2019 SVIMS Workshop: Introduction to mushroom identification

Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm, in September 28th –29th 2019

No cost for this event!!!

To register, send an email to David Walde at this address

Registrations will be taken till until September 6 (up to and including the SVIMS meeting then). 

David Walde (secretary)


Required pre-reading: Before Saturday, September 28, read these sections under Studying Mushrooms at the Mushroom Expert web site http://www.mushroomexpert.com/ ·

  • Collecting for Study

  • Making Spore Prints

  • Descriptions & Journals

  • Identifying Mushrooms

  • Determining Odour and Taste


Saturday Classroom session: Location: University of Victoria, exact location TBD

10 – 10:30  Welcome, discussion of goals & expectations, discussion of pre-reading assignment

10:30 – 12  Hands-on, interactive mushroom identification to major groups

12 – 1  Lunch on your own 1 – 4 Hands-on, interactive mushroom identification to genus

  • We will provide materials for the group to work with
  • We will provide printed keys for mushroom identification
  • Bring along any gilled mushrooms (good collections of one or two species ONLY) that you harvest from the wild and spore print before the workshop (optional)
  • Bring along a hand lens if you have one
  • Bring along any mushroom identification books that you want to use
  • Bring along your bag lunch or go out for lunch


Sunday Classroom session Location: University of Victoria, exact location TBD

10 – 12  Hands-on, interactive mushroom identification to genus and species

12 – 1  Lunch on your own 1 – 4 Hands-on, interactive mushroom identification to genus and species

New pocket mushroom guide

I’d like to call your attention to a new mushroom guide for our general area. It was just published this spring. The book is by Drew Parker, a member of the Pacific Northwest Key Council, a person several of us know. The title is Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.
Drew did the book with Theresa Marrone, an author of many field guides, and the book is modelled after a book that Marrone did called Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest. The books are published by a small publisher in Minnesota (Adventure Publications) that specializes in field guides.
The book is quite small, barely 6X4 inches, and about 300 pages long. It has about 140 main entries. Since it is a limited-coverage pocket guide, it should be compared to David Arora’s All that the Rain Promises, a book with similar size, purpose, coverage, and price (each is about $22 CN on Amazon).
Some observations:
(1) Though there are only about 140 main entries, Marrone and Parker’s book mentions in passing at least 500 mushrooms. Compare this to Arora’s 220 entries that mention very few other mushrooms. Though almost all of the entries in Marrone and Parker’s book start with a specific mushroom at the head, some of the entries are groups (Elfin Saddles, Funnel Caps, LBMs, Purplish Cortinarius, for example) that are opportunities to mention briefly some of the species in the group. Mushrooms that aren’t main entries get about 3-5 lines of text each.
(2) Most entries have a page of text on the left and pictures on the right. Those that aren’t in a two-page spread have text on the bottom 2/3 and pics on the top 1/3. A full right-hand page picture is almost always divided into 3-4 individual photographs. The individual images, almost all of which have been taken by Drew, are high quality pictures. Most of them show mushrooms posed to display diagnostic features. The images, of course, are by necessity small, given the size of the book and the number of pictures on a page. On the whole, though, they are not much smaller than the pictures in All that the Rain Promises.
(3) The mushroom descriptions have separate paragraphs for Compare, Notes, Spore Print, Seasons, Other Names, Habitat, and Description (though not all of these appear in every main entry). The description paragraphs uses a running text with a green-coloured font to highlight the mushroom’s main features. Compare this to David Arora’s point form summaries of main features.
(4) There is a 16-page intro to mushrooms in Marrone and Parker’s book, about the same as David Arora’s book. The intro to Marrone and Parker makes effective use of small pictures to show the various forms taken by morphological features (how gills attach, for example). There is nothing in the book, however, that is comparable to the fascinating box essays in David Arora’s book
(5) Marrone and Parker’s book has a glossary with about a hundred items. David Arora’s book has no glossary. Both have indexes of common and scientific names, but Marrone and Parker has them all in a single alphabetic sequence.
(6) About 20 mushrooms in Marrone and Parker’s book are broken out of their groups and put at the beginning as “Top Edibles” and “Top Toxics.” The rest are in 10 groups (cap and stem with gills, cap and stem with pores, atypical caps, shelf with pores, shelf with gills, other shelfs, spherical, cup-shaped, coral and club, miscellaneous). Except for a 2-page spread at the beginning with miniature pics and symbols to help the reader get to the right group, there is no systematic identification guidance, such as keys or charts, nor is there an intro at the head of each group explaining what the group is about. This is, like David Arora’s book, a flip-through-the-pics-and-find-something-similar kind of guide.
(7) Common names are included. In fact, the common names are the main headings and the scientific names are in small print under them. The scientific names reflect the latest taxonomical changes.
(8) Marrone and Parker’s book has good coverage of mushrooms in our area of BC. In fact, in a quick flip through the major entries, I saw only a couple that weren’t all that relevant to our area of BC. The coverage of our specific BC mushrooms is, I think, better than David Arora’s book, which focuses, of course, on California mushrooms. However, some of the mushrooms in Marrone and Parker are relatively rare in our locale. (To be fair, though, hardly any guide book will be as good for a specific region as one targeted to just that region.)
I’ll bring a copy to the next SVIMS meeting for those who want to look at it.

Pictures from Adolf’s Dung Mushroom Talk

At the SVIMS April meeting a full house gathered to hear one of the founders of SVIMS, Adolf Ceska, hold forth on the glories of dung mushrooms.  

His stellar photographs and Oluna’s skilled drawings opened a door on dung that SVIMS members, either accidentally or intentionally (phew!), had closed.

Adolf Ceska talk Apr 4 2019

Do your friends sometimes say "mushrooms are bullsh#t?" They may be wrong, but perhaps they are not all wrong. A number of our local fungi make feces, fresh and old, their homes. Come hear what may be the first-ever North American mycological society talk on dung mushrooms.

After the talk, Father Adolf will hear your confessions.

SVIMS Mushroom Chinese Dinner

Traditional SVIMS Mushroom Chinese Dinner will be at a new place:

Don Mee Restaurant, 538 Fisgard St, Victoria, BC

Saturday, March 16, from 6 pm to about 8 pm Price: $38.- (that includes taxes and gratuities)

This event is open to everybody who is interested in the use of mushrooms in traditional Chinese cuisine. You don’t have to be a SVIMS member to attend, and you can bring your friends.

We have to give the exact number of participants to the Don Mee Restaurant shortly after the SVIMS March 7 meeting, and you have to pay in advance.

How to pay:
You can pay either by cash at the March 7 SVIMS meeting, or by cheque.

If you pay by cheque, make it payable to 
South Vancouver Island Mycological Society, NOT, I repeat NOT to SVIMS.
Send the cheque to:

David Walde
Unit 501, 5350 Sayward Hill Crescent,
Victoria, BC
V8Y 3H9

The menu and meals with be similar to those we used to have in the Golden City Restaurant (the chef is the same). Vicky Low, who used to suggest our menu in the Golden City, also put the coming event menu together. We agreed on the following dishes:

1. MUSHU “Fungus” and Shredded Pork Wraps

2. Hot and Sour Mushroom and Shrimp Soup

3. Free Range Chicken with Black Truffle

4. “Fat Choy” Black Moss Fungus with Shitake Mushrooms and Broccoli

5. Braised Abalone Mushrooms with Bok Choy

6. Black Pepper Steak with Mushrooms

7. “Sam See” Chow Mein (shredded meat and mushrooms)

8. Mushroom, Pickled Mustard Green and Chicken Fried Rice

The chef is pretty flexible and  can accommodate any special requests and food restrictions.

Hope to see you there!

Adolf (& Oluna) Ceska

March 7 meeting — Mushroom Mania

In its early days, SVIMS often had evenings that were member-driven.  Several SVIMS members would bring in shorter presentations.  We return to the glorious days of yesteryear in March when two of our steady and fascinating members, Tom Maler and David Walde, tell us about their mycological adventures.


An evening with Paul Kroeger

The inimitable Paul Kroeger joined us for the February 7, 2019, SVIMS meeting. His talk was on his work at Mt. Meager hotsprings, especially on the unique fungi found there.

President Andy MacKinnon introduced Paul — and showed us a snapshot taken 40 years earlier featuring a much younger duo.