Warm December rains produce late oyster mushrooms

Brian Marshall just sent a report from Flagstaff, where this week’s warm, heavy rains have produced a rare December fruiting of oyster mushrooms.  He was mountain biking around 8200 feet elevation in the Little Mt. Elden/Dry Lakes Hills area east of the San Francisco Peaks, and found a nice flush of oysters (probably Pleurotus pulmonarius) on a Douglas fir (Pseudotsugae menziesii) that has been a reliable producer for him.   It’s worth noting that these choice edibles are entirely bug-free thanks to the lateness of the season.

Brian also found gelatinous Dacromyces palmatus, which is a bland but quite edible “witch’s butter” that some people use like tapioca, as well as a number of newly fruited polypore bracket fungi. He thinks lower elevations may do even better over the next few days. Well done, Brian, and thanks for the notification.

The coming week could really cap off the superb 2014 season, if it doesn’t get too cold. Look at the map below, showing the rainfall totals from this storm. The red arrow denotes the San Francisco Peaks area where these mushrooms were found, with over 2 inches of rainfall this week. There was a similar amount of rain in the Prescott area (magenta arrow), so it may be worth making a trip up Mt. Union or Mingus Mountain. 1.5 inches or more fell on the East end of the Mogollon Rim near Woods Canyon Lake (pink arrow.)

(National Weather Service, Dec 6, 2014)

(National Weather Service, Dec 6, 2014)

The orange arrow shows the Slide Fire area above Oak Creek Canyon, exceeding 3 inches of rain in a few locations. This is concordant with a recent report of 3.12 inches of rain at the National Weather Service terrestrial station in the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon. Also note the dark purple arrow pointing to the San Juan fire area, with over 1.5 inches of rain. Wouldn’t one more flush of morels on these two burns be something to see this time of year….

Good luck to anyone who decides to make one last 2014 foray. Send us pictures, or better yet, bring some to the winter potluck and meeting of the Arizona Mushroom Club this coming Thursday evening in Phoenix.


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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2 Responses to Warm December rains produce late oyster mushrooms

  1. Christopher May says:

    A few other December mushrooms have been reported on the Facebook page recently.

    Mike Dechter found oysters (Pleurotus sp.) on a river-bottom cottonwood in the Verde Valley, but someone had beaten him to them, and only stumps remained. He also found a lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum) in the Flagstaff area.

    Eddie Bolero got some oysters, Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) and wood ears (Auricularia auricula) in Sierra Vista.

    David Jacobs found one shaggy mane (Coprinus comatus) at 8200 feet in the White Mountains. Remarkable that it would tolerate the cold temps at that elevation.

    Horace Sheffield found witches’ butter, turkey tail (Trametes versicolor), Ganoderma, and a few truffles in Oak Creek Canyon.

  2. Pingback: Foraying for winter oysters in Oak Creek Canyon tomorrow (18 Jan 2015) | Arizona Mushroom Forum

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