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from The Daily Barometer October 21, 2013

Oregon State, University of Oregon mycology classes banded together for first ‘annual’ mushroom gathering trip Saturday in forests near Florence

On a sunny autumn afternoon, traveling high up beyond the Applegate trail and deep into the forests of the Oregon dunes between the deflation plain and the coastal foothills, Oregon State University and University of Oregon students joined together on a trip of a lifetime, searching for what some avid enthusiasts believe is worth its weight in gold — mushrooms.


fungal trip

The location of Saturday’s hunt offered a vast plain of a unique taxonomy, a perfect exploration site for both the new and seasoned hunters.

Joey Spatofora, professor in botany and plant pathology at OSU, teamed up with Jeff Stone, professor at OSU and UO in botany and plant pathology, to lead the volunteer foray. Most of the students were busy building for their collections, as they’re required to gather 20 different genera of mushrooms out of the thousands of genera that exist within Oregon’s terrain.

The task seems easy, but requires insider knowledge from experts to be successful.

The opportunity to travel in the field with faculty who are very knowledgeable served as paramount for the mycology class students, as they were able to lend the students a hand or an identification book.

“You have to I.D. it out, take out the big mycology book, key out the organisms — it takes time and practice,” said Joe Taylor, an OSU senior in natural resources. “A lot of mushroom identification comes from experience.

The faculty and teaching assistants on board brought their global experiences to OSU and UO mycology students as well.

“Back home in Japan, the mushrooms typically rise up in the summer months, and the summers are very humid in Japan, making it uncomfortable to hunt due to all the mosquitoes that are out and how the weather makes you all sweaty,” said Kazuya Tsukagoshi, OSU graduate student in botany and plant pathology. “But here, it’s very dry, so I love doing mushroom hunting in Oregon.”

Tsukagoshi’s favorite mushroom is the Tricoloma Masutake, which translates to pine mushroom.

“You can cook them in many ways with rice,” he said. “It’s the really good stuff.”

Mushroom gathering brings together a community of people with a mutual interest in mycology.

“They’re really nice people, smart and passionate about what they’re doing out there, it inspires me to learn more” Taylor said.

Alisha Quandt, a Ph.D. student in botany and plant pathology studying mycology and a TA for the mycology classes at OSU, joined the Saturday foray.

Quandt formed a collection of several king boletes on the trip.

“They’re a really choice edible, meaning that they are highly sought after,” Quandt said.

So, what’s for dinner?

“I’m thinking about making a gravy with the boletes and maybe putting that on a piece of steak, but I haven’t really decided yet,” Quandt said.

Dacotah-Victoria Splichalova
Science reporter