A World of Wonder at Our Feet

September 14, 2013

For mushroom  portraits, I select not the most typical but the most pleasant and happy looking individuals . . . more important for me is to show the unique beauty and personality of each mushroom.    

Alexander (Sasha) Viazmensky, botanical artist

On a beautiful Saturday morning a dozen GRC artists (and a few of their friends) joined the Minnesota Mycological Society (MMS) for a mushroom foray in Anderson Park, in Isanti County.  Under the guidance of MMS mushroom experts, we walked slowly through the oak savannah of Anderson Park, scanning the forest floor and collecting specimens.

  Many fascinating mushrooms hid among the debris of the forest, waiting to be discovered by keen observers.  Whereas some were in camouflage and could be easily overlooked, others were startling large and bold in appearance. Some were craggy and wizened, and others as cute as a button.  Because of the recent drought most of the fungi we found were growing on fallen trees, which provide a reservoir of water.  On those trees we found a variety of beautiful shelf mushroom such as Hen of the Woods, Turkey Tails, Artists’ Conchs, and the aptly named Dog’s Nose Mushroom.  At the conclusion of the walk we piled our specimens on a picnic table and MMS mushroom experts Ron Spinosa and Lee Mullerman gave a short lecture on their identification and ecology.

Minnesota mushrooms can most easily be found in late spring or autumn.  Public lands in Minnesota open to mushroom picking include state parks, wildlife management areas, and state forests.  Always ask permission to pick mushrooms on private land, and always check to make sure it is legal on public land.  And, you can join the Minnesota Mycological Society  (www.minnesotamushrooms) to learn from experienced foragers. 


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