Thursday, April 19, 2018

Snorkeling for Mushrooms (video)

When it rains the northern watershed gathers it in the foothills to feed the LA River.
There are entheogens, edibles, and even underwater mushrooms like Psatyrella aquatica.

(Time River Productions) Why is Hahamongna Watershed, Pasadena, California so special?

Our mycology expert (Arboretum)
HAHAMONGNA, California - In Pasadena, in the foothills of the Angeles National Forest, northern Los Angeles County, above the Rose Bowl, we gathered.

We trekked through stinging nettle as Christopher Nyerges warned us, over fields of chickweed and lambsquarters in search of the elusive "snark."

We came to the bridge by the distant City of JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab, a world unto itself in collaboration with nearby Caltech University and NASA) along the Gabrielino Trail behind the world-famous facility.

Clusters of mushrooms fluorescing
It was after a sudden spring rain that turned the whole area green and flowery.

Water rushed down the Flintridge Wash of the Upper Arroyo into Devil's Gate Dam to the delight of ducks paddling like  pargeons in a pool.
California Foraging: Los Angeles

Real "Street Food": Urban Foraging in the City of Los Angeles
(Great Big Story, July 11, 2017) Christopher Nyerges (The School of Self-Reliance) has always loved plants and the outdoors. When he was a kid, he would forage and store plants in his parents’ refrigerator. Now Nyerges is teaching others to do the same. But this isn’t some nature hike foraging. Nyerges uses his encyclopedic botanical knowledge and a keen eye for urban-dwelling edible wild plants to teach other residents of Los Angeles where to find them. At his School of Self-Reliance, he shows city folks how to scour alleyways, parking lots, city parks, and the sides of highways to find unexpected wild treats. From mushrooms to mustard flowers, radish pods to mallow fruits, Nyerges can help anyone forage the best veg street food ever.
California Foraging: Hahamongna
(KCETOnline) Mia, Eli, and Pascal show how fun it is to forage wild plants and live off the land.
Everywhere we turn in wild California, there's something to eat -- if one knows what to look for. Foragers Mia Wasilevich and Pascal Baudar of Transitional Gastronomy shop at the grocery store, but they also head into the woods regularly, carrying daypacks, little knives, and compasses, finding edible plants scattered across public lands.

Old ones, bold ones but no old-bold shroomers
They like it so much they've turned it into a business, with Pascal leading interested food nerds out into the woods to collect cat tails, purslane, wild radishes, and more, with which Mia cooks up a feast using these wild ingredients (SoCal Food). Eli Newell came along for one such VEGGIE HUNT with Pascal and learned about native versus invasive plants in Southern California's woodland parks. Which do you suppose peaches are?). We ate flowers and asked Pascal just why, exactly, he makes a habit of rubbing poison oak on his face.

California Foraging: The Gabrielino Trail

PART II: Beware the common poison oak, which didn't bother the Natives.
Underwater Mushrooms?
Oregon Mycologist Darlene Southworth reveals her new discovery: Psathyrella aquatica

Learn: Wild Mushroom Fair, L.A.
A few days before we wandered through our hunt, finding ourselves under the big wooden bridge next to the dam. Looking below us we could see tree oysters in clusters.

We scrambled down in search of mycological samples blooming high in the trees, too high to reach.

Soon the water came and we needed to dive for them, not fancy scuba diving in the pollution, but messy snorkeling in the muck. Who tosses this plastic junk and automotive residue into the river way?

Boating the LA River by canoe (
There they were, tree oysters! This was not the first time we had spotted them in these woods. They love willows. Nor was this the first time we fished for them. Monica and I came out in the mist of a swollen creek by the magic tree.

Not only did we collect the fruiting bodies from the tree, there was a big "fishy mushroom" floating in the water, pink as salmon, slick as rainbow trout.

Oysters grow on trees not on the ground!
We grabbed a branch and reeled it in in disbelief. It was such a large sample that, soaked, it had broken from the tree and plunged into the temporarily swollen creek, where the water can rise 12 feet or more in a day.
What's so special it? Tim Brick (Arroyo Seco Foundation) explains
Founation preserving Los Angeles Foothill communities (


The Great 2018 LA River CleanUp
April 21, 2018

Middle River
Los Feliz Blvd at Bond Park Register
Fletcher Drive/Bowtie Parcel Register
Marsh Park Register
The Frog Spot Register
April 28, 2018

Lower River
Compton Creek at Del Amo Metro Station

Willow Street Estuary Register
Golden Shore Marine Reserve Register

The Great LA River CleanUp (La Gran Limpieza) three weekends in April (

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