Boston Mycological Club

What's a Walk Like?

You’ll know you’ve arrived in the right location by the baskets perched on car hoods, the BMC decals in the car windows, and the clusters of people talking about what they've seen during the week, friendly mycological chit-chat. Soon everyone gathers around the host, who gives information about the collecting area, such as the terrain or history. Sometimes a map of the area is handed out to show trails, ponds, sights, etc. A Club member may give general advice about harvesting mushrooms. The host sets a time to return to the meeting place, usually an hour or two later. Then all set out.

We do not typically walk as a single large group through the area. Instead, individuals venture on their own or a few people walk together. Each person carries a collecting basket and gathers whatever fungi he or she comes across. Some people stick to the trails and collect what is seen trail-side. Others go "cross-country" or "bushwhacking" through the woods. Some go straight to the spots they think most fruitful, others prefer to explore serendipitously.

At the agreed upon time, we return to the starting place and distribute our mushrooms into groups of similar species on tables. That way, everyone sees what the entire group has collected. Because the group dispersed and covered different areas, there are often fungi found by some that others did not come across. A member of the Club’s ID Committee discusses the mushrooms and answers questions. Participants ask questions and compare mushrooms. We record the identified mushrooms and enter the information into a database. Particularly interesting or puzzling specimens are taken to the ID meeting the next Monday night at Harvard’s Farlow Herbarium.

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