Edible Mushroom Forecast February/March

I thought I was being pretty clever with last month’s forecast by simply pointing to the previous month’s forecast. Now I realize that was probably a “one trick pony” that I cannot get away with again. Unfortunately, winter mushroom season is a bit sparse and anti-climactic after the “fall feast”. I did take my own advice about getting off the couch and just getting out into the woods.  Surprisingly, I am still seeing Chanterelles, I mean big Chanterelles in late January, along with Hedgehogs and Winter Chanterelles. Our winter has been mild enough that they have never stopped fruiting. Unfortunately, with the winter rains Chanterelles can become waterlogged and start into the slimy stage all too fast. But, they sure are fun to find this late in the season and I have managed to bring a few pickable ones home. If you want to venture into the unusual territory, you can try the Cat’s tongue which is an often overlooked edible that is out in abundance. You can learn more about this very easily identified mushroom in the CMS Enews Mushroom of the Month article. 

So, is it still worth getting out there? Yes, of course.  Even if you do not find anything edible, it is a great time to explore new potential spots for the fall and also just to enjoy the beauty of the woods. My favorites this time of year are the beautiful and varied mosses and lichens.  A moss is a nonvascular plant, but a lichen is a little more complicated. You may have noticed the large display of lichens at the annual Mount Pisgah Mushroom Festival. They are at the festival because it requires a fungus to form a lichen. It is estimated that 6% of the earth is covered with lichens and nearly 20% of known fungal species are associated with lichens. Recent discoveries have revealed that lichens can be an effective biomonitor of air quality. So, maybe it is time that I, and perhaps you, learn more about these beauties.  Here are a few pics from a recent hike of the Gwynn Creek trail at Cape Perpetua. 

Would you like to learn more about Lichens?
Lichen Walk – February 10th at Mount Pisgah Arboretum 
Introduction to Lichens classApril 7-8 at the Siskiyou Field Institute
OSU’s Lichenland Learn how to identify lichens
Northwest Lichenologists Society
Lichens Connecting People – Facebook Group
What’s in a Lichen? How Scientists Got It Wrong for 150 Years – National Geographic video

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