Thursday, October 23, 2014

The business of spores

There has been quite a lot of this going on in the last week.

We ate the ones above in our risotto last night. Agaricus campestris - meadow mushrooms.

I had found some earlier in the week, too. ( I ate those privately, on toast)

Brown spore print from pink or chocolate-y gills, no staining on cap or stem when cut = Good to Eat.

And they were.


  1. Fun! Are you printing for art, or for reproductive purposes?

    1. ...neither: for identification purposes :-)

  2. Would you give more information about the spore prints and making them. They're very beautiful and I would like to try this myself.


    1. To make a spore print, put a fresh mushroom gill-side down on a piece of paper. Off-white or grey paper may be best if you have no idea what colour the spores will be - some are white or very pale. Cover with a bowl (not necessary if there are no drafts) and leave overnight or for several hours. Each genus and species of mushroom has a distinctive spore colour, and this is very important in identifying them. They can be very beautiful - Vince is going to be doing some macro images soon, as an experiment.

    2. Thank you very much for these instructions - I am so looking forward to doing this.


    3. I'd love to see a post on this. About 17 yrs ago I did my 1st spore print with my son for a nature study project he was doing - it was so much fun & we loved the different prints. I hope you'll share your macro pics & explain what each print tells you. I still want to learn more.

      love your blog.

  3. Wow! how very pretty! I had no idea that one could do something like this ... fun!

  4. Can you recommend a field guide or site(s) to help with ID? We've picked one up occasionally (a field guide, that is), but none so far have given me the confidence to include them in our meals. My apologies if you've answered this a dozen times previously.

    1. Hey Paul - I'd recommend a slew of sources for ID on something you're going to eat, including a real human being; but also that you choose (and I know you would) an 'easy' edible mushroom. Hen of the woods, chicken of the woods, shaggy manes, puffballs, black trumpets, lobster mushrooms, milkcaps, to name a few - and follow good ID protocol for each of them, regardless. Cutting cap or stem to observe staining, checking spore prints...

      Mushrooms of Northeast North America , by George Barron
      Mushrooms Demystifed, David Arora (wonderful and fat)
      Mushrooms of Northeastern North America, Bessette, Bessette and Fischer

      Reading lite: Gary Lincoff's Mushroom Hunter, which focuses on easier to ID edibles.



      Mushroom Identification Forum
      Fungi Magazine


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