Monthly Archives: September 2009

Wisconsin Preps for Bat WNS

The fungal disease of bats known as white nose syndrome (WNS) is heading West. According to Sounding the Alarm for Bat Health by Meg Jones:

“For now, Wisconsin’s bat population is hale and hearty. But a devastating fungus is racing through cave-dwelling bat populations in eastern states and it’s headed this way. White-nose syndrome has now killed an estimated 1 million bats, and experts say it could reach Wisconsin within two to three years.”

For a video report on the fight against WNS see Bat Man vs. White Nose.

FWS Map of WNS in the Northeast

FWS Map of WNS in the Northeast

Bat with WNS (Photo by Marvin Moriarty/USFWS)

Bat with WNS (Photo by Marvin Moriarty/USFWS)

New Mushroom Book Available for Review

David Spahr’s book Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada is now available for a MycoRant review. The publisher will send a copy to the reviewer directly. If you are a mycologist at a New England or Eastern Canadian university, or a knowledgeable member of a club from these parts (not including a club that David Spahr is also a member of) you may request the book by email or in the comment section below, or tweet a direct message to MycoRant. Let’s get it done!

Cover of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada

Cover of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada

Martha Stewart Has A Good Mushroom Idea!

“Turn your garden into a toadstool-filled wonderland.”

Well heck yeah!

Perusing the magazine shelf at the library I spotted the cover of Martha Stewart Living. Now normally I would not even notice that mag, but something caught my eye. Mushrooms!


October 2009 Edition of Martha Stewart Living

October 2009 Edition of Martha Stewart Living

On page 54 of the October edition of the magazine there is a short piece about making decorative mushrooms using pumpkins and gourds. (Note: Pumpkins and gourds will be harmed by this project).

Medicinal Mushroom Roundup

Among all the web news about fungi, posts about medicinal mushrooms are notably less common than those about just plain old “mushrooms.” Here’s a collection of recent medicinal mushroom mentions found using both Google and Bing (Honestly? Bing isn’t up to speed for my purposes).

A Melding of Performance Art and Mycological Culture?

It’s a pleasure to come across articles like Subtle Borsato: Artist finds magic in small moments by David Jager. An artist enters Toronto’s Chinatown markets to identify medicinal mushrooms.

“The fun is infectious in The Chinatown Foray, in which she leads members of the Toronto Mycological Society through the stalls of Chinatown grocery stores and Markham medicinal shops to identify different mushrooms.”

Indonesian Oyster Mushroom Entrepreneurs

Local residents strike gold with oyster mushrooms appears at the Jakarta Post.
“Oyster mushrooms are commonly cultivated across Asia, particularly in China and South Korea, for consumption. In addition to being a popular food, oyster mushrooms are also considered to have medicinal properties because of their high levels of statins, such as lovastatin, which work to reduce cholesterol levels. In the backyard of his house, Putu has built a small bamboo shed to grow the oyster mushrooms. He bought 1,000 logs which he inoculates with mushroom spawn. He says he was so happy the first time he saw the mushrooms grow healthily in less than a month.”

Button Mushroom on the Medicinal Radar

I’ve seen several references recently to increased research interest in your grocery store variety button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus). One of note is Study Finds Breast Cancer Fighting Properties within Mushrooms.

“Dr. Chen and her team state: “Results from this and other laboratories support the hypothesis that white button mushrooms may be an important dietary constituent for reducing the incidence of hormone-dependent breast cancer in women. Prevention strategies involving mushrooms are readily available, affordable, and acceptable to the general public.”

Shiitake in India

According to Medicinal mushrooms grow in Himachal, farmers have started growing Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) having medicinal qualities at Solan in Himachal Pradesh, India.

Cordyceps Against the Flu?

That is implied by some of the statements in Super-mushrooms are natural way to fight flu by one Dr. Gifford-Jones.

“Investigation shows that some imported mushroom preparations from China contain only rice flour and nutmeg. Others produced in the U.S. were found to have few of the active ingredients required to increase immunity. What these preparations should have contained was a mushroom called Cordyceps sinensis, one of a group of powerful fungi. A natural mushroom product called ImmuneAssist 24/7 has been developed by a U.S. nutraceutical company. ImmuneAssist 24/7 is prepared by a method called “hybridization” and contains Cordyceps sinensis, plus five other super-mushrooms. Hybridization isn’t the same as genetic modifications, such as cloning. Rather, it’s a traditional method of crossbreeding mushrooms to enhance their natural immune-stimulating powers.”

Wolf on Mushrooms

Here’s my lone find with Bing. Maybe you have heard of David Wolfe but I hadn’t up until now. This is a fairly recent video of his about medicinal mushrooms. He sounds somewhat knowledgeable and partially whack.

Get Some Mushroom Icons

This is a mushroom icon

This is a mushroom icon

If you are a fan of Mario and the mushroom world, or just want to trick out some documents or folders (or just about anything else) with some fancy fungal icons, there are a few places to get them. Unfortunately, the selection of high quality images of mushrooms (or any other fungal imagery) for such purposes is limited. One might even say “nonexistent.”

None the less, if you snoop around these places, maybe you’ll find something you can use. But seriously, someone ought to do a real bang-up job of producing a set of mycologically themed icons. If you happen across some good ones, please let me know and I’ll add them to to this page.

Some will work on a Mac, some on Windows, some on both. A lot of the ones I examined aren’t worth looking at (or using), but these are the best of the lot:

Killer Fungus

A large selection of animated icons labeled for MSN use

Mushroom Stamp (not bad)

Amanita (tolerable)

Mushroom (decent)

Dancing Shrooms

Decent Colors

Laughing Mushroom

Some Mario Mushrooms

A sweatshirt with some retro game mushroom icons (too bad about the hearts)

Yet another Amanita version (okay)

B&W splatter art (different at least)

And possibly the best overall selection at Wikimedia Commons

An Account of the NMMS Annual Foray



Rob Hallock, PhD, and Gretchen Cheverton have been kind enough to write about their experience at the New Mexico Mycological Society Annual Foray, held in Taos during the latter part of august 2009. And here it is…

New Mexico Mycological Society Annual Foray

Taos, New Mexico, was really dry this August, but the New Mexico Mycological Society (NMMS) proved it can throw a fantastic foray even in adverse conditions.

On Thursday August 20th, mushroomers from as far away Sweden, Oregon, and Wisconsin descended upon Taos for the 25th annual NMMS foray. Six people came from neighboring state Colorado, including chief identifier Vera Evenson and her trusty herbarial assistant Rosa-Lee Brace, but most participants were from New Mexico. The foray hosted talks by Clark Ovrebo, Relf Price, and Vera Evenson.  Myxomycete expert Uno Eliasson offered his prolific knowledge of the Protista.

In all, there were 120 specimens vouchered.  These were documented, photographed, dehydrated, and then shipped off to an herbarium.  The Boletaceae were poorly represented.  Jelly fungi were absent.  Cortinarius, Inocybe, and Hypholoma were well represented.  Edibles were few and far between, with the exception of a pound or so of chanterelles that someone scored.  And Hypholoma capnoides if you eat that.

The weather had been dry for several weeks preceding the foray and mushrooms were more or less limited to the banks of running streams. Vera Evenson was noted saying “it may not be the number of mushrooms you collect, but the kinds” – which is, of course, accurate but something you never hear when the mushrooms are plentiful. Hunters did find numerous mushrooms, though, and we had a great tour of them by Walt Sundberg.  Fortunately, picking mushrooms is only part of why we go to national or regional forays.  The other reasons are to spend a whole weekend with other fungi-philes: talks, workshops, picking each other’s brains, learning the new mushrooms that arrive at the tables and making new friends. And whenever you find people passionate about mushrooms you find people passionate about food. The chanterelles found their way into an amazing fruit compote dish that was served up for everyone.

On Saturday evening, NMMS and the Colorado Mycological Society joined together to present Britt Bunyard, the editor of Fungi magazine, with a special surprise.  In 2008 Britt donated copies of the magazine to the Rocky Mountain National Park mycoblitz, and one copy of Volume 1 no. 2 (summer ’08) found its way to the volunteer campground. The copy was put to the ultimate field test.  David Wallis, past president of NMMS, rescued the copy and held on to it for a year.  At the NMMS 25th annual foray, it was finally time to return it to its rightful editor.  David Wallis described the beat up and battered copy best: “You can still read the information on the front cover, even though our campsite copy served as a cutting board, pot holder, placemat, and handy surface for impromptu spore prints. It also served to sop up the occasional spills of the Mycoblitz favorite: Mojitos.  Then came the real test. FUNGI Volume 1 Number 2 lay uncomplainingly in the rain for a dozen or more showers while we drove around Rocky Mountain National Park searching for–fungi. The last folks to leave the campsite (the small contingent from New Mexico) took pity on the poor vegetable-stained, spore-printed, waterlogged magazine, and decided to take it home. We thought, however, that it should ultimately return to its origin, to its creator Britt Bunyard.”

David introduced me and I got to hand the keepsake issue of Fungi to Britt to a loud round of applause.

New Mexico was the perfect setting, beautiful sunsets, abundant friends and spectacular expansive landscape. I even know of a few people who snuck off to browse the world renowned galleries of Taos but I’m not naming any names. What happens in New Mexico stays in New Mexico, and we’ll be sure to return next year.

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