Pre-Fungus Fair Walk

I have written previously about the Santa Cruz Fungus Fair in my 2012 article, “Stalking the Wild Arora,” which may give you some sense of the wacky, yet educational, atmosphere of the Fair. We are going on Sunday, specifically to catch David Arora’s talk, “Wheel of Fungi” (sounds mystical!).

The 39th Annual Santa Cruz Fungus Fair is taking place today and through this weekend. Accordingly, this is mushroom season; after the first major rains, it’s a great time to go out to the pine forest at Point Lobos and take a look around. M. and I are amateurs, and couldn’t identify most of the mushrooms we saw (although we identified lots of Fly Agarics, and a few Boletes; but it’s fun to try, anyway, and take photos along the way.

A classic Amanita Muscaria, or Fly Agaric. There are LOTS of these at Point Lobos, and they are stunning, and maybe a little disturbing. They are also poisonous.

Poisonous, that is, unless you prepare them correctly. And here is a film showing David Arora preparing Amanita Muscaria for a group of fungi aficionados. But please don’t try this without the guidance of a professional mycologist! Read “Notes on the Ingestion of Amanita Muscaria” for an interesting and even funny report of one group’s euphoric experience with mushroom poisoning.

When a Fly Agaric gets battered by the rain, it loses its spots.

The shape of this mushroom reminds me of Chanterelles, but I know that’s not what it is. If you can identify it, please let me know!

The largest Fly Agarics on our walk were growing in areas off the trail where we couldn’t walk. These were about the diameter of dinner plates.

A healthy little group of mushrooms growing on the side of the tree.

Side view of one of the same type, growing on the other side of the trunk.

There were a lot of unidentifiable (to us) tiny mushrooms growing among the pine needles.

Yet another “unidentified” mushroom.

See also:
* “Amanita Muscaria” in First Nature.
* Big Sur Foragers Festival (only one day left — tomorrow!)
* Fungi Magazine
* “Down the Rabbit Hole with David Arora” in Fat of the Land (a very good article by well-known forager, Langdon Cook).