Cowichan Foray Update



“There will be absolutely NO acceptance of drop-ins for the day participation.  Unless otherwise requested (for example: privately invited by lead experts), no additional participation can be accepted at this time.” 

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

SVIMS 2021 Cowichan foray results

The 2021 SVIMS Cowichan foray gathers in the rain before the first forays. Photo by Steve Strybosch. (click to enlarge)

SVIMS held its annual Cowichan Foray last weekend at the Cowichan Lake Education Centre.  About 60 people—counting both the full-foray attendees and the Saturday day trippers—had fun seeking out the fall mushrooms.  Even the steady rain couldn’t dampen their spirits. 

Besides enjoying the evening entertainment sessions and chowing down on the great food at the Centre, foray participant took several guided walks to view and collect samples of the area mushrooms. Melanie Hess and Steve Strybosch have generously provided a large number of candid shots and specimen photos from the weekend, for those who would like to view them.

2021 was a good year for mushrooms around Cowichan Lake.  We found the usual suspects, of course, but we also had some surprises.  In all, we tallied about 115 different species of mushrooms.

We experimented with a novel way of recording our 2021 finds. In other years, we used a simple list format, which preserved no images of our finds and did not allow those who weren’t present at the foray to see and comment. This year we photographed our collections and made about 124 iNaturalist observations out of them. You can view and comment on them here.

The pictures we used in the iNaturalist observations are snaps of the table specimens. If attendees submit their field pictures of these collected specimens (please!), we will add them to the observation records.

Vouchering is always important part of recording. In previous years we have depended on the deep expertise Oluna and Adolf Ceska to know what should be preserved and to make the vouchers. In their absence, we did what we could, judging 10 specimens to be voucher-worthy. The vouchered specimens can be viewed here.

The vouchers will eventually be submitted to the Beaty Museum.

Some interesting finds:

(1) A team looking along the road by the lake came across curious white-spored caps with long rooting bases:

We initially put it in the Hymenopillis / Oudemansiella genus, a rooting shank group that has very few exemplars from western North America.

A better guess, and one that is consistent with the microscopy of the specimen, is that this is just a Mycena galericulata with an uncommonly long rooting shank. No one, however, has ever reported a 10 cm rooting base for M. galericulata.

(2) David Walde and his crew found an unusual polypore/crust, Postia ptychogaster

David had just seen one of these at the Whistler Fungus Among Us festival and was able to recognize it in the woods around the camp. 

This is not a common find. Adolf and Oluna Ceska, however, found this species in 2019 in the nearby Marble Bay Park.


(3) One of the crew made a nice collection of Inosperma calamistratum, the green-foot fibrehead. The green bases were somewhat obscured by mud, but the green colour still poked through.

The strange geranium-like smell suggests, however, that this is actual Inosperma mucidiolens, a species that was once a variety of I. calamistratum that has since been raised to species status.

The iNaturalist software does not have I. mucidiolens in its database yet–we have contacted iNaturalist curators.

(4) As in other years, we found many exemplars of the unusual Tricholoma transmutans, which looks a lot like the red-brown trich, Tricholoma pessendatum group (which we also found). 

The species concept around these red-brown tricholomas with yellowish gills is a bit of mess. The species could also end up with the name Tricholoma nictitans or Tricholoma fulvum.

A big, big thanks to Kurt and all of the team that worked so hard to make this event happen in pandemic times!

Britt Bunyard presentation and foray March 2020

Britt Bunyard, editor of Fungi Magazine, made another visit to SVIMS in March.  Britt gave an amazing presentation on Amanitas (his book on North American Amanitas will be out in 2 months and his beginner’s guide to mushrooms in the fall.) A version of his talk is available on YouTube.

Britt talks about mushrooms while holding the Skunk Cabbage Sceptre of Power

On Saturday, March 7, 2002, about 30 SVIMS members joined Britt and Andy for a fungal walk through Metchosin’s Blinkhorn Park. The group found over 30 species.  These were entered into the Metchosin Biodiversity Project database of observations and species.  You can view the species and pictures at the Project’s iNaturalist site.