Mid-August update 2014: Mushrooms all over

Looking like a pretty good season so far, not as good as 2013, but not bad.  Photos from readers are coming in almost faster than I can keep up with. We’re hearing some new reports of lobster mushrooms in the Flagstaff area, Caesar’s amanitas in the White Mountains, and even some lovely porcini up on Mt. Lemmon.

To start with, here are the first reports from the Chiricauhua Mountains that we’ve ever received.  This is a “Sky Island” mountain range in Southeastern Arizona with summits approaching 10,000 feet. The area gets a lot of rain, often earlier in the monsoon season than the rest of the state, and should be on mushroom hunters’ radar. Jim Hallstead posted photos of orange caps (Leccinum), slippery jacks (Suillus), and oysters (Pleurotus) on our Facebook page after finding them last week.

Chris Adams has seen quite an assortment of stuff along the Mogollon Rim lately. He sends pictures of Leccinum, Russula, and what looks to be the mediocre edible  Tricholomopsis rutilans, the “Plums and Custard” mushroom.

He also found some Amanita. One of them looks like it could be A. “cochiseana”, our local variant of the A. caesarea complex, but I’m wary and would need to have the specimen in hand before rendering judgment. The others show some pileal warts and yellowish coloration suggesting a yellow variant of A. muscaria, or perhaps A. flavorubescens, which has been collected in Arizona. I implored Chris not to eat any and he assured me he had no such intentions.

Anthoni Goodman had a good day of lobster mushroom hunting up in the Flagstaff area.  These brilliant orange mushrooms (Hypomyces lactifluorum) are a great edible, and I particularly enjoy them in Asian stir-fry.

Mary Smiley also found a fine haul of lobsters in Flagstaff a few days ago, as well as some shaggy manes (Coprinus comatus), shrimp russula (R. xerampelina), and an Agaricus (perhaps A. silvicola.)

If you go hunting lobster mushrooms, make sure you don’t mistake them for another member of the Hypomyces genus: H. luteovirens.  This shouldn’t be hard. While this parasitic ascomycete obliterates the normal anatomy of the host Russula or Lactarius, just like the lobster mushroom, the color is a sickly light green rather than prison-jumpsuit orange. You can see the difference on these recent images from Mike Dechter, also taken in the Flagstaff area.  And don’t you love the photo of his little daughter with a monster Gymnopilus sp.?

But I think the prize for the week goes to Mariano Andrea Rodriguez, who sent some good porcini (B. edulis/B. “rubriceps”) pictures a couple of days ago.  These are from Mt. Lemmon, which has been having an excellent year. Might also be a large Leccinum, and some whitish ones that I can’t see well enough to identify but might be oysters.  Nice job Mariano!

Less than a week to go before the Arizona Mushroom Club foray, and the weather forecasts from now until then look reasonably favorable.  See you there!

If you can’t get all the way to the White Mountains, think about attending the Flagstaff Mushroom Festival.

And coming up soon, a report from the Telluride Mushroom Festival


About Christopher May

Chris is a radiologist in private practice in Scottsdale. He is married to Barbara May, with two grown children, Megan and Nick.
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One Response to Mid-August update 2014: Mushrooms all over

  1. patty sparacio says:

    Really informative site. if anyone has a really good pickling recipe I would love to try it with lobsters.

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