How To Pick Wild Mushrooms in Ontario

By Rachel Asher
One must be cautious when picking wild mushrooms.

There is nothing more satisfying than finding and harvesting your own wild mushrooms. They grow readily in the Ontario area, and the region is home to many fans and experts of mycology. By doing your research, hooking up with the wild mushroom community and getting out in the right conditions, you can pick wild mushrooms in Ontario with success.

Purchase field guides on wild mushrooms.

Purchase field guides on mushroom hunting, wild mushrooms and fungus. These guides will help you familiarize yourself with common wild mushrooms in the Ontario area, along with descriptions, conditions and images for particular mushrooms. David Spahr's "Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada" is particularly useful for the Ontario area, as is Dr. Orson Miller Jr. and Hope Miller's "North American Mushroom: A Field Guide to Edible and Inedible Fungi."

Join a group.

Join an organization of wild mushroom enthusiasts to learn more about wild mushrooms and where to find them, and to learn from the experts in Ontario. A group like The Ottawa Field-Naturalists or the Mycological Society of Toronto offer lectures and guided tours for fungus fans.

Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club Box 35069 Westgate PO Ottawa ON K1Z 1A2 ofnc@ofnc.ca www.ofnc.ca/

North American Mycological Association 6586 Guilford Road Clarksville, MD 21029-1520 301-854-3142 www.namyco.org Bruce_Eberle@msn.com

Autumn is the best time for wild mushrooms.

Learn about the conditions wild mushrooms need to grow. Wild mushrooms grow primarily in wooded areas, as edible mushrooms are saprophytic, meaning they grow on dead and decaying wood. The best time of year for mushrooming is autumn, but they can be found year-round in damp areas or after heavy rains.

Be sure to err on the side of caution with wild mushrooms.

Contact an expert field guide to go out on your first wild mushroom hunt. Rex Bartlett, of the website Beyond the Morel, lives in Southwestern Ontario and could be helpful with wild mushroom information and locating a guide. Though you may be eager to go out with your guidebook and get hunting for wild mushrooms, it is better to err on the safe side. Some wild mushrooms are poisonous and could be fatal, so do not eat one you don't recognize.

Rex Bartlett Beyond the Morel www.michiganmorels.com/beyond_the_morel/ rex_alive@hotmail.com

Warning

Do not eat any wild mushrooms that you do not recognize, as they could be poisonous.