November 2022

Member Only - Mendocino Foray

Come join MSSF
 On a foray in Jackson Demonstration State Forest in Mendocino County
Saturday 11/12/22, 10am-3pm.
Reservation required. MSSF Members only, no guests.

Jackson Demonstation State Forest
Image source: Cal Fire Jackson Demonstration State Forest

In lieu of the annual MSSF Mendocino Woodlands overnight event, this year Mendo Camp Co-directors David Gardella and Ken Litchfield will lead a day foray in JDSF from 10am - 3pm to get a glimpse on how the mushroom season is progressing up north during our typical time spent there in November. After an initial orientation, we will plan to be out as a group for the duration of the foray, rain or shine, so please remember to bring a lunch, snacks, water, etc. and any other necessary items for a pleasant day in the forest.

Members may register spouses/partners/other household members as long as those individuals also live in the same household, and are listed as an additional household member in the MSSF member-database. This foray may cover some challenging terrain over the course of a few hours, we recommend that all attendees be at least 12 years old.

Jackson Demonstration State Forest Mushroom Collecting Permits may be obtained by mail, with sufficient lead time. The CalFire Office will not be open on Saturday (the day of the foray).

NOTE: It is recommended that all members attending the foray be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

November General Meeting - Dimitar Bojantchev

Contributed by Mike McCurdy, Program Chair

Dimitar Bojantchev will share his path from amateur to informed collector,
and onward to professional contributor to science.

  • 11/15/2022, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Pacific Time
  • Zoom Link
    • Zoom Meeting ID: 891 8438 9640
    • Passcode: 608192
Dimitar Bojantchev is a leading taxonomist of macrofungi in California and the Western United States with an emphasis on the largest genera of Cortinarius and Russula. Dimitar Bojantchev
He has regularly served as a lead identifier at various club events, mushroom fairs, forays, and other mycological forums as well as being an invited speaker at various clubs. He has led classes on diverse subjects like molecular phylogenetics, fungal microscopy, fungi of the genus Cortinarius, appreciation of macro-fungi, and other topics.
  • Dimitar will share a bit of the history of his work, and his current projects
  • He will discuss molecular methods for those who want to reach the next level
  • And we'll will look at some of the species which he has described and others that will be described soon.

Dimitar holds a BS degree in Computer Science and runs a Software Development Consulting Services firm, Pontix Consulting, Inc.
His avocation is the study of mycology. Dimitar has authored numerous published papers and described more than 45 new species. Currently, he is working on several new manuscripts.

Cortinarius archeri mushroom with ring zone
Image source: Wikimedia Commons, Attribution 4.0 International license.
Original file iNaturalist


On the third Tuesday of each month from September thru May, the Mycological Society of San Francisco hosts a General Meeting open to Members and the public.  The Society has maintained our schedule of events using electronic media, Zoom, to meet and share  our mission to educate about the kingdom of Fungi. See Meeting page, for more information.

President's Message

Natalie Wren

Happy Autumn to you all! 

I hope you have been able to enjoy our recent good weather. Obviously, more rain would be good, but the early rain storm along with coastal fog has produced abundant fruiting so far - many people report large harvests of porcini, lobsters and chanterelles all the way up the coast.

A few of us headed up to Jackson Forest mid-October and were rewarded with several buggy porcini. We also found many, many large decomposing king and queen boletes (my personal count was over 30). If only we’d been there a few days earlier! It was a great visual reminder that once you know the habitat, timing is everything!

Speaking of Jackson Forest, registration is open for the one-day foray on Saturday, November 12th offered in lieu of Mendo Camp this year. David Gardella and Ken Litchfield have worked hard to organize an amazing opportunity to learn and explore amongst like-minded folks.The rain on November 1st and the rain predicted for the second week of November should produce a pretty fabulous fruiting just in time for this foray. Space is limited and for members only, so if you want to bring a guest, that guest needs to join MSSF to register : ).

Saving the best for last: I am very happy to announce that the MSSF council members voted unanimously to install Paul Koski as an Honorary Member of the Mycological Society of San Francisco in recognition of his many, many years of dedicated service (35 and counting) - you can read all about Paul in the article Curt Haney has submitted . I personally can’t thank Paul enough for his efforts to educate about fungi. He was the leader on my first official urban foray with the MSSF. While I’ve been on multiple forays with Paul, it was this first foray that was so memorable to me. He made identifying fungi accessible to everyone in the group (including the pair of hard to impress adolescents and obnoxious, disruptive 6 year nephew I had in tow). He really made me believe that this was something I could actually do. I am sure countless others have had similar experiences with Paul. Many thanks to you, Paul!

Happy hunting!

Culinary Corner

Hanna Docampo Pham

Urban Foraging
By Hanna Docampo Pham

    In the first episode Chefs vs. Wild, a new show released this year, Viet Pham spent two days in the wilderness searching for wild ingredients to cook with.  Among other things, he found chicken of the woods!  Viet Pham is a talented chef who is the founder and owner of Pretty Bird, a renowned restaurant specializing in cooking Nashville fried chicken.  Viet Pham cooked the chicken of the woods similarly to the hot chicken he makes at his restaurant and ended up being chosen as the winner at the end of the show.
    Although this show aired last September, it was filmed in October 2021.  For Californians, this month is promising for chicken of the woods, an unmistakable bright orange and yellow shelf mushroom you’ll find peeking out from wood.  It is not uncommon to find chicken of the woods all over the bay area in public parks.  Sometimes it’s 40 feet up into the air and sometimes it’s so low you don’t even want to pick it.  You only harvest the tender parts.  Once the chicken of the woods matures, it becomes harder and not good to eat.  Chanterelles, king’s bolete (Boletus edulis), and coccoras (Amanita calyptroderma) are also in season.  

Chicken of the woods from a log
buried under the tan bark
A young mushroom hunter with her
haul after coming home from the park

    Chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) gets its name from its flavor.  It’s meaty flesh tastes remarkably similar to chicken.  This mushroom is part of the “foolproof four” as dubbed by Clyde Christensen in 1943, along with morels, shaggy mane, and the giant puffball, as edible mushroom species that can be easily identified even by beginners.  The “foolproof four” were first coined by Clyde Christensen, a professor at the University of Minnesota and expert in the field of mycology, when he wrote a book called Common Edible Mushrooms (of North America).  Back in 1943, his intention was to popularize mushroom hunting among the public by educating people that there are easily identifiable, edible mushrooms - though the “foolproof four” has been revised by people in recent years (and in different parts of the U.S.) to include chanterelles, porcini, and other types of common mushrooms.  Chicken of the woods grows on both living and dead trees.  It’s a type of parasite, decaying dead trees and causing heart rot in live trees.  Chicken of the woods is surprisingly common in urban parks in San Francisco, mainly on eucalyptus trees. 

    It’s been disputed whether chicken of the woods growing on eucalyptus trees are safe to eat, but the main consensus is that although chicken of the woods is not edible to everyone, eucalyptus has no effect on the edibility of chicken of the woods.  According to David Arora in his book, All That the Rain Promises and More, “...but sometimes [chicken of the woods] is poisonous itself.  Perhaps because eucalyptus is the favored host in heavily populated central and southern California, the poisonings are often blamed on the eucalyptus.  However, sulfur shelves growing on other trees have also caused digestive upsets.”  And if you haven’t had chicken of the woods before, it’s wise to try a small amount at first and slowly increase how much you eat until you’re certain you aren’t allergic to it.
    Regardless, be sure to always cook chicken of the woods fully, because only then is it safe to eat.  Or as David Arora continues, “...if you eat and enjoy this mushroom, always cook it thoroughly and do not serve it to lawyers, landlords, employers, policemen, pit bull owners, or others who’s good you will cherish!”


Chicken Fries
By Stella Omega

- Marinade:
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Juice from one lemon
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

- 1 lbs chicken of the woods
- Oil
- Fresh parsley
- Dipping sauce

Rinse the chicken of the woods and pat dry.  Slice the mushrooms into strips.

In a bowl, mix fish sauce, rice vinegar, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Put the chicken of the woods in a bag and pour in the marinade. Refrigerate the mushrooms and let them marinate overnight.

Marinated chicken of the woods

After the mushroom have marinated, transfer them to a bowl.  Prepare a plate with paper towels to put the mushrooms on after they have been cooked.
In a saucepan, pour 2 inches of oil.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350°F.  If you don’t have a thermometer, try adding a small piece of the mushroom to the oil.  The oil has reached the right temperature when the mushroom quickly sizzles and floats to the surface.

Frying chicken of the woods

Carefully put a single layer of the mushrooms into the hot oil.  Cook the mushrooms for a few minutes, until they are golden brown.  When the mushrooms are done, place them onto the prepared paper lined plate.  Repeat until all the mushrooms have been cooked.
Transfer the chicken of the woods onto a serving plate, and salt to taste.  Serve with the fresh parsley and your favorite dipping sauce.  Enjoy!

Culinary News
Monday, November 7th, 2022 Culinary Group Potluck:
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Bring a dish that is mushroom themed in presentation or ingredients (main dishes, side dishes, soups, salads, desserts).  Arrive at 6:00 p.m., eating begins at 7:00 p.m.  Registration is required, and the fee will be collected at the event.  Please do not come if you are not feeling well, have any symptoms of Covid-19, or if you are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park
9th and Lincoln
San Francisco, California
The MSSF Culinary Group is open to all MSSF members who are interested in the gastronomical aspects of mushrooming as a participatory cooking group.  Depending on the Covid situation and the weather, dining may be inside or outside.  Gatherings are generally held on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the San Francisco County Fair Building (Hall of Flowers). Members of MSSF and the Culinary Group, and their guests, are invited to attend.


Holiday Dinner

Curt Haney

  The 2022 Holiday Dinner is an organized potluck
for MSSF members and their guests.

Reservations required!
Sunday, December 18, 2022. 5:30 - 9:00 pm

Holiday Dinner Graphic
When: Sunday 18 December 5:30 to 9:00 PM
Where: San Francisco County Fair Building, (Main Auditorium, Hall of Flowers)
Theme: Organized “Mushroom Themed” Pot-Luck Dinner
Appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, salads, soups, and deserts. In addition, two mushroom
gravies, (Porcini and Morels) and killer Egg-Nog, with and without alcohol.
Cost to Attend: Adult members and guests; $10.00 each plus a pot-luck dish to share.
Youth of members and guests under 18, ($5.00 each, Children under 12, Free)

The Holiday Dinner Committee is working hard on trying to have some form of live music available during the dinner.
  • Each adult attendee will bring a dish to share with seven other people.
    • In order to have appropriate variety, when making a reservation each person will choose the category for their contribution.
    • The society will provide a special holiday eggnog punch which you can spike yourself if you like, (Dark Rum Provided).
    • Coffee and Tea will also be provided.
    • Fantastic mushroom gravy (prep team already lined up) will be a great accompaniment for all sorts of dishes
  • Volunteers will be needed to help set-up, decorate, and clean-up.
  • Raffle prizes - preferably Mushroom themed - are being solicited.
    • Contingent on sufficient donations of prizes, the raffle will be held at the dinner; each attendee will receive one raffle ticket.
    • People donating items will receive 5 extra raffle tickets.
    • Additional raffle tickets may be purchased.
  • Stephanie will be available for membership renewals by check or cash.
    • As training-trial prior to the Fungus Fair, we will also be experimenting with electronic wallet payment for both the dinner and membership dues.

Mycological Society of San Francisco Fungus Fair!

Stephanie Wright, Fungus Fair Volunteer Coordinator

There will be many updates coming soon!

Check the website Fungus Fair page for the latest news.
Tickets go on sale November 13.

MSSF members will receive email updates when there are major announcements such as confirmed speakers, classes, workshops and the all important Volunteer Sign-ups.
Your efforts make the event a success!

Sunday, January 29, 2023
Diablo Valley College, Horticulture Department, Pleasant Hill


The MSSF Fungus Fair Committee needs your involvement. The upcoming Fungus Fair scheduled for 29 January is the first MSSF fair to be held since 2019 and it will be our 50th annual fair, “A Golden Jubilee”.

The Fungus Fair Committee consists of a strong team, but we need additional
team members in order to guarantee a successful fair.

Please consider joining the Fungus fair Planning Committee managerial team and assist us in making our next fair a fabulous event.

The committee meets weekly on Thursdays at 7:00pm on ZOOM.

If you want to contribute to the society in a meaningful way, please contact me as soon as possible.

Thank You in advance for your involvement,
Curt Haney, Fungus Fair Co-Chair


Paul Koski Awarded Honorary Membership in the MSSF

Curt Haney

At the MSSF monthly Council meeting on September 11th 2022 Paul Koski became an honorary member of the society by a unanimous vote of the council.
Paul first joined the MSSF on January 1st, 1987. Not soon after joining the society Paul was recruited by Bill Friedman to volunteer and serve as chair of the Education Committee. Paul has remained in this position, or as a member of the education committee for the past 35 years.
Here is a list of some of his accomplishments while serving as a volunteer for the MSSF.  
  • Active member of the Education Committee for the past 35 years.
  • Gave mushroom slide presentation talks to members and guests prior to the general meetings for many years. (Collaborated with Bill Friedman, Fred Stevens, and Tom Sasaki).
  • Worked with Bill Friedman to provide educational presentations at the Coyote Point Museum mushroom show for many years.
  • Organized, developed, and displayed educational mushroom exhibits annually at the San Francisco Flower and Garden show at Fort Mason for many years.
  • Chairperson many years for the MSSF wild mushroom show that was conducted at the Presidio or the SF County Fair building.
  • Organized, scheduled, developed curriculum, and conducted Quick Start educational mushroom forays in Golden Gate Park, McLaren Park, and Point Reyes. These forays were instrumental in educating new and perspective members to the society. (Open to MSSF members and the general public for free). 
  • Gave numerous educational presentations to various organizations over many years. (Urban Foragers, San Francisco, Botanical and Garden Society’s, and students at numerous public and private schools. 
  • Lead endless numbers of beginner forays in San Francisco, the Oakland hills, and Salt Point.
  • Paul was a driving force as a volunteer at the annual MSSF fungus Fairs. He always organized and presented a well-planned educational presentation for the society.
  • Paul has been an exemplary educational volunteer for the society. He is planning to step down soon as the chair of the education committee but will remain as a member of the committee and be available as a consultant. Thank you, Paul, for your many years of dedication and service to the MSSF. 
    Council, Mycological Society of San Francisco join the member-talk group

Stephanie Wright

 Fair Poster 2015Mycological Society of San Francisco
Member Group
is a discussion list for members of the Mycological Society of San Francisco (

The purpose of this group is:

  • To foster communication among members
  • To provide an additional means for MSSF council & committee chairs to disseminate information to members about upcoming events and developments in mycology.
  • Upcoming events are also announced on the website calendar, web pages (such as home page, meeting page and fungus fair page), FaceBook group, other social media, and in email messages sent directly to members.
  • All levels of knowledge are welcome to participate in the talk-group.
  • Please keep exchanges informative, entertaining and respectful.
  • To be a member of this group, your dues must be current. [Membership Renewal]
Banned topics in this group: sale or cultivation of controlled substances, commercial announcements or ads, and topics not having a direct bearing on mushrooms or mushrooming.

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Mycena News - November 2022