May 2022 SVIMS outing to Metchosin Wilderness Park

Shannon comments on the Amanita pantherina group mushroom found at the beginning of the foray. Photo by Steve Strybosch.

The last of the SVIMS 2022 spring mushroom forays took place on May 28. SVIMS members assembled at the Clapham Road entrance to Metchosin Wilderness Park (see picture below) and spent two hours in a misty rain looking for fungal fructifications. The searchers were successful–the group found about three dozen different species, the highest daily total of the four spring forays.

The day’s inventory can be viewed on iNaturalist. The picture above is the iNaturalist mapping of the species sightings. 

The biggest surprise was coming across several mushrooms more commonly associated with late summer and autumn, such as a Two-Coloured Laccaria (Laccaria bicolor) , an Orange Milk Cap (Lactarius cf luculentus), a young Hebeloma (perhaps Hebeloma mesophaeum), and what was interpreted to be a Clitocybe gibba.

Several of the species found on this foray were the same ones found the week before at the Blinkhorn Lake survey. The Spring Scalecap (Kuehneromyces lignicola) and the Common Cudonia (Cudonia circinans), however, were new and fun finds.

Leaders for this foray were Shannon Berch, Andy MacKinnon, and Bryce Kendrick. Kem Luther (better known, when he is with Andy, as “the adult in the room”) did the recording.

Andy MacKinnon welcomes the group to Metchosin. Photo by Steve Strybosch

2022 SVIMS Blinkhorn Survey

Two dozen members of SVIMS met on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at Metchosin’s Blinkhorn Lake Park to search for spring fungi.

The searchers found 30 species, breaking the spring 2022 record (April 23) for the number of mushroom species found in a foray. The observations can be viewed on iNaturalist.

Steve Strybosch and Melanie Hesz coordinated the registration and sign-in. Kem Luther and Andy MacKinnon came along to help with identification. Elora Adamson assisted with the species photography and recording.

Several of the finds were spring cups:

(1) The asco Eyelash Cup, Scutellenia scutellata, is not exactly rare but always a thrill to find.

(2) Another cup, the Brown Bowl Fungus, Tarzetta catinus, is more of a rare find. This was the first Metchosin sighting of this asco.

(3) The Hairy Fairy Cup, Lachnum virgineum, showed up on some wood impregnated with blue Chlorociboria mycelium.

In addition, forayers also found Alpova concolor and Inocybe stellatospora. The inocybe has not been reported from BC on iNaturalist before, but there are several observations on Mushroom Observer, including ones by Adolf and Oluna and by Fred Rhoades (a Washington friend of SVIMS). Whether these two new finds will hold up depends on what identifiers say about them in coming weeks.

Andy attempts (unsuccessfully) to coach a cloud of spores from a cup fungus. Photo by Kem Luther
Eyelash cup. Photo by Wendy Dooley
Gathering at the entrance to Blinkhorn Park

SVIMS Spring Foray in Metchosin 2022

SVIMS President David Walde and mushroom expert Allen Szafer emerge from Park

On Saturday, April 23, SVIMS had its second local mushroom foray. Twenty-six people arrived at 10:00 pm at Metchosin Wilderness Park, Clapham Road entrance, to spend two hours in the park. Steve Strybosch and David Walde coordinated the registration and sign-in. Kem Luther and Andy MacKinnon came along to help with identification. Elora Adamson helped with the species photography and recording.

Twenty-seven mushrooms were found and IDed. You can see the list and pictures on iNaturalist.  (The exact IDs of mushrooms posted on group sites such as Mushroom Observer and iNaturalist may change after posting as experts weigh in).

One of the highlights of the foray was finding exemplars of the two common spring foraging mushrooms, an oyster mushroom and a morel. (This may be the first morel ever documented in Metchosin Wilderness Park.) The foray group also found a huge stand of another edible, mica cap.

More to come on: a Zoom talk on spring mushrooms happens on Thursday, April 28, 7 pm (see a previous post for details about the talk).

Rest for the weary and help for the curious. Sinclair answers a mushroom question.

Some event photos from Steve Strybosch. Click to enlarge.

SVIMS Spring Foray at Royal Roads

On Saturday, April 16, SVIMS had its first local, non-lichenized mushroom foray in more than two years. About two dozen people showed up at the back entrance to Royal Roads and spent two hours looking high and low for spring mushrooms. Steve Strybosch, Mel Hesz, and David Walde coordinated the registration and sign-in (and, we are happy to report, lost no one in the deep woods of suburban Victoria). Kem Luther and Andy MacKinnon came along to help with identification and Elora Adamson helped with the species photography and recording.

Fifteen mushrooms were found and IDed. You can see the list and pictures on iNaturalist.  (The exact IDs of mushrooms posted on group sites such as Mushroom Observer and iNaturalist may change after posting as experts weigh in). One of the highlights of the foray was finding the beautiful snowbank orange peel cup fungus, Caloscypha fulgens. With a little encouragement from Andy, this ascomycete put on a dazzling display of spore dispersal. See the short clip in this post, courtesy of Mike Gold.

More to come on spring mushrooms, with a foray in Metchosin on Saturday, April 23, 10 am, and a Zoom talk on spring mushrooms on Thursday, April 28, 7 pm (see previous post for details about the talk).

Looking for elusive spring mushrooms. Photo by Steven Strybosch.
Kem: "Keep talking, Andy. I've heard this all before." Photo by Mel Hesz

Luther and MacKinnon -Spring Mushrooms Presentation

On April 28, 2022, at 6:45 we have our “May” meeting, so watch for the e-mailed link which will come before then. Kem Luther and Andy MacKinnon will make a Zoom presentation on Spring Fungi of Vancouver Island. Note that the book Mushrooms of British Columbia mentioned in the bios on the poster is already in bookstores.

James Scott – the Whiskey Fungus

Myco-Consortium presentation

On the trail of the whiskey fungus

A talk by James Scott

Friday, April 1, 7pm Eastern 4:00 PM Pacific

SVIMS has joined the Myco-consortium and sharing in their presentations. This is for MEMBERS ONLY and not to be shared in any way as otherwise we lose the privilege of belonging to this group. 

Despite distillation having been practiced for over 3,000 years, only in the past few centuries have social wealth and agricultural bounty coincided to allow the stockpiling of spirits, with enhanced flavor and aroma characteristics accompanied by increased value as the emergent side benefits. The main downside to spirit aging has been the loss of alcohol over time to evapouration – the so-called ‘Angels’ Share’ – long known to perfume the neighbourhoods around barrel houses. The Angels’ Share, however, is not just for the angels.


Twenty years ago I answered a call from a large distillery to investigate a curious phenomenon of blackening on the outsides of homes, traffic signs, and patio furniture in areas near whiskey barrel houses. Incredulous at first, the unexpected journey that followed revealed a beautiful and physiologically intricate group of fungi that have long been hiding in plain sight, garnered popular press coverage at a level usually reserved for rock stars, and spawned a series of massive lawsuits against powerful multinational corporations. This is the story of the whiskey fungus.


Dr. James Scott is a faculty member in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto where is the Head of the Division of Occupational & Environmental Health, and the Director of the UAMH Centre for Global Microfungal Biodiversity. Dr. Scott’s research focuses on the interactions between people and microorganisms (fungi, bacteria and viruses). His mycological work studies the taxonomy, ecology and aerobiology of human-associated fungi responsible for infectious and allergic disease. His work on bacteria focuses on the influence of environmental exposures on the acquisition and maturation of the infant gut microbiome, and the airborne movement of pathogenic bacteria in healthcare buildings and outdoor air. Dr. Scott’s teaching deals with biological hazards in the workplace and community, public health sanitation, and medical and veterinary mycology. Most recently Dr. Scott joined the executive team of PsiloTech Health Solutions, a Canadian biotech start-up led by neuropsychiatrist and psychopharmacologist Dr. Peter Silverstone to commercialize the clinical use of psychedelic mushrooms in the treatment of PTSD and other psychiatric illnesses resistant to conventional therapy.