachova et al.published these findings, as well asobservations of the resistance ofmelanized fungi to ionizing radia-tion, and suggest a role for thispigment in radioprotection in thefree access online research journalPublic Library of Science (2007;5: 1–13). The researchers hypothe-size that ionizing radiation couldchange the electronic properties ofmelanin and might enhance thegrowth of melanized microorganisms.

Research assays showed in-creased metabolic activity of mela-nized strains of Cryptococcus neofor-mans cells relative to non-melanizedcell strains. Melanized Wangielladermatitidis and C. neoformans cellsexposed to ionizing radiation ap-proximately 500 times higher thanbackground grew significantly fasterthan non-irradiated melanized cellsor irradiated albino mutants. Inaddition, radiation enhanced the

growth of melanized Cladosporiumsphaerospermum cells under limitednutrients conditions. This raisesintriguing questions about a poten-tial role for melanin in energycapture and utilization.

The role of melanin in micro-organisms living in high electromag-netic radiation fluxes is even moreintriguing when the pigment isconsidered from a paleobiologicalperspective. Many fungal fossilsappear to be melanized. Melanizedfungal spores are common in thesediment layers of the early Creta-ceous period when many species ofanimals and plants died out, whichcoincides with the Earth’s crossingthe “magnetic zero” resulting in theloss of its “shield” against cosmicradiation. Radiation from a putativepassing star called Nemesis has alsobeen suggested as a cause of extinc-tion events. The proliferation ofmelanotic fungi may even havecontributed to the mass extinctionsat the end of Cretaceous period. Asymbiotic association of plants and amelanotic fungus that allows forextreme thermotolerance has beenattributed to heat dissipating proper-ties of melanin. Melanotic fungiinhabit the extraordinarly harshclimate of Antarctica. Hence, mela-nins are ancient pigments thatprobably have been selected becausethey enhance the survival of mela-nized fungi in diverse environmentsand, perhaps incidentally, in varioushosts. The emergence of melanin asa non-specific bioprotective materialmay be a result of the relative easewith which these complicated aro-matic structures can be synthesizedfrom a great variety of precursors.

Despite the high prevalence ofmelanotic microorganisms in radio-active environments, it is unlikelythat melanin is synthesized solelyfor the purposes of protection(shielding) from ionizing radiation.On the other hand, biological pig-ments play a major role in photosyn-thesis by converting the energy oflight into chemical energy. Chloro-phylls and carotenoids absorb lightof certain wavelengths and helpconvert photonic energy into chemi-cal energy during photosynthesis.

Fungi in the News,continued from page 5

7 The Mycophile, September/October 2007

From the New York Times . . .Some ten years ago, about 13,000hazelnut trees inoculated withPérigord black truffle spores wereplanted by the Wine and TruffleCompany near Manjimup, south ofPerth, in Western Australia. In thelast couple of years, the plantationhas been tripled in size to about 250acres, with oak trees planted, too.

Dogs that had been trained todetect cocaine and explosives weregiven a glamorous new career: lastyear they sniffed out more than 200pounds of black truffles. This yearthe harvest has quadrupled, export-ing has begun, and restaurants inthe United States, including theFrench Laundry in Yountville, Cali-fornia, and Lever House in NewYork, are using the truffles. BecauseAustralia is in the southern hemi-sphere and the seasons are reversed,black truffles in July are somethingof a surprise.

Since worldwide production offine black truffles has droppedsharply in the last ten years, Austra-lia’s news is welcome for devoteesof Tuber melanosporum. The truffles,which are intensely aromatic, inkyblack, and sometimes the size oftennis balls, are in season from Juneto September. Truffle hunts are opento the public ($55 Australian, withwine, from York fine foods retailerBalducci’s sells the truffles byspecial order for $1,495 a pound; thesmallest order is a quarter pound, at$373.75. Orders may be placed atany Balducci’s store.

From the pages of Mushroom theJournal of Wild Mushrooming . . .And finally, a wrap-up from theSpring issue of the always-enjoyableMushroom the Journal. It’s worthseeking out a copy of this issue forthe Bolete key with descriptions ofeach of the major groups. Addition-ally, editor Leon Shernoff has givenus a preview of things to come forthe venerated magazine. With theretirement of Harley Barnhart(apparently he means it this time!),there will be a slight shuffling ofcontributors and their usual col-

umns. Maggie Rogers is taking overmyco-stamping. She’s always done agreat job stamping around theforests, but now she will be direct-ing her focus on mycophilately;there’s a great article on how shegot started in the hobby.

Leon mentions that a possiblefuture project for MTJ—and a bigone indeed—might be the develop-ment of an “anthology of mush-rooms in world literature.” I wouldREALLY love to see this. Like manymycophiles, I have a pretty goodcollection of mushroom literatureand lore, fact and fiction, plusseveral file cabinets of reprintedresearch papers and reviews. I tipmy hat to Leon for even proposingthe project and think that its comple-tion would be of great service—andentertainment—to all of us. Leonsays that many stories involvingmushrooms, “even those by famousauthors, are not well known today”and uses “The Purple Pileus” by H.G. Wells as an example, reprintingthe story within this current issue ofMTJ. (Despite not being “wellknown,” it’s ironic that the verysame story was printed previously inThe Mycophile [March/April 2007],wink.) A number of other possiblefuture projects for MTJ also arediscussed, but you’re going to haveto subscribe (just $25 per year) tofind out more.

Taking over for Maggie and herusual jaunt through the world ofmushrooms in the literature will bea new column, entitled “Caught inthe Fungal Web,” by Susan Goldhor.In her first appearance in thejournal, Ms. Goldhor does a greatjob with giving us her take (andusing four pages to do it) on whatwas a terrific article by David Rose(“The poisoning of Count Achilles deVecchj and the Origins of AmericanAmateur Mycology”) in our ownjournal, McIlvainea (Spring, 2006).She comes up with several interest-ing perspectives on his paper andtakes a good look at our own name-sake, Charles McIlvaine. I lookforward to her future contributions.

And finally, I was especiallydelighted that the theme of the

current issue of MTJ seems to be thesulfur shelf mushroom, one of mypersonal favorites! There are severalarticles, recipes, artwork, and photosof this favorite summertime edible.Along with all the other articles,artwork, puzzles, and surprises, eachissue of Mushroom the Journal isalways eagerly anticipated! —Britt

hats. I saw only one that was in theCharles University collections, andwhen we were young students, wehad lots of laughs when our assis-tant professor put it on his head.”

Patrice Benson solved themystery. She attended the 12thInternational Fungus and FiberConference in Haslev, Denmark.There she bought four mushroomhats and a purse from Ann-ChristineBerencsy, whose father made themin Hungary. He uses large Fomesconks. These are hard to come by, sohe can make only 20 a year. Hestarts by stripping off the active porelayer and cutting off the woody toplayer. This leaves him with thefibrous interior. The interior issoaked for three days in a weak lyesolution he makes with birch ashesand water. The result is mashed intoa flattish mass and then molded anddried. The material can be glued onforms and pieced together, but hetries to get large conks for theoutside of the hats.

Patrice fielded some questionsabout her hat when she wore it atthe exhibit:

“What happens when it rains?”(She doesn’t know.) “How do theymake them?” (Now we all know.)“Are they edible?” (Patrice won’t eather hat.)

Mushroom Hats,continued from

page 1

8The Mycophile, September/October 2007


MycoAlbum CD: IntroductoryMycology—Laboratory Review, byG. L. Barron. 2006. Published byMycographics, P.O. Box 21042,Canada Post, 35 Harvard Rd.,Guelph, Ontario N1G 3A0, Canada.Standard Version, ISBN 0-920370-01-2 at U.S. $25. Containing albumof 950 pages with 1050 annotatedillustrations of fungi at 1024 x 768pixels. Instructor’s Version, ISBN 0-920370-02-0, at US $35. Purchasedthrough Mycographics. E-mail<[email protected]>.

I recently received a copy of GeorgeBarron’s new MycoAlbum CD, an “e-book” that is probably better de-

Mushrooms of the SoutheasternUnited States, by Alan E. Bessette,William C. Roody, Arleen R.Bessette, and Dail L. Dunaway.Syracuse University Press, 2007.ISBN 0-646-44674-6 cloth (notavailable in paperback as of June2007). $95. E-mail <[email protected]>. Inet: www.SyracuseUniversityPress

At this year’s NAMA Foray in WestVirginia, there will be no need torely solely on the professionals foridentifications. This newly releasedvolume, along with team Bessette’searlier Mushrooms of the NortheasternUnited States and Bill Roody’sMushrooms of West Virginia and theCentral Appalachians, will provide awell-illustrated arsenal for every-one’s use in putting names on thefungi to be found on the field trips.As it happens, West Virginia fallswithin the territory covered by eachof these three guides.

The newcomer, SoutheasternMushrooms, is the same size (7 x 10in.) and very similar in content andappearance to Northeastern Mush-rooms, but is considerably shorter(484 illustrated species—by mycount—in 375 pages, versus ~640illustrated species in 582 pages). Thefront matter is relatively brief (only11 pages), consisting of introductionsto mushroom facts and fallacies;mushroom anatomy; mycorrhizalrelationships; when, where, andhow to collect mushrooms; guidancefor using the book; an explanation ofthe material in the species descrip-tions; and a dichotomous key to thegroups of fungi: Chanterelles andAllies, Gilled Mushrooms, Boletes,Cup and Saucer Fungi, and so on. InNortheastern Mushrooms, a photo-graphic picture “key” with brief de-scriptions, was used for this purpose.

The back matter includes briefappendices on microscopic examina-tion of mushrooms, use of chemicalreagents for identification purposes,fungal classification, and mycoph-

agy, including a handful of “artery-clogging” (according to an anony-mous source) recipes, plus glossary,list of recommended readings, andindexes to common and scientificnames.

Between the front and backmatter are the photographs (allgrouped together at the beginning ofthe section) and species descriptions.A departure from the NortheasternMushrooms content is the lack ofadditional keys in this volume. Onceyou’ve determined the major group,identification is a matter of descrip-tion-reading (the only option for thehandful of species that aren’tillustrated) and picture-matching.This lack of keys to genera andspecies also means that far fewerspecies are covered in total, com-pared to the number in NortheasternMushrooms (where 800–900 specieswere keyed, but not illustrated ordescribed, so nearly 1500 specieswere mentioned altogether). Thedescriptions are pretty much thesame as in the previous book,including the scientific name; com-mon name if there is one; extensivemacroscopic features including sporeprint color; brief listing of keymicroscopic features such as sporesize and shape and cystidium shape;fruiting habit, substrate, habitat, andtime-of-year; and assessment ofedibility. Brief comments addinformation about synonyms, look-alikes, etymology, and uses.

The photographs are formattedin the same manner as in Northeast-ern Mushrooms, mostly eight perpage in horizontal orientation. Somevertically oriented photos areincluded, and these occupy the spacethat two horizontals would other-wise occupy. Their larger sizenoticeably improves their utility foridentification and makes me wishthe horizontal photos were larger.The quality of the photos is, withonly a few exceptions, very good toexcellent, as is typical for books bythe Bessettes and Roody.

All in all, another top-notch book. . . but it’s $95, with no chance (atleast currently) to opt for a lessexpensive paperback version. So itcould be a tough decision for thosewhose disposable income is mostlybeing diverted to the gas tank. Tohelp in your deliberations, I didsome species counting, comparingMushrooms of the Southeastern U.S. toMushrooms of the Northeastern U.S.,Mushrooms of West Virginia and theCentral Appalachians, and A FieldGuide to Southern Mushrooms, byNancy Smith Weber and her father,the late Alexander H. Smith. Frommy westerner’s viewpoint, I con-sider these to be the major regionalguides for the eastern U.S. Theydescribe and illustrate 484, 641, 402,and 241 species, respectively.Among the 484 species in Southeast-ern Mushrooms, there are 282, 329,and 340 that aren’t in the three otherbooks, respectively, including 186that are not covered in any of theothers. Thus, although it comes at aprice, Southeastern Mushrooms addssubstantially to the list of easternspecies described and well illus-trated in available guides. So givesome thought to carpooling on a fewforays; save two or three fill-ups andexpand your library!

—Steve Trudell, Seattle

9 The Mycophile, September/October 2007

Dr. Barron also has been awardedthe honor of Distinguished Mycolo-gist from the Mycological Society ofAmerica. He devotes much of histime to collecting and photographingmushrooms and other macrofungifound across the northern UnitedStates and Canada. He has writtenone of the best and most widelyused guidebooks on mushrooms ofNorth America and his Web site isfabulous—do yourself a favor andcheck it out. While you’re there, pickup a copy of MycoAlbum. You’ll bevery glad you did! —Britt

scribed as a hybrid of an introduc-tory Mycology textbook and aguidebook to all the groups of fungi(and other organisms, historicallyclassified as fungi). If rated as atextbook, it gets superior marks.Ditto with regards to it as a guide-book. Put the two together—and,considering the pittance that oneneeds to pay to purchase a copy,anyone with any interest in anyfacet of Mycology (student, profes-sional, amateur mushroom hunter,et al.) should be delighted to own it.

MycoAlbum is not truly a stand-alone e-book, but an album (on CD-ROM) with more than a thousand (!)annotated illustrations of fungi andtheir morphological structures thatwould usually be covered in aclassical introductory Mycology labcourse. The album is a visualresource that students can use tointerpret their own microscopicmounts or specimens. Dr. Barron’sseems to feel that it is nearlyimpossible for students to listen to alecture, see tons and tons of images(Mycology is a very visual subject,isn’t it?), and retain much of theinformation. MycoAlbum allowsstudents to review the same mate-rial over and over again, thusreinforcing the material covered inthe classroom.

Most image files are at 1024 x768 pixel format and will go to fullscreen size on a 17" LCD screenwith excellent clarity. At the begin-ning of each major section are a fewpages of “MiniNotes” to give stu-dents some background on the areaunder study.

The Instructor’s Version of theCD has an Image Folder with anImage Album containing 600 non-encrypted downloadable images at800 x 600 pixels accessible byinstructors for use in power-pointlectures, reviews, quizzes etc. (Ifound this a particularly good ideaand very easy to use; for details

Not only for instructors of strictMycology courses, MycoAlbum isvaluable as a source of informationand images for Microbiology andGeneral Biology instructors wishingto augment the fungal component of

their courses. Graduate students ofMycology, Plant Pathology, andMicrobiology will find the album aconvenient way to review or supple-ment their knowledge of fungi.The classification system followed issimple and non-detailed to permitinstructors to impose their ownpreferred systems without conflict.The bulk of the album covers majordivisions of fungi and fungus-likeorganisms. Each major section istagged in the album for easy “flip”access. The album uses a softwareprogram called FlipAlbum thatallows rapid access to all the contentof the album in several differentways outlined in album instructions.Major sections cover the followingdivisions with the number ofillustrations in each section inparenthesis: Myxomycota andAcrasiomycota (61), Hyphae andHyphal Modifications (45), Chytri-diomycota (12), Oomycota (30),Zygomycota + Trichomycetes (62),Ascomycota (135), Deuteromycota(95), Basidiomycota (170), Lichens(14). These sections take up twothirds of the Album.

The remaining third containsillustrations and information ongeneral aspects of fungus biology,including Fungi in Homes andGardens, Antibiotics, Wood Decay,Mycorrhizae, Sporophagy andMycophagy, Bioluminescence, DutchElm Disease, Parasexual Cycle,Ingoldian Fungi, Stored Cereals,Biocontrol, etc. An Appendix coverssome interesting but nonessentialareas such as Mushroom Identifica-tion, Parasites and Predators ofMicroscopic Animals, MushroomToxins, Photography, etc.

MycoAlbum is very user friendly.It takes only a minute or two to loadonto a computer; the album needsWindows 2000, ME, or XP but doesnot work with MacIntosh computers.

I applaud George Barron fordeveloping such a handy and easy touse tool for mycological instruction.Of course he knows a thing or twoon the topic; he is a leading expertin the study of mushrooms andother fungi and has been honored bythe British Mycological Society asone of its elite Centenary Fellows.

Two black truffle mysteries fromUrsula Hoffmann: now that the titlehas caught your attention, I canreveal that this is a review of twomurder mysteries.

Pierre Magnan, Death in theTruffle Wood. (St. Martin’s Press,2007, translated from the French Lecommissaire dans la truffière,1978, by Patricia Clancy.) Theinhabitants of a small village inProvence cultivate and harvesttruffles, their main source ofincome. The season is November 15to February 15; if lucky, a villagercan collect four kilograms of trufflesin one day and sell them for 300francs a kilo. All the characters inthis novel are crazy about truffles.Some store them for a couple ofdays with eggs so that the trufflesinfuse their perfume into the eggs;some eat them right out of thebasket, grit and all, the truffle juicerunning down their chins; one startskilling villagers for their blood toenhance the production of truffletrees. . . .

So, villagers disappear andCommissaire Laviolette, a favoriteFrench fictional detective, is calledin. Had he paid immediate attentionto Roseline, the truffle pig andheroine of this very Frenchcharming novel, he could havesolved the case right away.

Continued on page 11

10The Mycophile, September/October 2007

d’Europe by Régis Cortecuisse andBernard Duhem (Delachaux etNiestlé, Paris) for 3,000+ fungi,illustrated by paintings, or Photo-guide des champignons d’Europe byRégis Cortecuisse (also fromDelachaux et Niestlé, Paris) for over900 photographed fungi. The bestbookshop in Paris for natural historyis Librairie Thomas at 28 rue FossésSaint-Bernard, located across thestreet from the university in the 5thArrondissement and not far from theJardin Botanique. The garden alsohas a modest book and gift shop. Ifyou cannot visit Librairie Thomas,many FNAC bookstores have adecent collection of guides, as wellas a good selection of books andseasonal magazines to help you cookmushrooms à la française.

Speaking of eating mushrooms,are you tempted to visit that gastro-nomic palace La Maison de laTruffe, 19 place de la Madeleine inthe 8th Arrondissement? Not onlycan you gaze through their windowsat perfect huge truffles in season(joining the crowds), but there is atiny but exceptional restaurantinside the shop where for a smallfortune you can taste them, too. (Iwrite this in Italy, having had fresh“scorzone” or Tuber aestivum lastnight for a fraction of what it mightcost in Paris.) Fauchon and laGrande Épicerie de Paris also havebeautiful displays of wild mush-rooms in season, as do many localoutdoor markets where you mightwant to purchase a wicker mush-room basket. Every neighborhoodseems to have its shops dedicated tothe gastronomy of southwestFrance, and these always includeblack truffles and foie gras, althoughI don’t consider that the cost ofpreserved truffles is matched bytheir flavor. Restaurants will adver-tise outside if they are serving wildmushrooms such as girolles (chant-erelles), cèpes (boletes), or morilles(morels). If the idea of having lunch(weekdays only, open for group

Sustainability and Fungi:The Big Picture

by Larry Evans

Reflecting now on the frontiers ofmushroom cultivation, it seems tome that we are on the edge oftransforming the way we viewagricultural and yard “waste” carbonsequestration, and resourcemanagement. The only problem isthat it challenges centuries ofprimitive habits.

Recently I have been advisingpeople in their efforts or investiga-tions into transforming their litterpiles into mushroom compost inAfrica, South America, Fiji, Japan,and elsewhere around the world. Atropical pig farmer looks at how bestto utilize tons of pig manure andtropical hardwood shavings. ABrazilian woman seeks to identifyand preserve the fungi in her tinyAtlantic rainforest reserve. A man inZimbabwe learns to grow oystermushrooms on local agriculturalwastes. A farmer in South Africaproduces oyster mushrooms twomonths after getting spores, and aman in Tennessee relates hissuccessful garden-propagation of hisoyster mushroom years after buyinga kit. A group of young womenforms a mushroom cultivation studygroup in Bolivia. A young man inBangladesh seeks support for theestablishment of a mushroom farmhe feels can feed thousands ofpeople a diet higher in protein.

These are the sorts of things thatthe Internet has assisted me indoing through the Fungal JungalWeb site. These are the micro-storiesthat get lost among tales of giantpuffballs and toxin-busting whiterotfungi, but they show the importanceof increasing awareness of fungiand the vital role they play in ourplanet’s life. But now they emergeas a factor in one of the biggestissues of our time: global climatechange.

Carbon sequestration credits andthe entire economy in carbon tradingthat they have spawned represents a

potentially powerful tool in reducingthe oxidation of carbon-hydrogencompounds that produce carbondioxide and contribute to the widelydiscussed “greenhouse effect.”Schemes for carbon sequestrationrange from far-out (pumping carbon-dioxide gas into deep wells underhigh pressure) to pragmatic (plantingmore trees) and even common-sensical (improving vehicle effi-ciency, outlawing large personalvehicles) which would earn credits—and thereby money—from the fossilfuel burning entities.

Yet, each year millions of tons ofcarbon are needlessly and waste-fully burned off in slash pile burns,whether from logging, agriculture,or other land management opera-tions. According to USFS estimates,334 million metric tons, or 368million dry tons, of this biomass issitting out there waiting to beburned every year. Or not? Is this awaste product? Not yet! Carbondioxide, the result of burning it, yesthat is a waste product. But organicmatter, reduced carbon, is not. Theenergy stored in such plant materialis a valuable resource and should bemanaged as such.

[Larry Evans practices what hepreaches: he sustainably harvests wildmushrooms from the Pacific Northwestfor profit. The Fungal Jungal isoperated by the Western MontanaMycological Association as a 501(c)3educational nonprofit organization.Membership and donations may besent to P.O. Box 7306, Missoula, MT59807.

Sustainability is quickly becomingTHE topic of discussion for mankind.Future articles are planned for TheMycophile, and the next issue ofMcIlvainea will feature several full-length research and review papers onthe topic of sustainability and theimportant role fungi will play in thefuture of our planet.—Britt]

Mais oui, la belle France existe pourles amants (des champignons),continué de la page 1

11 The Mycophile, September/October 2007

banquets only in the evening) in thechalk caves where champignons deParis were first grown commerciallyinside the cliffs above the RiverSeine appeals, make the trip to LesCrayères des Montquartiers* in Issy-les-Moulineaux, on the southernedge of Paris, at 5 chemin des Mont-quartiers (access between 141 and141bis avenue de Verdun). The Website is, or telephone 01 46 44 74 67.

Local mushroom clubs usuallyhold an annual mushroom fair, andthe national Société Mycologique deFrance holds its fair this year 17–21October at Parc Floral in the Bois deVincennes just to the east of Paris.This is easily reached by publictransportation ( Fresh material collected onforays in the region is displayedwith scientific and French names,which will help you learn a bit ofthe language. Another major showis held normally the fourth week ofOctober in Bédarieux, in the Langue-doc region northwest of Montpellier,by the Association Mycologique etBotanique de l’Hérault et des HautsCantons. At press time the dates forthis year had not been fixed, but youcan check their Web site ( for updatesunder Journées mycologiques. Theshow includes the possi-bility ofparticipating in organized forays in avariety of different habitats and thenhaving the material identified bymycologists. Two other fairs in thesouth are the Journées mycologiquesde Florac,* in the Parc National desCévennes (29–30 September) and theGrand Salon Annuel du Champignonet des Plantes d’automne* inMontpellier (13–15 October). You’llneed a rental car to reach Florac, butthe remote mountain park is wellworth visiting. Montpellier, on theother hand, is easily reached byhigh-speed train and boasts auniversity and science park atmo-sphere.

France boasts a number ofmuseums dedicated to mushroomsand more specifically to truffles. Themuseum closest to Paris is theMusée du Champignon* in Saumur,in the Loire Valley (www.musee-du-, which houses acommercial production facility,“museum” of wild fungi, and atasting café. The NAMA trip in-cludes a visit to this museum, whichis worth taking advantage of be-cause it is not accessible by publictransportation. As for truffles, theMusée de la Truffe du Tricastin, inSt Paul Trois Châteaux, in Provence,is thoroughly delightful, and demon-strates the biology, life cycle, andgastronomic history of Tuber melano-sporum. Another such museum isthe Ecomusée de la Truffe* inSorges en Périgord, in the Dordogne.

The foray organized by NAMAin the Poitou-Charentes region is anexcellent idea. If for any reason youare unable to attend it, or simplywant to add other forays to your tripto France, several of the country’sregional natural parks sometimesoffer guided forays. You can try themain parks Web site to find parks inareas that interest you. Don’t expectanyone to speak English, but theyjust might. Forests in the regionaround Paris often combed by mush-roomers include the forests ofFontainebleau, St. Germain-en-Laye,Versailles, and Montmorency, all ofwhich are accessible by train.

The landscape of France, par-ticularly the northern portion, ishighly modified by man. Industrialagriculture, industry and develop-ment have left few traces of theoriginal forest cover, and even“natural” areas have been used forthousands of years by man. Frenchcentral authority and technology hasled to a different landscape than inNorth America. Pollution and har-vesting have also affected mycologi-cal diversity. In addition, much ofFrance has been suffering a droughtover the past three years, and tem-peratures have been notably higher.This has resulted in advancement ofthe fruiting dates for some speciesof fungi. I have found (and eaten) inMay and June this year species thatnormally begin to show up in July orAugust. The Société Mycologique deFrance has begun coordinating datacollection from its members in an

effort to demonstrate any observablechanges in seasonality and occur-rence of fungi in France due toclimate change. There is concern inFrance, and more generally inEurope, that fungal diversity may bechanging. Perhaps the Europeanmycologists will inspire NAMA toundertake similar monitoring backhome, as some of us recommendedin the early 1990s.

* Not visited yet by the author, aNAMA member currently residingoutside Paris.

[Anathea is an American-born myco-phile and NAMA member living andworking in France. After a number ofe-mail conversations, I invited her tosubmit this timely (the NAMA ExoticForay to France is just around thecorner!) perspective of mushrooming inFrance, mushroom guidebook review,and description of some upcomingevents and places for the Franco-mycophile. —Britt]

Peter Mayle, Anything Considered.(Vintage Books, 1997.) An extremelywealthy money and truffle lover inFrance pays a research chemist todevelop a formula for inoculatingoak trees that will produce lots oftruffles within two years! Thefinished formula and all researchdata are enclosed in a custom-made,custom-locked case. The secret leaksout, the chemist is murdered, thecase is stolen by a competitor whoholds an auction: bidders are theFrench Government wanting to holdon to the franchise for Périgordtruffles, the Italians who want to putthe French truffle competitors out ofbusiness, the Japanese who loveboth truffles and money, otherbidders for the millions they couldmake from this. . . . Follow the caseand enjoy this really witty novel.

—Ursula Hoffmann

Reviews, continued from page 9

12The Mycophile, September/October 2007


Although experts estimate species of fungi in the PacificNorthwest may possibly number in the thousands, mostof us recognize, at most, a hundred or so, if that many.Thus the popularity of field guides and mushroom “keys,”step-by-step decisions that, we hope, will allow us totrace the mushroom in hand back to a name.

Keys to identifying mushroom species range fromDavid Arora’s omnibus Mushrooms Demystified to thekeys to individual mushroom genera generated by thePacific Northwest Key Council. What we really lack is akey to mushroom hunters. Face it, mushroomers are aconfusing lot.

Presented below for your edification is a key tomushroom forayers created by an anonymous member ofthe Mycological Society of Toronto. Although created forMST, the key should prove just as useful for PSMS. Whenusing this key, bear in mind that, as the author warns,species complexes do occur and create additionalspeciation difficulties.

The Key

1a. Persons with baskets, paper or other bags, slow movingto meandering, not moving along well-defined paths.2. Eumycologia

1b. Persons without such paraphernalia moving morerapidly, may be associated with quadrupeds, occasionallystopping for short periods. Pseudomycologia (generallyclassified as Homo caniphilus or H. motus). Not dealt withhere.

2. Eumycologia

2a. Persons with broad often-aged baskets, appearingdisheveled, dull-colored, greens, browns, and graypredominating. 3. Generalis Group

2b. Persons with deeper baskets, may often be absent butgenerally with paper and other bags. Dress various, oftenrucksacked. 4. Mycoedulis and Mycophagus Groups

2c. Persons with baskets containing plastic boxes, whichare often segmented. Persons appear focussed. Diagnosticlens carried around neck. 5. Micromycologia Group

3. Generalis Group

3a. Persons with baskets with high fungal diversity, appear-ing colorful, often with several small brown mushrooms.Vocalization “Look at this.” “Now this is interesting.”Mycophilus notabilis

3b. Knowledgeable persons with baskets of moderatefungal diversity, containing honey mushrooms and Chickenof the Woods. Rarely with sac or coral fungi. Vocalization:“These will cook up nicely” and “with white wine and garlic.”Mycophilus culinarius*

3c. Persons with baskets with few species, often associatedwith others. Vocalization always questioning such as “Whatdo you think of this?” “Have we got this one?” Mycophilaperplexa or M. initia

4. Mycoedulis and Mycophagus Groups

4a. Persons present only at the beginning and at the end offorays, generally shy and retiring, often returning with fullbaskets. Vocalization: None. Mycoedulis areanus

4b. Persons generally clumped or in loose groups, oftenmoving initially rapidly along well-defined routes, quadrupedsrarely present. Always successful with full baskets. Vocaliza-tion: Various, often loud. Mycophagus sociabilis**

4c. Persons wandering between groups, often with incom-plete baskets and holding several fungi in hand at any onetime. Vocalization: “Can I eat this one?” and “Is this onegood?” Mycophagus dubius

5. Micromycologia Group

5a. Individuals on hands and knees or at least crouching,often close to decaying logs and tree bases. Often solitary,but generally very loosely associated with similar species.Vocalization: Generally incomprehensible, but mutteringabout sporangia and calcareous peridia often faintly heard.Myxophila vehementa

5b. Individuals crouching to upright, generally with basketcontaining at least some macro fungi. Rarely solitary,generally in small groups, often in pairs. Not restricted todecaying logs. Mycophila omnigena

I trust that this key will be of assistance to seasoned mem-bers as well as newcomers. Using this as a guide, and withsome thoughts about how you may fit in, you will have theopportunity of taking your rightful place in the Society. Thismay be with a stomach full of the most delicious fungi knownto humankind, or with a mind focused on knowing everyfungus in Ontario’s forests, or with a great group of peoplehaving lots of fun. Alternatively, and I trust this may be the rightplace for you, “a bit of all three.”

[MST Ed. note: My attention has recently been drawn to avariant of unknown taxonomic position described asMycophilus mentorens. This appears to be in the GeneralisGroup, and constantly talks to others about the fungi beingfound. M. mentorens var. sootsii has often been seen in ourarea.]

* A confusing species with affinities to Mycophagus sociabilis.

** This is a species complex with several subspeciesincluding ssp. diversiculinaris and ssp. amicus. M. garrulusis doubtfully separable apart from its louder vocalization.

◆ ◆ ◆

[Originally printed in the Jan.–Mar. 2005 issue of Mycelium,the newsletter of the Mycological Society of Toronto.]

13 The Mycophile, September/October 2007

NAMA WILDACRES REGIONAL FORAYSeptember 29–October 2, 2007

Wildacres, North Carolina

To register, complete this form and mail with a check for $175, payable to NAMA, to Allein Stanley,136 Homeplace Drive, Mount Holly, NC 28120. Persons sharing a room may use the same form.

l. Name ______________________________________ 1. Name ____________________________________

1. ❏ Male ❏ Female 1. ❏ Male ❏ Female

1. Address_____________________________________ 1. Address_____________________________________

______________________________________________ _____________________________________________

1. Phone _____________________________________ 1. Phone ____________________________________

2. E-mail _____________________________________ 2. E-mail ____________________________________

3. I wish to room with _________________________ 3. I wish to room with ________________________

______________________________________________ _____________________________________________

4. Dietary requests_____________________________ 4. Dietary requests____________________________

_______________________________________________ _____________________________________________

5. Bedding preference: ❏ Double ❏ Single Bedding preference: ❏ Double ❏ Single

Participants at this foray will be limited to 40 persons, double occupancy. There are no private rooms. The costof the foray covers 3 nights lodging and 8 meals beginning with an evening meal on Thursday, Sept. 29, andending with breakfast on Sunday, October 2.

Liability waiver: By signing below, I release the North American Mycological Association, its officers, and itsmembers from any and all liability and loss arising from any accident, injury, or illness which may result fromactivities of the NAMA regional foray at Wildacres.

Signature #1___________________________________ Signature #2 __________________________________

Date__________________________________________ Date _________________________________________

For additional information call (704) 827-1939 or email <[email protected]>.

by Juliet Pendray

The answer for each riddle is the (Latin) name of amushroom: a semi-colon separates the words in theanswer (where possible).

ExampleRiddle: Medium, distasteful, swear; purchase, droppings,redAnswer: Agaricus bisporus (as in Agar + ick + cuss; buy+ spoor + russ)

Riddles:1. Secreted, lacking feeling; scan again, silent2. Horse instruction, behind, play guitar; fire, Jellicle

one, stomach3. Box, idiots; cross, father4. Determined Irish parrot; think over, drink liquor, once

was5. Statement made by friend of Cyrus, exist; before you

cheat and steal, rule, saw her

Answers on page 15.

Riddles - Mangled Translation Style

14The Mycophile, September/October 2007

Peter Katsaros died on May 8, 2007,at the age of 80, from complicationsof Parkinson’s disease. For the lasthalf of his life he was an activephotographer and amateurmycologist. His prize-winning photo-graphs appeared in several formatsincluding popular field guides, texts,NAMA, and, most recently, onInternet sites.

His ability to identify difficultfungi was legendary, as was hisattention to detail and precision intextual material. He was often askedto review and assist in theproofreading and editing of bothpopular and technical manuals.

Peter played an active role inwriting and editing the mushroomsections of the seven-set AudubonSociety Nature Guides. He is listedthere simply as “Mycologist,” takinghis place among the ranks ofprofessors, lecturers, curators, andassociates who produced the othersections for the series, a testamentto the contributions that amateurshave made to the study of fungi.

He also authored The NationalAudubon Society Pocket Guide toFamiliar Mushrooms and may be bestknown for The Illustrated Guide toCommon Slime Molds.

He was a member of the Mid-Hudson Mycological Association, alongtime friend of NAMA, and had avery long and special relationshipwith COMA, the Connecticut West-chester Mycological Association,where he was a popular speaker.COMA has undertaken the task ofpreserving Peter’s slides and makingthe images available online. Theymay be viewed at

Donations in Peter’s memorymay be made to the Pleasant ValleyFree Library, P.O. Box 633, PleasantValley, NY 12569.

—Bill Bakaitis

Death of Peter KatsarosReported

and should be addressed to CarleneSkeffington, 505 W. Hollis St., Ste.109, Nashua, NH 03062; tel. (603)882-0311, e-mail <[email protected]>.

Introduction to Mushrooms

DVD by Michael Beug (55 minutes).This program is an update of theIntroduction to Mushrooms slide andtape program by Michael Beug. Itcovers nearly 80 species of bothgilled and non-gilled mushroomsthat are common in many regions ofNorth America, plus several speciesthat are readily cultivated. Thespecies list for the program includesall of the author’s favorite ediblemushrooms plus the most dangerousof the poisonous mushrooms.

Naming Mushrooms: Who’s MyDaddy?

DVD by Michael Beug (24 min.),This program is a light-hearted lookat 49 of the author’s favorite com-mon mushrooms and why theirscientific names have changed overthe 30 years he has been photo-graphing mushrooms. You will learnabout changes that reflect ourongoing understanding of geneticrelationships, our discovery thatsometimes our mushrooms whichcarry European names are differentfrom those of their Europeancounterparts and that sometimemushrooms that we thought to beone species are several species, andwhy common names have evenmore pitfalls than scientific names.

Morels and Other SpringAscomycetes

DVD by Michael Beug (23 min.),This program covers many differenttypes of morels plus a range of otherwidespread spring Ascomycetesfocusing on when and where theyare found and giving tips on correctidentification. Over 44 species arediscussed.

Snowbank Mushrooms and WesternSpring Basidiomycetes.

DVD by Michael Beug (20 min.),This program focuses on the uniqueecology of the western snowbankmushrooms. These fungi fruit in theRockies, Cascades, and SierraNevada mountains and are typicallynot found in the mountains ofEurope or in the eastern U.S. Theauthor has also included many of thecommon spring Basidiomycetes thatare not part of the snowbank mycof-lora but can be found at lowerelevations in the West.

Reflections on Poisonous Mushrooms

DVD by Michael Beug (43 min.).This program is a complete revisionof the “Poisonous and Hallucino-genic Mushrooms” slide and tapeprogram. Dr. Beug chairs the NAMAtoxicology committee and draws on30 years of mushroom poisoningreports in the NAMA database todiscuss all the mushrooms that havebeen reported to cause fatalities inNorth America and the mushroomsthat are most frequently involved incases of gastrointestinal distress.

Forays & Announcements,continued from page 4

Peter Katsaros, 1928–2007

15 The Mycophile, September/October 2007

To find out what happened to Steve’s Shepson’sbeautiful sulfur shelves (above left)—as well as step-by-step preparation of an excellent dish using thismushroom—go to Here you also canlearn how to make the most terrific cheeses, forpennies, right in your own home. I certainly do, andhighly recommend giving it a try!

More Summer Finds, continued from page 2

Culinary Corner

Two views of Mycena lucentipes

Photo courtesy of Steve Shapson

Photo courtesy of Ken Gilberg.

Boletes, photo courtesy of L. Michael Lerman.

Mycena lucentipes shown in the light (above) and glowing in thedark (below). See page 5 for the accompanying story.

Answers to the riddles on page 13: 1) Hydnumrepandum. 2) Geastrum saccatum. 3) Sparasiss crispa.4) Polyozellus multiplex. 5) Inocybe lilacina.

16The Mycophile, September/October 2007

North American Mycological Association336 Lenox AvenueOakland, CA 94610-4675

Address Service Requested



Mushroom of the Month

Have you seen this morel?

This species is most elusive and

difficult to pick, as it attains

speeds of 65 mph (or more)!

To see more mushrooms spotted

throughout the summer, dig into

this issue!

Courtesy of Ken Gilberg