Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can you tell me if I can eat this mushroom I found?
A: We invite you to send us your mushroom pictures via the contact form, with the understanding that they may be posted here on the blog and/or on the affiliated Facebook group (with proper credit to you) if of interest to our readers. However, we will not give you any assurance as to a mushroom’s edibility from photos and email descriptions only, as this information is not enough to safely make an identification. We may suggest a possible genus or species for you to cross-check with your guidebooks, but the onus is always on you alone to ensure that it is safe.
You may post a picture in the Mushroom Identification forum or on the Facebook group page for other users to comment on, but again, at your risk alone.
If you are interested in edible mushrooms and would like more information, it is suggested you join the Arizona Mushroom Club and get hands-on experience and guidance.
Q: Can you tell me where to find mushrooms I can eat?
A: As a rule, it is bad manners to ask mushroom foragers for detailed directions to their “honey holes”, and even if you do, you are unlikely to get a correct and helpful answer. Most people will not mind telling you the general area (County, city, mountain range, National Forest, etc.) where they found a mushroom. If you’re lucky they might tell you the number of the forest road, and a general idea how far to travel down it.
You can also feel free to ask about the altitude, steepness and compass orientation of the slope, nearby species of trees or other plants, soil type, the date a mushroom was collected, and what the weather was like in the area before it was found.
A posting on this site in the summer of 2013 discussed the best places to look for mushrooms in Arizona. These high altitude, rainy parts of the state are definitely the locales where you should focus your foraging efforts in the summer monsoon months of July, August, and September.
There are a few mushrooms found in the fall and winter off-season, especially in medium elevation river bottoms. And there are also some springtime morels in good years, especially black morels in burned-over areas in the mountains and yellow morels in the river bottoms among cottonwood trees. These are more challenging and less fruitful pursuits, however.
Your best bet is to join the Arizona Mushroom Club and go on some forays! You will learn many places to go and many secrets of the hobby from experienced collectors.
Q: Dude, can you help me grow some magic mushrooms?
A: This site will not tolerate or facilitate illegal activity. If this is your main interest in fungi, we suggest you go to Shroomery instead.
You are welcome to show photographs of any psychoactive species you find in the wild, and talk about the science and culture of the entheogens in general terms, but specific discussions of cultivation techniques and illegal sales/purchases of these mushrooms are not permitted.
Those who wish to forage for these species in Arizona will be disappointed. Very few grow in the relatively dry conditions here. As someone once said, you’d do better to pick up aluminum cans on the roadside until you have enough money for a hit of LSD.
Q: I’m interested in harvesting wild mushrooms for commercial sale. Can you help me?
A: We do not cater to large-scale commercial mushroom pickers who strip-mine the forest and send it all to New York or Tokyo. If this is your only interest in mushrooms, we are not the place for you. Consider Matsiman instead, and be advised that there is very little commercial harvesting of wild mushrooms in Arizona. Our suitable terrain for mushrooms is limited and remote, and there is undependable rainfall and a short growing season.
If you are an amateur forager who finds a large flush of easily recognized edibles, and wants to trade or sell the surplus locally to fellow readers of this site, that will be tolerated, but strictly at the sole risk of buyer and seller, and only in accord with the Terms of Service.
Q: Can I sell other stuff here?
You may sell art, artisanal goods and personal services that pertain to fungi, other wild foods, and the Arizona backcountry, if the items are legal and you’re not obnoxious about it. No more than one post a month, please. No mass-produced consumer goods or commodities. Be advised that your post will be removed at the sole discretion of the proprietor of AMF if it is judged not to be in keeping with our mission and values.
Q: Can I use your pictures for my own purposes?
A: Yes, you may use any of these images for anything you like at no charge, as long as they are not already credited to someone else. Please credit “Christopher C. May, M.D. — Arizona Mushroom Forum”, and link back to the site if you use them on-line.
Q: Can I trust you? What mycological training have you had? How can I be sure you know what you’re talking about?
A: You can’t. I am merely an enthusiastic intermediate-level amateur at this. I have a little training in medical mycology from my days in medical school, but no formal training in general mycology. I’ve been a member of the Arizona Mushroom Club for a couple of years and have read a fairly large amount of books, articles, and on-line writings on the topic, but you should never rely on what I write here to eat wild mushrooms without confirming it with other trustworthy sources. If you find an error, please send a correction.
Q: How do I make a post here?
A: Posting articles on the main blog is restricted to invited guest contributors. Please use the Contact page if you wish to post something on the blog as a guest author.
Each post or comment is the opinion and responsibility of the person making it, and not the editor of this website or any other entity, unless otherwise specified.
Q: Can I talk about my favorite political cause/religious dogma/sports team?
A: Please take that elsewhere. This board is generally lenient about what can be posted, but we wish to avoid tedious, disruptive, and/or divisive topics outside our scope of interest. It’s all right to discuss political questions in a civil fashion if they bear directly on mushrooming in Arizona, such as the establishment of the proposed Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument, but it’s not acceptable to get in angry, insulting flame wars. Such posts will be quickly deleted.
We have a very wide readership that spans the political, cultural, ethical, and economic spectrum. All are welcome here: vegans, hunters, conservatives, liberals, radicals, any race, any religion, any age. Be kind and congenial to each other, follow the Golden Rule, and keep the controversial stuff on your own page.
Q: Can I post trophy pictures from my hunts here?
A: We certainly have a lot of outdoorsmen (and outdoorswomen) among our readership who see sustainable, ethical hunting as an extension of their interest in mushrooms and other wild food. But we also have quite a number of people who feel strongly against hunting and/or meat eating, and correctly note that this topic is not really within the group’s purview. Conversations about hunting are acceptable among willing participants, but it would be better if gory trophy shots did not appear without warning in the news feeds of those who find them upsetting. A reasonable middle ground would be to show only photographs of the living animal prior to taking it, or to post your pictures elsewhere and provide a link that can be followed by those who are interested.