That looks exactly like Ganoderma applanatum- the Artist's Conk or Ancient Ling Chih. I have been harvesting and making a tea from these mushrooms for over 20 years. I have a field test- if the pore layer on the underside is white, scratch it with your fingernail. If it stains dark brown and you can inscribe your initials in it, then you almost certainly have a Ganoderma. The spores should be a brown color, but be careful not to breathe them, because some folks are allergic to the spores. I always dry mine outdoors in the sun, away from the house. The tea has many medicinal properties.
Of course, it's always a good idea for beginners to reconfirm their finds with a local expert before ingesting them, rather than relying solely on internet photos and unknown people.
Nameko (Pholiota nameko), is a very flavorful mushroom popular in Japan. Although I've never grown this species, I've read that it does well on cherry logs. Field and Forest Products (fieldforest.net) has spawn for this species, along with info on how to grow it on logs. I'd guess that Oyster Mushrooms would grow on cherry logs as well. Good luck!
Thank you Camille. I'm interested in hearing more about these weevils, and just how effective they might be as a long-term control solution for these plants. But I also want to make sure these beneficial insects (weevils) don't wind up causing a whole new set of problems.
Sepp Holzer uses broom as a companion plant for chestnut trees. He actually plants broom seeds next to his chestnuts! However, in the Pacific Northwest, I would not recommend planting broom for any reason! On my farm, I cut the broom in the late winter and early spring, then use it to mulch my chestnuts, filberts and pawpaw trees. Pawpaws seem to love it and my seedling pawpaws began flowering and fruiting after a few years of mulching with Scotch broom.
I would like to hear more about the seed weevil and if they actually help control the spread of this plant in the Northwest. (Also, does the broom weevil eat pea seeds?- I have a terrible problem with weevils in my pea seeds when I try saving them.) Anyone out there have experience with "Broom weevils" as a beneficial insect?
Brad, I have been studying truffle cultivation for several years now and have some Oregon White Truffles on my property. I recently attended classes by Charles Lefevre, who is the leading expert on truffle cultivation in the Northwest.
Cultivation of European truffles in the Pacific Northwest is not easy, and only a handful of people have succeeded. Cultivation and semi-cultivation of native Oregon White Truffles on Douglas-fir is much easier. Many people are now planting a combination of native and European species on their farms. Be sure to check out Dr. Lefevre's website (truffletree.com) which has lots of info about cultivation of truffles. "Taming the Truffle", by Ian Hill, Gordon Brown and Alessandra Zambonelli, is an excellent book for truffle cultivators. Classes by Dr. Lefevre and friends are held at community colleges (cheap) and at the Oregon Truffle Festival (expensive).
Lefevre and Hall both mention the importance of starting a new European truffle orchard in an open field that is located far, far away from any trees. (That's why my place wouldn't work for European ones.) Also, a LOT of lime is needed for the European truffles- 25-30 tons of lime per acre- that's an entire semi-truck full. Hope this info helps...
I agree with Alder, they both look like chanterelles to me, too. The yellow one looks a lot like the Golden Chanterelle, also known as Cantharellus cibarius. The reddish one looks like Cantharellus cinnabarinus, the Red Chanterelle. Judith Browning found a bunch of these a while back, check out her photos:
I can't find any spawn or kits for sale of this species, probably because of liability concerns with toxic lookalikes. I recommend collecting your own spores and mycelium from the wild. Aloha Medicinals sells cultures at over $200, but it's not worth it unless you own your own mushroom farm!
I would not add any of the materials you listed- they'll probably just contaminate your project. And making the kind of high-quality horse manure compost required by agaricus can be difficult for a beginner. Many years ago, I had several failures trying to grow agaricus on horse manure compost or wood chips before I switched to leached dairy manure on a tip from a Paul Stamets book. That's why I always recommend fresh leached dairy cow manure compost straight from the bins. When it cools, add the lime, some water and the spawn- that's all you need. And if you live in a climate with warm, humid, wet summers, then you might be able to grow almond agaricus outdoors on mounds of cow manure compost. They grow similar species of agaricus in Brazil and Hawaii using this technique. Just my 2 cents...
Shaggy Manes and other "Inky Cap" mushrooms are not sold online or in stores, because they all "melt" into an inky mess before you can sell or dry them. You either have to find your own fresh ones or grow your own, but you can't buy them. Hope this helps!
I strongly recommend that anyone who is interested in truffle cultivation should read "Taming the Truffle" , by Ian Hall, Gordon Brown and Alessandra Zambonelli. This book details the secrets to successful truffle cultivation. Although the book focuses on the European species, Oregon white truffle growers will learn a lot from this book, too. Site selection, raising the soil pH/calcium and site prep are all crucial. The Oregon Truffle Festival has classes and training seminars:
Seth, thank you so much for this link, I've been wanting to read this book for years, but the steep price prevented me from pursuing it. I even tried to borrow the book through an interlibrary loan once, but the other library refused to loan it out because the book was so rare and valuable! I can tell David Arora, author of Mushrooms Demystified, has a copy of Mushrooms, Russia and History!
Although I don't have direct experience with wildcrafting Chaga, I do know that this species has several confusing lookalikes. I agree with Dirk- be careful about the ID and be sure to dry some material for future study. Here is a link to a pair of articles about Chaga lookalikes in Fungi magazine:
D., for years I've also been interested in growing morels as a mycorrhizal crop along with various trees including apples and cottonwoods in an orchard-like setting. I've been inoculating various trees here on my farm with various species of morels using primitive, non-sterile methods for the past several years. So far I've had limited success here, although at my girlfriend's farm, we had a real nice crop of morels in her garden last spring. They fruited right next to the compost pile and underneath a madrone tree and a cedar stump where I had dumped a lot of morel spore slurry in the past.
In 2002, Stewart Craig Miller of Indiana did a bunch of research proving the symbiotic relationship between morels and various species of trees. He applied for and received a patent on his idea to grow morels in a tree plantation on the roots of elm and ash trees. His farm also used to sell inoculated trees, but I'm not sure if they still do. The website is here:
There is a fairly good description on the website of how Miller grows morels on his farm, it's basically the same way truffles are grown in France, except he cuts the trees down to stimulate fruiting, it's very similar to your plan. Let me know what you think.
It looks like you've got some type of coral mushroom there. Some species are edible and some are mildly toxic. It is a very difficult group to ID down to species, even for pro mycologists, so I usually don't eat orange-colored coral mushrooms.
But they are some of the most beautiful of all fungi!
Here's a link to wiki with a general description of the Ramaria genus- one of the most common groups of coral fungi:
John Saltveit wrote:MK-
I'm trying to figure this out. Do you live in one of the valleys, coast range, or on the coast? It matters a lot. I would probably graft Meader if I were you. Meader tastes good, pollenizes itself, and ripens regularly here in the valleys. I've been eating them regularly since September, but I live in the suburbs of Portland in an urban heat sink. The selected varieties just taste so much better than the wild ones. There are wild ones near the zoo, and they're ok, but not worth going out of your way for, unless you want seed to make seedlings.
I live in the Coast Range at a low elevation- 700 feet. We get SW exposure, but there is some shade from big firs. It sounds like I should try grafting Meader.
Common Laccaria is a more orange color. It grows all around my farm. But it's extremely difficult to guess what you do have without spore prints or close ups of the gills. Until then, we'll have to go with "LBM"- a little brown mushroom! Oh well, a LOT of mushrooms we see are LBMs.
Samantha, thank you for the updated photos. With the color changes in the cap and the gills, I'm now leaning towards the Aborted Entoloma (Entoloma abortivum). The lumpy masses of tissue in front might be aborted fruiting bodies, but I'm not sure. Here is a description of this extremely unusual species by mushroom expert Michael Kuo:
Samantha, we'll need some more photos in order to ID your mushrooms. Close ups of the gills would be nice. Also, what are they growing on? And are you sure the wrinkly mushrooms in the foreground are not younger versions of the big mushroom in back? Is there a cup or bulb at the base of the big one? Spore prints would helpful, too.
I guess it goes without saying, but please do not eat them, as they could be something really toxic. Beginners should never eat large white mushrooms with white gills and white spore prints.
Although I donot have any personal experience growing the Parasol Mushroom, there is an excellent subchapter on how to grow them on pages 261-264 in "Mycelium Running", a book by Paul Stamets, complete with photos. Stamets has been successful with two methods.
Method one is to make a 4-inch deep bed of sawdust and woodchips in the early spring and then inoculate it with sawdust spawn at a rate of 5 pounds of spawn per 100 square feet. After the spawn has started growing, the bed should be overgrown with grass which is cut several times in a season. "Subsequent scatterings of woodchips are introduced in the late spring and midsummer. Placing this mushroom in moist, shallow, grassy depressions sloping toward watersheds with good exposure to sun encourages fruitings. Harnessing spores and stem butts for inoculation can greatly expand a few mushrooms into hundreds."
The second method is to inoculate thatch ant mounds (Formica species), which are a good natural habitat for this species. The nests become "infused with white mycelium within a few months of inoculation". The mounds will fruit a year or two later.
Nine years ago, when "Mycelium Running" was first published, I asked Fungi Perfecti if they were going to sell spawn of the Parasol Mushroom. They said they were still working on it before commercial release. To my knowledge they have never sold spawn of this species, apparently because of "liability concerns" over a toxic lookalike... Bummer!
If you have good mushroom-growing skills and experience with sterile culture, I recommend you try growing your own sawdust spawn from the spore print you have during the winter, then inoculate your bed(s) next spring with sawdust spawn. You can also spray spore slurry and plant stem butts around fresh wood chip/sawdust piles and ant mounds around your property right now. Good luck!!
Here's a video of Dr. Stamets and friends harvesting cultivated Parasol Mushrooms from ant mounds:
If the spores are whitish/pale yellowish, the caps have small dark hairs and the stems are stringy and tough, you might have a member of the Honey Mushroom group, AKA Armillaria mellea. Here is a link to mushroom expert Michael Kuo's excellent website:
John Saltveit wrote:We are able to grow and ripen the earlier bearing ones here in W ORegon, but even Ruby ripens most years. We have a longer growing season due to mild climate. The selected varieties of early ripening ones are astonishingly rewarding. Garretson and Early Golden are great! Excellent permaculture tree too: different family botanically (Ebony!) Disease and pest resistant. Most importantly: really yummy. Slow to mature though.
I live in western Oregon, zone 8, and I have a couple of ungrafted American persimmon seedlings in 4 gallon pots that I got in a trade this past spring. The trees are from Indiana, and I'm thinking about transplanting them next year during the late winter. Has anyone else on here grown ungrafted varieties in the Pacific Northwest and have them ripen? Or should I graft Meader onto them? I'm thinking that these northern ones might be able to ripen here, but I want more input before I plant them out. Also, do they need any protection from deer in the PNW? The deer on my farm will eat just about anything but fig trees!
Levente, are you 100% certain about the ID of these mushrooms? The reason I ask is because Agaricus is a very big genus and the cultivated mushroom (A. bisporus) has several wild look-a-likes that can be confusing for even the pros. Also, where do you live? For example, wild A. bisporus is common in coastal central California, but rare in the Pacific NW. Agaricus campestris, the Meadow Mushroom, is the species most commonly confused with wild A. bisporus.
At any rate, if you want more Agaricus, then I would recommend that you make spore emulsion and begin dumping it all around your property, especially grassy areas around compost piles. To make spore emulsion, throw a bunch of old mushroom caps into a bucket, add a spoonful of molasses and a pinch of salt. Then fill up the bucket with warm, non-chlorinated water. Stir it up, let it sit for a day or so and then dump it or spray it all around your place. I would also spread of a lot of lime around your place too, since Agaricus mushrooms LOVE calcium. And finally, if you don't have a sprinkler system, I would recommend getting one since Agaricus will really benefit from late summer watering. Running a mister on established patches can increase production, too. Do not let your grass turn brown or dry out. Good luck!
PS: Complete instructions for growing Agaricus and making spore emulsion can be found in the books by Paul Stamets. Growing kits can be purchased from Mushroom Adventures and used as spawn, too.
Last up, Reishi:
A little to old to sell. Harvest season is June to September. I've put it on my calendar for next year. Sounds like it's very good for you but nasty to drink! Has anyone drank and Reishei tea? What did you do to make it palatable?
I've been drinking tea from various species of Ganoderma every morning for over 20 years. I really like the flavor of the tea, but it is definitely an acquired taste. I mostly use the Artist's Conk/Ancient Ling Chih (Ganoderma applanatum) and the Oregon Reishi (G. oregonense), as regular Reishi (G. lucidum) is not found in the wild in Oregon. Basically, I harvest the mushrooms during a hot, dry period, dry them in the sun, and then cut off small chunks for tea. I boil a small piece for 10-30 minutes, then add a tea bag or two and let it steep for a while. I recommend adding honey to your first batch of Reishi tea, because it really helps get rid of the bitter taste. You might even grow to like the flavor of Reishi tea with honey. Bigger chunks of Reishi can be re-used several times. We also make a tincture by just adding fresh Ganoderma to large mason jars and then adding vodka or grain alcohol.
Reishi tea acts as an allergy medication, is an immune system booster, helps balance blood sugar, helps with weight loss and also leads to a feeling of well-being. I almost never get colds or the flu. It's one of my favorite group of mushrooms. The Ancient Taoist sages of China praised Reishi/Ling Chih as the key to an extremely long life free of illness.
Landon, congratulations on your Agaricus find! Those look like The Prince (Agaricus augustus) to me. This is one of the best mushrooms for the table- if you can beat the maggots to them! The Agaricus group can be difficult to identify down to species, but The Prince has much more yellow coloration on the caps than the other Agaricus species found along the West Coast. The toxic lookalikes have grayer or whiter caps. The Prince is apparently also found in Europe, too. Its preferred habitat is hard-packed soil that is rich in calcium/limestone.
Dale Hodgins wrote:Have any of you tried to grow shitake on uprooted tree stumps ? I've made an arrangement to have hundreds of stumps delivered in demolition containers for a very ambitious hugelkultur project. For mushrooms, the excavator would stack them in rows 8-10 ft high, with a 4 foot corridor between. My plan, which is open to revision, is to inoculate them immediately and hope the shitake become dominant. Moisture is not a problem. Any suggestions on how to prevent other mushrooms from invading. Cleanliness is not an option, due to the awkward nature of stumps.
I may place a few thick rows up to 10 feet apart and span the gap with a single plane greenhouse roof. This would be a sort of pit house for things that can take partial shade. I imagine that the fruiting season would be different inside the greenhouses. I'm hoping to extend the harvest period by providing differing conditions, since shocking and moisture control will be less accurate in piles that may go 100 tons each. This is all dependent on supply. There's room for 1000 tons. They are paying me $4 per cubic yard. This works out to roughly $10 per ton. Material will show up muddy and busted up from being packed into the bins with an excavator.
Dale, I have some questions about your plan. What species of trees are the stumps from? When do you plan to inoculate the stumps (summer, fall, etc.)? How soon after the trees are cut and the stumps excavated?
My experience with shiitake is that they are very susceptible to contamination problems from ground contact or mud and my gut feeling is that they would probably not be a good choice for a project like this. Plus, they only can grow on certain hardwoods such as oak or maple. (But perhaps certain aggressive strains of oyster mushrooms could succeed.) Just my 2 cents.
Judith, the White Chanterelle (Cantharellus subalbidus) is not found in your area. Apparently they're only found in the Pacific Northwest and California. (However, I think there is also a similar chanterelle found in northern Europe.) The flavor is superb, very similar to our version of the Golden Chanterelle, only slightly meatier. In fact, they make a great substitute for chicken and go well with cream sauces or pasta. I find the White Chanterelle underneath Douglas-fir, manzanita, madrone, tanoak and chinquapin. They are extremely difficult (or impossible) to cultivate, but established wild patches respond well to summer watering and misting. I use a lawn sprinkler, then switch to a mister latter in the summer. Fruitings begin in Oregon in mid to late summer and last till mid to late fall. Here's the scoop from wikipedia:
Judith, those photo are really cool. That recipe really sounds delicious- I'm gonna have to try that! I soaked a few of my Bellwether logs last month during a cool, wet period and I got a real nice fruiting off them. It's hot and dry here now, so I'm going to wait till fall before I soak any more logs. In the meantime, I've started running a sprinkler on one of the White Chanterelle patches that is next to my main blueberry garden. I've also been finding Yellow Chanterelles along the ocean in the fog belt- woohoo!
Kaeyli, that looks like a Gnome-plant (Hemitomes congestum) to me. I've stumbled upon these rare plants before while picking mushrooms in the Cascades or along the Oregon coast. According to Donald Eastman, in Rare and Endangered Plants of Oregon, "some authors place this species in the Indian-pipe Family of plants (Monotropaceae) which includes all the closely related Heath Family saprophytic or mycotrophic plants". These plants are usually found in unlogged areas and hang out with their fungal friends in the shade of ancient trees. Here is the entry from the Encyclopedia of Life, see if this matches your find:
When I use urine as a fertilizer on any project involving straw, I usually see various kinds of inedible inky cap mushrooms pop up, especially from the old Coprinus radiatus group- the Miniature Woolly Ink Cap. These kinds of mushrooms are considered "weeds" by commercial Agaricus and Pleurotus (Oyster) growers. They also indicate that an excess amount of nitrogen is remaining after the composting process has been completed. In fact, I just noticed some of these "weed mushrooms" in my Almond Agaricus/ leached cow manure project- not a good sign! The more nitrogen added to a mushroom substrate, the more contamination problems pop up.
If you do try inoculating straw bales with oyster spawn, try to get a cold weather strain. Field and Forest has a lot of strains to choose from. It's a cool idea (no pun intended). I wish you luck with your project and that you can report back to us with the results!
Phoenix Oyster (Pleurotus pulmonarius) and Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) can be grown on pine logs or chips, at least according to Paul Stamets. Field and Forest recommends growing Blewits (Clitocybe nuda) on "pine needle/ pine chip duff mixed with organic matter, making it a good candidate for seeding into piles of chips, sticks, and leaves". Good luck!
Dan, your questions show an insatiable curiosity about growing mushrooms- that's a good thing to have! I have some experience with some of the species you mentioned. P=primary, S=secondary, B=both.
Shaggy Mane: This species is featured heavily in all three cultivation books by Paul Stamets. He suggests cow or horse manure compost, or beds of hardwood sawdust/chips. "Newly laid or fertilized lawns that are frequently watered are perfect habitats..." However, I've never had any success with growing Shaggy Manes from spawn purchased from Fungi Perfecti. However, I've had some success adding Doug-fir sawdust to a pre-existing patch in a gravelly area near my barn. This species seems to like limestone gravel and soils rich in calcium. Mushroom Adventures (mushroomadventures.com) sells kits with manure compost in boxes that can be grown inside your house. Check out their photo gallery. Fungiforthepeople.org also sells outdoor spawn for this one in the springtime. B
Shaggy Parasol: I've had some success growing this one from dumping spore emulsion around fruit trees in an orchard mulched with horse manure/compost. This one likes soils rich in calcium and nitrogen. The "newly laid lawn habitat" would also be ideal for a project for this one, too. S
Prince: This one can be grown on leached cow manure compost with lime. I'm trying to grow it right now with this same method I use to grow Almond Agaricus. I've also noticed this ones loves limestone gravel areas. Check out mushroomadventures.com or fungiforthepeople.org for more info. B
Angel Wings: Although this species is listed as edible in all the older books, several people have died recently from eating this species in Japan. I used to eat it, but I don't anymore! It's not worth the risk. This link has info about the deaths in Japan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleurocybella_porrigens
Fairy Ring: This one seems to like well-watered lawns around extremely well-rotted remnants of tree stumps. I've never heard of anyone growing it, although I'd like to find out how! S
Blewit: According to Field and Forest, this species "seems to have a preference for hardwood and pine needle/pine chip duff mixed with organic matter... making it an ideal candidate for seeding into piles of chips, sticks and leaves". Field and Forest sell spawn for this one, although I bet you could transfer mycelium from a wild patch to a fresh slash pile and start your own patch for free. B?
The shroomery.org website has a section for gourmet mushroom cultivation, it's worth checking out. Hope this info helps!
Although John has already done an excellent job of answering your questions, I thought I might add a little story. (I don't know if it's true or not.)
Years ago I heard rumors that celebrated Oregon author and farmer Ken Kesey would feed a certain type of blue-staining mushroom to the cattle on his farm. Late in the summer, the desired mushrooms would pop up in his pasture next to the cowpies. I'm not sure what the cows thought about this method of cultivation. According to some recent studies, truffle spores definitely germinate after passing through an animal's gut- in fact, that's how they spread their spores around.
I've used pre-soaked straw for years as a casing layer, especially for King Stropharia on wood chip beds. The straw actually works better than peat moss and is way cheaper. I get it for free at the stables- the manure and urine in the straw help feed the mycelium and make the mushrooms bigger.