Mushroom Harvesting Techniques

Morels (Morchella spp.)
Morels

Photo: M.W. Ferguson

Description
Cap:
The caps of these mushrooms are cone shaped to more rounded in shape, normally with a rounded top, hollow, fattened at the lover edge directly to the stem or slightly free. The heads are composed of ridges and pits. The ridges are normally darker in color, the pits lighter in color except the white morel (M. delicosa). The ridges are aligned lengthwise and connected by cross ridges, often forming distinct elongated pits. Cusps 2-9 centimetres high and 2-5 centimetres wide, typically wider than stem diameters.

Stem:
Whitish to cream, hollow, roughened to granular overall, up to l0 centimetres long, 2-5 centimetres thick

Remarks
Distinction between species seems unimportant as all species are edible and highly prized. Caution is necessary that the morel species are not confused with the false morels, look alikes that have caused poisoning in BC

Wild, edible mushrooms should never be eaten raw.

Where Found
Throughout B.C. in coniferous and hardwood forests, orchards and in gardens, especially when bark mulch has been applied. Often found in abundance the season following a forest fire, decreasing in number in succeeding years

When found
Usually spring and summer depending upon elevation, rarely in the fall.

Harvesting Techniques
Harvesting technique for morels.

Chanterelles (Cantharellus spp.)
Chanterelles

Photo: C. Ardrey

Description
Cap:
Trumpet or vase shaped cap, up to 10 centimetres. wide, at first rounded, becoming expanded and often depressed in the center, with the margin sometimes lobed and undulated, fleshy, firm, smooth, pale yellow to bright yellow or sometimes orange

Gills:
Not prominent, fold-like, shallow, blunt on the edge, forking, running down the stem

Stem:
Up to 10 centimetres long, 1-1.5 centimetres thick, solid, the same color as the cap or slightly paler.

Remarks
Mushrooms of this genus are highly desired by pickers for their flavour. All species are edible. Chanterelles are marketed in Europe, especially Germany. Care must be taken not to confuse these edible mushrooms with poisonous look alikes, for example the False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca).

Where Found
Old-growth conifer forests rich in raw humus often covered with litter.

When found
Summer to late fall.

Harvesting Techniques
Harvesting technique for chanterells.

Pine (Tricholoma magnivelare)
Pine

Photo: C. Ardrey

Description
Cap:
White, sometimes streaked or shaded with brown, rounded then flat, covered with delicate brownish scales at maturity, up to 20 centimetres wide, flesh is white and firm, aromatic

Gills:
White or creamy tan, becoming brownish with age, crowded together, at first hidden by a white veil

Stem:
White, long, tapering to the base, 5-15 centimetres long, 2-4 centimetres thick, showing remains of thick soft which usually forms a conspicuous ring.

Remarks
Commercially this is the most sought-after mushroom in B.C., With virtually the entire crop being shipped to Japan. Has a pungently sweet spicy aromatic odour.

Collectors of pine mushrooms for personal consumption should compare their finds with the white Amanitas and with the Agaricus to prevent poisoning.

This mushroom has previously been called Armillaria ponderosa and is commonly known as matsutake

Where Found
Found over most of western and central B.C., under conifers, usually on coarse textured soils, often associated with huckleberries

When found
Early to late fall

Harvesting Techniques
Harvesting technique for pines.

Main
Ministry of Forests | Forest Practices Branch