Introduction to Fall Mushrooms
by Michael W. Beug Email: email@example.com
The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA
Armillaria ostoyae is one of the Honey Mushrooms, a group of highly similar more or less virulent species that parasitize growing trees. The ring development on the Honey Mushrooms varies from significant to non-existent and they can be any color of honey from a light blond to a very dark brown. The spore print is always white and the cap always has the same distinctive small dark tufted scales. Armillaria ostoyae and the better-known Armillaria mellea are edible for most people. However, the NAMA data base contains many “Honey Mushroom” poisoning reports clustered in Oregon and California, which I assume are largely if not exclusively due to consumption of Armillaria ostoyae . The poisonings seem to occur regardless of whether or not Armillaria ostoyae is growing on conifers, Eucalyptus or hardwoods. Few if any poisonings are reported for Armillaria mellea itself. When found on northern hardwoods Honey Mushrooms are widely sought-after for the table since they can fruit in tremendous abundance. However, they are not for the unobservant or inexperienced. My students seem to have more trouble getting Honey mushrooms correctly identified than any other they find. Of real concern is the fact that there are some generally similar poisonous, even deadly, dark-spored species that have been mistaken for Honey Mushrooms, notably Galerina autumnalis or correctly Galerina marginata .