Madeline DeDe-Panken  Gathering Knowledge: Mycophilia in American Culture at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Our first talk will look at the history of popular interest in fungi and mushroom clubs. Tracing popular mushroom foraging to the 1880s, DeDe-Panken will discuss an early iteration of American mycophilia which brought a new population of non-professional mushroomers into the field. Like today, they sought a combination of gastronomic, scientific and personal enrichment. She'll argue that the mushroom fad legitimized women’s participation in citizen science by tethering foraging knowledge to elevated, economical cookery and as a public safety necessity to prevent poisoning. Enthusiastic laywomen claimed space and belonging as collectors, writers, illustrators, and club leaders. Yet while expanding opportunities for some, privileged mycologists’ insistence on certain forms of expertise fueled exclusion along class, race and ethnic lines. Ultimately, this research seeks to elucidate tensions surrounding sustenance, science and authority that remain with us to this day.

Rosanne Healy – The Pezizales & Their Varied Lifestyles

Rosanne Healy will talk about travels and work to better understand the relationships, ecology, and life history of the group of fungi that we know as “the cup fungi”. These are the fungi that include the famous black perigord truffles, delectable morels, and iconic scarlet cups. They also include many lesser known, but fascinating truffles and cup-shaped, columniform, and saddle-shaped fungi.

2023 Annual Business Meeting

Please join us for the club's annual business meeting which will once again take place via Zoom. Normally the business meeting is a lively social event and we do hope to return to meeting in person in 2024.
We will review the Society's plans for the year and discuss a variety of matters at hand.
All members are welcome. I look forward to seeing you there!

Donald Pfister – The Uses of Herbaria/Fungaria

Using examples from research that has been done on specimens from the Farlow fungarium I will outline how these specimens contribute to modern taxonomic and systematic studies and how curatorial practices contribute to or distract from accurate study of collections. How was it possible to determine that a species suspected to be extinct was found to be widespread in eastern North America? What can collections tell us about the high and unexpected diversity of species of an often-collected genus of tropical fungi? Where was Charles Wright when he collected Puccinia triarticulata and how did he get there? These and other questions will be examined through the eye of a long serving curator.

Decay of the wood-wide web?

The ‘wood-wide web’ has captured the interest of broad audiences. Common mycorrhizal networks namely fungi that physically link roots of different trees together are purported to […]

Shannon Adams – Cortinarius

Do you love learning about mushrooms but have heard 'Cortinarius' are too hard? It doesn't have to be that way! Shannon is here to spread her love of the Cortinariaceae and to give you resources to help you get to know the species in your area. She will give us an update on Cortinarius taxonomy (including new genera that have been proposed), pointers on distinctive sub-genera and resources that will empower you to learn more. During the talk you will get to know some of our Cortinarius 'celebrities' and have new resources to work with when you find these diverse and beautiful species in your backyard.

James Dalling Seed – Fungal Relationships

Plant-fungal interactions are ubiquitous. For a forest ecologist interested in how plant species are distributed, compete for resources, and defend against their natural enemies, fungi are difficult, if not impossible, to ignore. Furthermore, fungi are now known to infect all plant tissues – from their roots and sapwood to flowers, leaves and seeds. In many cases these internal infections of plants by ‘endophytic fungi’ occur either without adverse impacts on the plant host, or with impacts that vary depending on the identity of the host species. James will review the breadth of endophytic fungal infections, and some of the impacts these have on their hosts. He will then describe the work he and his team are conducting in lowland tropical forest in Panama on the fungi that infect seeds of tree species that depend on soil seed banks to successfully regenerate after disturbance. Using a combination of carbon-dating, seed burial experiments, fungal culturing and inoculation experiments they have found a high degree of host specificity of seed fungi. These fungal infections can be viewed as the ‘primary symbionts’ that plants encounter, with impacts on seed germination and survival that are a consequence both of the fungi themselves, as well as bacteria that live within the fungal hyphae. Understanding how seed infecting fungi impact seed survival patterns can help us understand how tropical forest diversity is maintained, and also has applications for the protection of crop seeds and the management of weed species in agricultural systems.   

Christian Volbracht – Mycological Illustration: History, Techniques, Problems

In his lecture, Christian Volbracht will give an overview of the history of illustration of fungi in printed books. He will present numerous examples of printed drawings and paintings of mushrooms from Europe, America and Asia, covering five centuries, from 1491 to the present. He will explain the various printing techniques from woodcuts to colored copper engravings to colored lithography and modern printing, describing the progress of the different illustration methods. Of particular interest are the colored copper engravings of fungi in the 18th century by Bulliard, Sowerby and Schaeffer, which are still important today as first diagnoses of new species. Volbracht will also go over problems which can arise when using the old figures of mushrooms.

Greg A Marley – Foraging Edible Wild Mushrooms for the Beginner; Develop your Foolproof Few

Foraging for wild mushrooms has become a favored pastime for nature-minded people of all ages. The single thing that holds a novice mycophile back is the fear of being poisoned.  There are a number of toxic mushrooms that can make you sick and a small number, dangerously ill.   This presentation will introduce you to the concept of “Foolproof Mushrooms”, a group of  mushrooms that are common, easily identifiable and without toxic look-alikes.   It will also address some of the common mistakes that people later regret.  Join us for an evening of learning a handful of “Foolproof' edible mushrooms and some guidance to avoid becoming a toxic mushroom statistic.

Björn Wergen – Dung Loving Cup Fungi

Dung Loving Cup Fungi is an overview of the colorful and less known species of the order Pezizales growing on dung from various animals. Genera, species, morphology and recent taxonomy will be discussed.

Zachary (Mazi) Hunter – Mycological Mexico: Oaxaca edition

Mexico is one of the most climate diverse countries in the world and it has been estimated that indigenous Mexicans consume about 300 species of edible mushrooms across its eight climatic regions;  All eight climates are found in the Southern State of Oaxaca. Despite its inclusion geographically in North America, the country of Mexico can seem quite foreign in its attitudes toward mushrooms and mushroom foraging when compared to the US or Canada. The difference, even more pronounced in Oaxaca, is more than just a language barrier, though that plays a significant role; despite Spanish being the dominant language, there are more than 16 official language groups throughout this state alone. More than half of the political regions in Oaxaca are self-governed autonomous democracies. There are no mushroom picking permits: nothing can be removed from the land, or even access granted, without express permission of the community. And yet, their knowledge of mushrooms and even mycology is vast and has been known since time immemorial. In this presentation, Chef Zachary Mazi attempts to tackle the barriers in understanding this delicate relationship, and discusses the intricate web of food-life-forest-community that underlies the unique management of these diverse and incredible ethnomycological regions whose wisdom holds so much potential for the rest of North America.

Wolfe’s Pond Park, Prince’s Bay, Staten Island, NY
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