Mushroom Foray
September 10, 2011

Over a dozen people gathered at the Rec Center on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 10, for another search for mushrooms on Chebeague. Several were repeaters from the first foray on August 7, when we found it was still too dry for a good harvest. This time plenty of rain combined with warm weather to produce an ample crop of mushroom types.

Michaeline Mulvey of the Maine Mycological Association (club details on the Web) provided the expertise. After an hour and a half wandering the Littlefield woods, we filled the tables in the Rec Center craft room with mushrooms of all kinds—gilled mushrooms, polypores, puffballs, coral mushrooms, shelf mushrooms and more. Some (Hydnum repandum—Hedgehog; Laetiporus sulphureus—Chicken of the woods; Canthrellus cibarius—Chanterelles) were edible; many, especially the Amanitas, were not. Others were medicinal (Ganoderma lucidum—Reishii; Fomes fomentarius—clinker, also used to carry fire in ancient times), especially popular in Eastern cultures.

“Find a trail with more botanical variety,” advised Michaeline. “That was for beginners.” Well, we were beginners, and she gave us more than enough to think about. Thank you, Michaeline and the MMA!

Our assignment over the winter is to do just that--search out trails that have oaks, beech, birch, ash, pines, hemlock, rotting logs, and more. The more variety in the terrain, the more mushroom types will be ours to find.

Many thanks to the Chebeague Library, the Chebeague Rec Center and the Chebeague Island School for getting the word out and for a space to meet. See you all next August!