Fungus on Mt. Gardner – edible?


originally uploaded by Robert Ballantyne.

Yesterday (Saturday) I was feeling the need for some exercise, and wanted to be on a mountain trail. Here on Bowen Island that usually means walking somewhere on Mt. Gardner. The rains had stopped but the vegetation was still so wet that it soaked my nylon hiking pants. I knew I was first up the path (even though it was not early in the day) because I was constantly wiping spider silk from my face.

I passed this lovely specimen and was wondering if it was edible. Could someone identify this for me?

Also, what are the ethics about collecting fungus? Is it environmentally appropriate? How can you take the fruiting body without damaging the whole fungus?


4 Responses to “Fungus on Mt. Gardner – edible?”

  1. 1 Milan December 12, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    There is a very good section on fungus collection and eating in Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

    Taking the fruiting body of a fungus generally won’t harm the organism as a whole, since most of it is in the form of mycelium digesting whatever substrate the fungus is growing in.

  2. 2 Milan December 12, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    I am still not sure about the fungus. Clearly, I can’t describe it to Google well enough.

    Bowen Island is a great place, incidentally.

  3. 3 Pearl December 13, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    S’pose you decided on this months ago but still…

    As Milan said, you wouldn’t hurt the plant by eating the fruit. There are plenty of print guides to correctly identifying what species you’re looking at.

    You’re hiking on public land? Morally? To go back to older precedent…who has the right to pick up grain that missed the thrasher? Ecologically? If it gets to the point of making spores, it can make more of itself. Practically? Would you pick the flowers? The wild crab apples? Or leave them for others to enjoy as well?

  4. 4 Robert December 13, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Hi Pearl. The only decision I made in October was to take the picture and write a blog post. That part of Mt. Gardner is Crown Land. Here on Bowen we also have a large Provincial Park plus an Ecological Reserve (as well as Municipal lands, federal shorelines, and private property). I think that the ethics of suitable behaviour is different for each of these lands. While I have my ideas of what is appropriate, I don’t think that, as a community, we have a common agreement on all of those ethics.

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