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Leaf, Root Fungi, Fruit

Inky Caps

Photo of inky caps by Leah Bendlin.

Instead of releasing spores into the wind to be carried off in endless raining of zygotes upon the planet surface, inky caps produce an enzyme that eats their bodies. The resulting black slime gets washed away in the next rain. ...

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Ballhead Waterleaf

Some plants ‘speak’ louder than others, standing out in an eye-catching way. The first time we walked into a patch of flowering camas, I said to my partner, “that must be camas!” They were a caricature of themselves — vibrant, ...

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The Snowbank Mushroom

Photo of a snowbank mushroom courtesy of Kelly Chadwick.

In celebration of spring, people flock to their secret locations in search of morels. They start hunting weeks too early, unable to rein in their anticipation. This delusional state reoccurs annually for their entire lifetime. However, there is an antidote, ...

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Inner Bark: A Sweet Treat

Unlike the deliciously exaggerated sugar-and starch-filled produce of today, wild foods are often tough, bitter, astringent, or intensely vegetal, including many prized plants in older cultures. Modern palates aren’t adapted to these flavors. Which brings us to inner bark. Phloem, ...

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The Russula

A couple thousand species of mushroom inhabit our region, quickly perplexing the budding enthusiast. Most people give up once familiar with chanterelles, morels, and shaggy manes. However, there are certain groups of mushrooms that can be approached by broad rules. ...

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Finding and picking fruit is instinctively rewarding, even intoxicating. Like foraging for mushrooms or hunting for Easter eggs, collecting berries triggers our ancient endorphin dropper, which keeps dripping as you pluck the never-enough morsels from the plant. About 20 wild, ...

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The Humble Puffball

The Blackfeet said they were fallen stars. In Western ethno botanical literature, puffballs are referenced far more than other fungi. Nowadays people tend to overlook them, maybe because of the resemblance to softballs, golf balls, and volleyballs. Yet they are ...

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Flower Petals

Spring’s anticipation leads to delusional expectations of woodland bounty before the ground has thawed. Foragers and chefs start calling in March inquiring about items for seasonal menus and pantries. If they left the comfort of their kitchen for a walk ...

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The Velvet Foot

There aren’t many wild foods to collect in the dead of winter and virtually none that are fresh. The velvet foot, flammulina velutipes, is a rare exception. From late fall to early spring, this delicate looking but tough mushroom appears ...

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Muppet Mushroom

The Muppet mushroom is my name for Albatrellus ellisii, officially called greening goat’s foot. A title that would drive off all but the most daring from eating it. This is probably why, in my 25 years of studying fungi, no ...

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