As aspiring amateur mycophiles, our relationship with fungus is admittedly narrow. We eat them, we try to identify them, we marvel at them, and we deeply respect and revere them as medicine for the mind and body. Yet our knowledge about them is novice and nascent, all considered. That said, we wanted to share some of the amazing bounty and variety of mushrooms in this region and some of the species we’ve been building a relationship with. Hailing from arid Rocky Mountain climes, the sheer number and variety of this temperate (almost) rainforest environment is new and dazzling. It has also been an unusually wet and cool year. Thus, any forest walk is had us slowing and tuning into the smallest of details on the fallen logs, under the brush, within the ferns, and deep in the duff. We are working within the principles of an honorable harvest, to the best of our ability, seeking out relationship, not taking the first and not taking the last. Here is a brief photo journey:

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor): with my knee recently in pain from what seems like tendonitis, I am working with Turkey Tail’s anti- inflammatory properties, drinking an infusion every morning. Turkey Tail is quite abundant here, especially on the dead fallen branches of what I believe is the coihue.

Llao Llao, among many other common names (Cytarria spp.): This is one of the more famous Patagonian mushrooms, with the fruit forming in little balls from a parasitic fungus that inhabits the variety of southern beech trees. It is apparently quite delicious, even made into ice cream and salads, though the variety growing around here tastes a bit like a rubber ball.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea): We have harvested three of these from the pasture in front of the house. They pop almost magically and instantaneously out of the verdant green grass, and if we see them and harvest them in time, before they sporulate, they are delicious.

Beefsteak polypore (Fistulina antarctica): This is a variety of beefsteak that grows down south and apparently is more delicious than its F. hepatica counterpart in the north. We have eaten two so far and, in addition to being massive and filling, they are surprisingly delicious in texture and taste.

Cortinarius magellenicus: This one stopped us in our tracks the first time we saw it. The purple seems outside of the spectrum of normal forest colors. Apparently these are edible as well, though we are yet to try them. There is still time.

Other than these, the variety of colors and forms in the forests is worth sharing here as well: