EUGENE, Ore. — October is an ideal month for foragers in Oregon.
Many of them enjoy venturing out of town to find a variety of wild, edible mushrooms.
And while a rainy September was good news for edible mushroom foragers, Eugene homeowners are now finding more non-edible mushrooms popping up in their yards.
“Five years ago, 10 years ago, hardly any of this was around. And all of a sudden in the last five or 10 years, it's just exploded,” Bruce Newhouse said.
Newhouse is a member of the Cascade Mycological Society, a group that frequently heads out on mushroom forays. | Mushroom Festival Sunday, October 27
Newhouse is noticing more of what's known as the yellow stainer mushroom, an invasive variety that looks similar to the horse mushroom.
“I don't think anybody's going to get poisoned by eating them raw because they taste bad anyway," Newhouse said. "And when you cook them, they smell terrible, even worse!”
Mushrooms typically spread by releasing spores into the air. Newhouse said you can try pulling the mushrooms in your yard to keep them from doing that. But unlike a weed, which you can typically pull out by the root, a mushroom is just a small part of the fungus that's growing and feeding underground.
“If you can tolerate them, great!” Newhouse said. “If you need to pick them up and throw them in a garbage sack, you can do that to get rid of them. But be aware they're going to come back as soon as the next moist evening or rainfall comes along.”
Newhouse said the yellow stainer is easy to distinguish because of its tell-tale color.
“We're going to see yellow in two places,” Newhouse explained. “In particular, right here on the bottom of the stem, if I scratch it with my fingernail, you can see it turn yellow almost immediately there.”
Newhouse said most problem mushrooms will disappear from yards after a killing frost.
Want to learn more about mushrooms? This Sunday, October 27, the Cascade Mycological Society will be hosting its Mushroom Festival at the Mount Pisgah Arboretum. You can learn how to spot an edible mushroom versus a poisonous variety. You can also bring in a mushroom you find and have it identified. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.