Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lords of the Dark Earth

I started a 6 class continuing ed course at the University of Toronto last night, on mushroom identification. It's called Mushrooms, Lords of the Dark Earth. I suppose the title is supposed to attract participants. More properly, it might be called: Mushrooms: basic identification for the interested amateur.

We're going to learn about:
The various uses of fungi
Basic mushroom terminology
How to make a spore print
How to use field guides and keys
Useful print and on-line resources
Where to find and how to collect mushrooms
Identifying mushrooms and other fungi of our bioregion
Translating scientific mushroom names
The basic life history and common species of slime moulds

On Saturday, we meet at a regional forest north of Toronto, where we will gather and identify mushrooms. It would be nice if we had some rain this week to encourage fruiting, but it doesn't look like it.

Over the summer, I've been out mushroom hunting quite a number of times, but the species I've been chasing are limited. I've picked chanterelles, lobster mushrooms, hedgehog mushrooms, or sweet-tooth, and a few boletes. I've only picked one agaricus, and that was from my neighbour's front lawn. He's had this edible variety fruit a few times over the season. My interest in the class is to learn to identify mushrooms I haven't collected before and to strengthen my overall mushroom knowledge.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I wonder how many people in your class figure that they are taking a Dungeons and Dragons appreciation course?

Candy Minx said...

I LOVE the title of your class...it perfectly reflects the fun and heart of those of us who love mushroom hunting...I could haardly stop laughing. I'm going to have to phone Martina and Jill and tell them the name of the class.

Of course, I would have called it

"Mushrooms:Goddesses of the Dark Earth"...

We are going to se a movie soon called "Know Your Mushrooms" by Ron Mann. Ron Mann has found topics of people in pop culture trends for decades and then made movies about them. I sure never thought my family practice of mushroom hunting...or Martina's Chekz family practice would become a pop culture trend. Cool funny stuff.

Ron Mann made "Comic Book Confidential" and "Grass" and he's able to find great stuff out there...so I'm looking forward to this one.

Here is the trailer:


and here is an excerpt:


Wandering Coyote said...

That title is great! I hope you have a great time tomorrow.

Hah! Word verification = tomatos