A New England and Eastern Canada Edible and Medicinal Mushroom Resource
Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius)
Black Trumpet (Craterellus cornucopioides, C. cenerius, C. foetidus)
Small Chanterelles (Craterellus tubaeformis, C. ignicolor)
Hedgehog (Hydnum repandum, H. umbilicatum)
Horse and Meadow Mushroom (Agaricus arvensis, A campestris)
Parasol Mushroom (Macrolepiota procera)
Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus)
(White) Matsutake (Tricholoma magnivelare)
Blewit (Lepista nuda)
Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus, P. populinus)
King Bolete (Boletus edulis) Boletus variipes and other.
Two Colored Bolete (Boletus bicolor)
Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)
Dryads Saddle (Polyporus squamosus)
Morels (Morchella esculenta, M. elata)
Puffballs (Calvatia gigantea, Calvatia cyathiformis, others)
Lobster Mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum)
Aborted Entoloma (Entoloma abortivum)
Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
Reishi (Ganoderma tsugae, G. lucidum)
Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
Artist's Conk (Ganoderma applanatum)
Collecting, Photographing and
Mushroom Collecting Equipment
Mushroom collecting can be done very inexpensively with minimal equipment. You may already have most of the items necessary. However, there are some things you may want or need should you become more serious about your collecting. Below is a list of some carefully selected items a well prepared collector may want while still traveling light.
Field guide National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (National Audubon Society Field Guide Series) by Gary H. Lincoff is highly recommended. Books by Roger Phillips and Miller & Miller are also quite good but not pocketable.
Notebook and pen Taking notes on your finds is very useful. A GPS may be an even better solution.
A magnifying glass is a needed item in many cases and is practically a requirement. I carry a 10x folding loupe in my pocket at all times. They need not be expensive. Everybody has a magnifying lens kicking around the house somewhere.
Basket, mesh bag, or other bags Get a good basket. You may need more than one. There are many good, inexpensive choices. I keep a bag in my back pocket almost always during the season. Paper grocery bags are good, easy to carry and free. Plastic is fine if you transfer your finds to another container like a basket very shortly. Leaving them in a plastic bag for too long on a warm or hot day causes the mushrooms to sweat becoming soft and slimy. A mesh bag is easy to carry. It breathes. It may distribute spores. The mesh can rough up delicate species though. What you need for a container does depend on what you are collecting. A plastic bag is excellent for chaga. None of these solutions may work for a giant sized maitake or chicken of the woods. I use a large, shallow plastic tub for the extra large species. Sometimes that is too small. You may spot mushrooms when you are not "collecting" but just doing your daily business and you don't have all your equipment handy. I try to keep a basket, bags, and some equipment in my vehicle just in case. Often when I hunt it is a process of driving to a place and getting out to harvest for just a few minutes and moving on. Quick collections and transfers to other containers are often the order of the day. A hot car can be a problem with any container that has poor aeration.
Wax or brown paper bags Keeping mushroom species you are not sure about separate is imperative. Unidentified species that are potentially poisonous should not contact your known edibles. You can segregate unknown species in brown paper lunch bags or wax paper bags. Both types are usually available in supermarkets .
Knife A mushroom knife is useful for the purpose but often a bit expensive. A mushroom knife usually has a brush on one end for brushing off your finds. They can be a hard item to find but there always seem to be a few on eBay. As a knife collector, I sort of cringe when I see most of the offerings. They look cheapo to me. A pruning knife or other knife that is sharp is fine. I always have a Swiss Army Knife in my pocket. You may want to bring a mushroom brush or small paintbrush if you choose a conventional knife. I may try using the LED flashlight in this knife in making photographs. Knives tend to dull quickly when coming in to incidental contact with the ground. Sharpening in the field is often not practical. Once they get dull they tend to pull the whole stem out of the ground.
In some cases, it is best to pull up the whole mushroom rather than cut it. You could need the whole stem for study or the stem butts for propagation. I like to bury the stem butts in my woods. It is verboten to cut a matsutake for the Japanese market. They will only buy them untrimmed.
Utility scissors Inexpensive utility scissors can be very useful for collecting. I like scissors for chanterelles which tend to pull out of the ground when using a dull knife.
Garden trowel A garden trowel is a useful thing to have if transplantation interests you or you want some mycelium for further study.
GPS with WAAS and maps This is an optional item that can give a sense of security about not getting lost in the woods if you want to follow the mushrooms where you find them. WAAS units are accurate within 3 meters. Built in maps make navigating easy by saving track logs, waypoints and more. I start by marking the location of my vehicle before entering the woods. You can mark locations of your best finds exactly adding any pertinent text information you may need. I bought a Megellan Explorist 200 for a bit over $100. Maps and memory are self contained. More expensive GPS units may have removable memory cards or attach to your computer's USB port for information exchange.
Bug repellant and hat. Not having these items can ruin your day. The black flies, mosquitoes, and deer flies really like dive-bombing my bald spot and thoroughly enjoy watching me slap myself in the head. I hear them laughing. I see the humor but eventually I slap some sense into myself and get my hat and repellant. I usually spray the repellant on my hat and sometimes my socks rather than my skin. I use Deep Woods Off!
Water. Bring a canteen of water or other refreshment.
Footwear, gloves, etc. Gloves can be necessary when the chanterelles are in or around the poison ivy. Digging around in the dirt can bring you in contact with poison ivy roots. Gloves make handling possibly poisonous species safer.
Good shoes or boots should be worn for protection and comfort. In the places I frequent in Maine I need waterproof boots. Tall socks you can tuck your pant legs into are best during black fly and No see um season. It helps prevent the deer ticks that are so common in Maine from getting on your skin. Deer ticks are the main carrier Lyme disease and other diseases and are one of the biggest dangers mushroom collectors face. I do a tick check when I get out of the woods and often find them. A deer tick will often crawl around on your skin for 12-24 hours before deciding where to bite.
A whistle is good to have so someone can find you if you are lost or injured. It's wise to bring a cell phone if you have one. A walking stick can be very useful. A photographer's monopod makes a good, light, collapsible walking stick. You can use it to push bushes, ferns or other plants aside when you hunt as well as for photographing mushrooms.
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