They emerge with the rains in a riot of colors, like a coral reef on the forest floor. Red, yellow, brown, spotted, slick, porous, gilled – mushrooms come in a dazzling variety of shapes, sizes, and descriptions. What we see, however, whether on the ground or on stumps and rotting logs, is only a tiny part of a fungus. Sometimes called the “ephemeral fruiting body,” a mushroom is by nature temporary, rising to spread spores before melting back into the soil.
In this talk by local mushroom expert (and former Arizona Mushroom Society president) Chris May, learn all you wanted to know about the mushrooms of Arizona: some you can eat, some to avoid, and most of all, how to open your eyes to the marvelous fungal diversity all around us.
Registration is required to attend.
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Chris May grew up in the forested Bradshaw Mountains south of Prescott surrounded by colorful mushrooms every monsoon season, but never knew anything about them until he picked and identified a porcini mushroom in 2012. Since then, they have become a passion bordering on obsession, to the point of serving as president of the Arizona Mushroom Society from 2016 to 2019. He is a member of the Toxicology Committee of the North American Mycological Association and a NAMA-designated mushroom identifier who is consulted by local physicians and veterinarians in cases of suspected mushroom poisoning. He has guided forays at the Telluride Mushroom Festival and many other events, and has traveled as far afield as Poland, Italy, Maine and Oregon in search of the jewels of the forest. He has safely picked and eaten 88 different species of fungi in Arizona. He and his wife Barbara live in Scottsdale, where he is a radiologist.