Learning more about our local mushrooms

Experts help you figure the good ones from the bad.

Dr. Dan Durall holds samples of fungi from our local area picked by students at UBCO.

Dr. Dan Durall holds samples of fungi from our local area picked by students at UBCO.

Recent wet weather has caused a wide variety of different mushrooms to pop up out of the ground—almost overnight.

Big ones and little ones, brown ones and reddish ones, and in all sorts of shapes, it’s not easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys without some training.

If you have a curiousity about mushrooms, the Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club has just the outing for you.

Learn about some of the characteristics that help identify the edible mushrooms and the poisonous ones from UBCO mycologist Dan Durall and some of his graduate students during an expedition to the diverse cedar hemlock forest of Trinity Valley in the Mabel and Sugar Lake areas near Lumby.

That forest type supports a rich variety of mushrooms, he said.

The group will visit two or three different sites and then take the collection to the Lumby Hall to display and discuss them in the afternoon.

Durall admits you can’t learn all about identifying mushrooms in a single day, but he will talk about the importance of noting such characteristics as gill colour, spore colour, the base shape, dots on the cap, whether it’s attached to the stipe, and about the language that’s used to describe mushroom parts.

At the lab, he says they can also identify additional characteristics of mushroom under a microscope.

It’s important when mushroom hunting that you take good notes because even in a day the colour or shape of it might have changed, he noted.

While on the outing, he and his students will point out key mushrooms that are common here such as the lobster mushroom, white chanterelles and others. “There’s a huge amount to learn. Some are edible and in some genus you can get others that are deadly. It can be confusing,” he admitted.

Some mushrooms start out like an egg, then push out of the sac, and there are portions of the “veil” remaining.

The colour of spores is a key identification factor.

How to collect mushrooms will also be discussed. “Don’t put them in a plastic bag. Use foil or a paper bag,” he advised.

Anyone interested about fungi are welcome to join the outing led by Durall.

They will meet at the EECO (Mission Creek Regional Park) at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, to carpool to Lumby. Bring a bag lunch, wear appropriate outdoors clothing and bring collecting bags or baskets. Fabric bags with rigid bottoms are fine, but not plastic. Rolls of waxed paper or foil are also useful. The cost is $10 for insurance, hall rental and an honorarium for the students.





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