Forager’s Report – Spring King and Morel Foray in the Crystal Basin – May 31 to June 2, 2019

This year has been a “first time ever” for Mycomarin.  At the beginning of the year we had our  Fungus Festival and last weekend we had our first camping trip.  It quickly filled up with enthusiastic members of our society as soon as it was announced.

After the dismal findings of my three previous forays, I was really not expecting anything from this outing.  However, when we got to the campgrounds, we soon started finding “indicator species”  such as Snow Plants (Sarcodes sanguinea) and Bladder and Violet Cups (Peziza vesiculosa and violacea).  We also found one plant that I believe we identified incorrectly as a snow plant and might have been a Sierra Orchid (Corallorhiza maculate).

The Peziza is not thought to be an indicator but,  according to my friend Kingman Bond-Graham, “Most of the time when people say “indicator species” they are referring to fungi that live in the same habitat at the same time of year, but there is no known relationship or association between the fungi.”  When I saw some pezizas while foraging, I told Alexandra to look for morels and she found them.  So much for pezizas not being indicators, if the weather is right.

One of the activities of this foray was to learn to sort morels according to their appeal to mushroom buyers.  It also taught us how to identify morels past its prime.  This “class” was meant to take place before the pot luck, scheduled for 7 p.m.  Fortunately for our group, Xander was looking closely at the weather and saw that the afternoon storm would arrive around 5.  So we convened at 4 and Xander showed us how to recognize first, second and third class morels.  She then worked her magic and prepared grilled morels, both stuffed and plain.  Kevin worked hard stuffing the morels…  So good!  They taste just like roast pork, some say bacon…

And then the heavens opened up and we were given a veritable show:  thunder, lightening, heavy rains.  The best part about camping out with other people is that you get to know them better and grow a bond.  If you pair that with stormy weather where you have to actually huddle together under a tarp, that bond grows even stronger.

In my experience, mushroomers not only like being outdoors, but love cooking as well.  As expected, the potluck was delicious.  Just to mention a few of the dishes off the top of my head:   The roasted and stuffed morels of Xander and Kevin, Nicole’s Persimmom and Candy Cap Cake with Candy Cap icing,  Colleen’s oatmeal cookies, Jay’s Sourdough Bread, Trish and Mimi’s Sweet Rice Bundles, and Ben’s Fennel Cakes.  All participants brought delectable concoctions worth mentioning but I was kind of busy trying to stay dry in the downpour and did not write them down, having to rely on memory.…   If I missed yours, sorry for the omission.

The truth is I found nothing, but other people in our group did and that is good enough for me.  As you can see in the chart below, we did find more than just morels.  Colleen and I try our best to identify all mushrooms, but we do not claim to be experts.  There were about seven or eight more mushrooms we totally failed to identify and, if there are mistakes in the list below, remember we are just mushroom enthusiasts.


Spring King and Morel Foray – Crystal Basin — May 31 to June 2, 2019


California Mushrooms – The Comprehensive Identification Guide



See you at the next foray!