MykoWeb Mushroom Blog

Spring Fungi of the Sierra Nevada

Posted on 10 June 2009 by Michael Wood

Last week was the first week of June, which means I was gone to the Sierras. I’m always gone to the Sierras the first week of June. It’s the week of the “Spring Fungi of the Sierra Nevada” class at the San Francisco State University Sierra Nevada Field Station, near Yuba Pass, California. We usually call it the “Yuba Pass” class.

Dr. Harry Thiers held the first class in June of 1982. The class has been held every June (with one exception) since then. Since 1993 it has been taught by Dr. Dennis Desjardin. My first trip to the class was in 1984…with last week’s class I have been there 14 times…half the total number of classes.

One of my principle reasons for returning so many times is to get more photos and notes on the fungi of the area for inclusion in “The Fungi of California”. Another is that many of the fungi found there are what are called “snowbank” fungi and only grow near melting snow banks in the mountainous regions of the Western United States. For more information on snowbank fungi, see Dr. Cathy Cripps’ article from the spring 2009 issue of Fungi Magazine.

Another reason to travel to the Yuba Pass class is the see how many new species we can add to the list of species found during the class. The list is now about 475 species long, with an average of 145 species found each year. This year the collecting was poor and we only found 114 species. But we did manage to add 8 species new to the list. This illustrates how little we really know about the funga* of an area. With 20+ persons collecting in the same area, the same week, for 28 years, new species are added to the collection list every year!

Here are links to descriptions and photographs of some of the more common fungi found over the years:

* Funga refers to the fungus species occurring within an area. It is the mycological equivalent of flora or fauna.

2 Responses to “Spring Fungi of the Sierra Nevada”

  1. Gene says:

    It’s a GREAT class!

  2. dan says:

    i have found large knob shaped mushrooms on fir trees in the sierra, little dew like drops form from the bottom, I think it is a conch but dont know what kind, does it have medicinal value?

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