Archive | May, 2013

A May Bolete

30 May


Just a quick post on a bolete I found today under an Oak tree a few steps up the street from our house. This one may be Xanthoconium separans or possibly Boletus variipes. This is actually the first time I found a bolete in May in my neck of the woods, in fact I can’t recall seeing a king bolete type look-alike in June either. You don’t have to go anywhere to be amazed these days.


This is a little more seasonal and edible as I’m well away from the toxins of the street and the mushroom’s identity is certain, above and below are 2 photos of Dryad’s saddle which I am adding to my wild edible mushroom page tonight.


Here you can notice the pore surface under the cap if you click on the photo. ciao for now


Back in the saddle again

22 May


Here is a close up of a young Dryad’s saddle AKA pheasant’s back mushroom (Polyporus squamosus). It has a very unmushroomy scent something like watermelon rind.


I originally tried Dryad’s saddle around 30 years ago and haven’t given it a second chance till I found a young mushroom last fall and decided to see if anyone had any recipes on the web for this mushroom as I usually during those days of old only tried new wild mushrooms fried in butter with a touch of salt and Dryad’s saddle at that time wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t in the same league as Cep or Chanterelle.


As you can see I have my tent pole out again and these mushrooms are in around 13 feet of the ground. The recipe I did find last fall changed my mind completely on the quality of Dryad’s saddle as a wild edible mushroom though I didn’t follow the recipe fully as no pesto or cream were added to the mushrooms and onions, though I did cut the mushrooms into the small pieces as they suggested, instead of the pesto and cream  I added some sea salt and plain whole milk yogurt after the heat was turned of the mushrooms and it was one of the nicest wild mushroom surprises of the year for me. Here is the recipe from


You may also find Dyrad’s saddle AKA Pheasant’s back mushroom on downed Elm trees which makes for easy pickings, but that wasn’t the case for me today, they are much harder to knock out of the trees than oyster mushrooms as you can see these came down in pieces from the outer edges which happens to be the most tender part of the mushroom. click on to have a look at the tops and under side of the mushroom. These are common along river floodplains where many old elms died off from dutch elm disease in recent decades.

Investigating new forageables

19 May


On the floodplain of a small brook near Havelock NB I’m gathering a few edible and medicinal plants and its interesting to run into some new plants which call for some investigating. I gathered some of my favorites like the fiddleheads (above), stinging nettle and jewelweed.




Jewelweed to be prepared to soothe insect bites, poison ivy rash or other skin irritations. (notice the water beading on the leaves)


This plant in the center of the photo looks similar to stinging nettle which is in large patches all around here, but this plant’s leaves are much rounder and there are a few other differences so I’ll wait till it flowers in a month or 2 before I can with confidence verify this plant as Wood-nettle (Laportea canadensis) which is a plant I have some interest in.


This plant from the carrot family is also new to me and its early growth resembles that of the very deadly poisonous Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata), but it is even more likely a new invasive plant to New Brunswick, Woodland Alexanders (Angelica sylvestris) which is edible. The jury will be out for a while on this one. I suppose I could have ruined the mystery by returning to my car to bring back a spade to check out the roots which should help in identifying though that would have been a long walk and I would prefer to identify this type of plant using only above ground field characteristics if possible, then at some point I will need to check out the root system when I have become comfortable with all the above ground field characteristics.


Here is one of  last year’s stocks, some measured over 7 feet tall which doesn’t count either Water Hemlock or Woodland Alexanders out. I’ll be back to check these plants out as they grow, I love researching this stuff, but in the end you must be 100% certain without question before ever taking a bite of any new plant or mushroom. ciao

Ostrich ferns on the floodplain

17 May


Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) at this stage in its growth this fern is considered unsafe to eat. Usually there will still be some younger plants suitable for eating as you move away from the water’s edge into shader areas often covered by last years layer of tall grass.



Here are some young edible (when cooked) Ostrich fern fiddleheads which  actually were the first wild plant I started to gather back in the late 70s as it was the only wild food local grocery stores in the surrounding small towns in my area were very eager to buy. In those days I would usually gather around 500 lbs of fiddleheads starting around mid May and ending a few days before June.


Another patch of almost full grown Ostrich ferns which again are now inedible but the green plants under the ferns are an interesting edible plant known as Trout-lily.


A closer look  at Trout-lily (Erythronium americanum), these plants have already lost their early blooming yellow flowers and a seed head has formed as you can see. Here is some more info on the Trout-lily from White Wolf’s  YouTube video if you are interested.


Lastly here is the plant I actually came to this area to find today, as I’m looking for some seeds from some of last years stems to grow some tender young leaves. You’ve all seen this plant or its smaller relative around, below is a photo of one of the old last year stems, you may need to click on the photo to enlarge to notice the seed heads, it is a bit of an eye test. I’ll do a post on this plant a little later on..