By Thomas Slatter.
The majority of mushrooms and fungi go unnoticed, they burst from the ground and trees in the rainiest months and in the deepest of forests. Many of us walk past them, noting their appearance, but not necessarily knowing all that much about them. Luckily, those who took part in our Demystifying Mushrooms walk were able to learn a whole lot about them. Not just a simple case of “this one won’t kill you, this one will”, identifying mushrooms is an art, as they don’t like to conform to field guide standards.
Mushrooms are capable of independently developing at varied rates and not only do they vary in growth, shape and size, but also location. During the Demystifying Mushrooms walk, Kent Brothers of the Vancouver Mycological Society identified a rarity for Vancouver forests, spotting a Gomphidius oregonensis.
The Gomphidius oregonensis is an edible but not particularly appetizing mushroom (it’s pretty slimy) which is typically found further south, particularly in Oregon (hence its name). It prefers wet forests (typical for a mushroom) and growing up from the roots of Douglas fir trees. While it has been found on Vancouver Island, this is one of the first noted sightings in mainland Vancouver and the first in Stanley Park. Perhaps there are more to be found by those who have the eyes for it!