Foraging for edible mushrooms in the forests of the Oregon coast led us to this striking King Bolete. Known as the King, Boletes edulis is prized by mushroom enthusiasts everywhere fungi grow. A hugely popular mushroom in the Pacific Northwest also called Porcine or Cep and is gathered from late summer into fall.
Foraging Edible Mushrooms
Edible mushrooms are plentiful in the fields and forests of the coast. This abundance of fungi occurs because of the Pacific oceans moderating influence. Moist air, rain, and warm temperatures create the perfect environment for fungi.
Foraging for mushrooms is a passion for us. We harvest year-round with late summer through December providing the most abundance. We primarily use mushrooms to supplement our food supply but also collect and dry them for medicine and bushcraft application.
Harvesting Mushrooms on Public Lands
The USFS and BLM lands are good areas to begin discovering and forage for mushrooms. For our area, the Siuslaw National Forest is close with good areas to mushroom. No harvest permit is required on the Siuslaw for personal use. However, there are limits to how much you can harvest.
What the rain brings
Mushrooms come in a dizzying array of shapes, sizes, and colors. In fact, some mushrooms such as the woody Polypore's, are too tough to eat. But have uses for health and outdoor survival application. Moreover, the edible varieties of mushrooms are nutritional and delicious.
The Oregon coast is rich in edible and useful fungi. The winter mushrooms we gather include Chanterelle, Hedge Hog, and Yellow Foot. A medley of winter mushrooms are added to the cooking pot.
The Lobster Mushroom
During early August, a fascinating mushroom starts to flower along the forest floor.
A mottled white with a pinkish tinge to pale yellow when first blooming to a rich lobster red as it matures. This mushroom has a distinct strong seafood aroma which becomes stronger with age.
A name that both implies its color, red as a Lobster, and taste, distinctly seafood. Hypomyces lactifluorum, the Lobster, is a prized edible fungus for mushroom foragers to discerning Chefs of the Pacific Northwest.
The truly fascinating and somewhat creepy story of the Lobster is it is a parasitic fungus that transforms the Short-Stemmed Russula mushroom, Russula brevipes, into the non-gilled Hypomyces lactifluorum.
Weird, right? To learn more about the parasitic transformation of the Short-Stemmed Russula visit the information site Wikipedia.
King of the forest
In conclusion. Mushrooms are king on the Oregon coast. Native plants that present the curious forager with a lifetime of enjoyment. Culinary delight, medicine, and plain fun. These amazing plants keeps us interested and active year after year.
“It is possible to live without gold and silver,
And one can resist the temptations of seductive women,
But to abstain from eating mushrooms is difficult.” Poem by Latin poet Martial (43-104 AD)
Follow Lifesong Wilderness Adventures on Instagram for a variety fungi photo's.
Mushroom books we recommend
- Paul Stamets - Mycelium Running.
- What the Rain Brings and More - David Arora. This is my recommended field guide.
- Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest by Steve Trudell & Joe Ammirati.