amanita vaginata

it’s the latin name for one of the mushrooms we collected today. i went mushroom hunting with mr bowen, my fungus-obsessed high school bio teacher, and sophie and erik. it was really fun and i learned a ton, not just about mushrooms. we went to multiple locations in the santa cruz mountains and it turns out i have sharp eyes for spotting mushrooms. 🙂 it felt nice to be so active, hiking and such. thank goodness sophie lent me these really tall rubber boots. there was a lot of gloopy mud. we found some very nice eating mushrooms (the ‘king’ boletus, also known as porcini; the ‘queen’ boletus; chanterelles; very pretty pure white mushrooms that smell and taste just like asparagus–we were driving at full speed past a field when mr bowen spotted these, i don’t know how; some beautiful purplish-blue mushrooms whose name i don’t remember how to spell although it is pronounced ‘bluet’; and also the amanita vaginata–which naturally i’m not sure i want to eat 😐 ) and also a ton of others, either poisonous (we even found a specimen of my personal favorite mushroom, amanita muscaria, the one everyone thinks of when they think of mushrooms: the cap is red with white spots) or LBMs (Little Brown Mushrooms) or what mr bowen termed ‘inconsequential.’

mushrooms are really fun to pluck from the ground. they have no roots so you just sort of gently nudge them out of the soil. they smell so interesting (the ones pronounced ‘bluet’ smell like concentrated orange juice, and there are others commonly called ‘candy caps’ whose cap smells like maple syrup–no kidding) and can be so pretty.

mr bowen promises to take us to go find morels in the spring if they seem to be coming up well. mushrooms are cool. 🙂

[note, 4/10/14: Imported from my old blog at]