by Alina Gridley
Driving into Burien this week, I could not help but notice a large red mushroom growing right by the “Welcome to Burien” sign. Fall is here at last!
Having been born in Russia, mushrooms were a big part of my childhood and adolescence. I could never figure out how my Father was able to spot them so quickly. I would be trekking behind him as he would stop and point with a sturdy branch to a mushroom hidden under the leaves.
Now, spending most of my time in the city, I hardly ever took the time to look for mushrooms. But, like with everything else, if you revive your interest in something, all of a sudden, you see that which interests you, everywhere.
Burien has a lot of of wonderful parks and green belts that are home to a large selection of mushrooms. The one by the sign is called Amanita muscaria and it one of the most recognizable, photographed and captured by the artists species. It is also not recommended for consumption and, by some sources, is considered poisonous.
Right behind the flower bed by the sign I spotted another mushroom. It was a chalciporus piperatus, from the Boletus family. It is edible and has a strong peppery taste.
Some of the other mushrooms I have been able to identify in the Burien area include Agaricus augustus, chantrelles and many varieties of russulas. Shaggy Parasol mushrooms are currently abundant in the local green belts and areas adjacent to roadways.
Many people shy away from mushrooms having been warned by the news of mushrooms causing poisonousness and even death. But like with any unfamiliar subject, you can learn to identify mushrooms using the knowledge contained in many books by various mushroom experts. If nothing else, they are beautiful to look at.
It is a wonderful feeling to rediscover the mushrooms once more. As my two little children walk next to me, looking for GRIBY (Russian word for mushrooms), upon seeing a mushroom they have missed, I will stop and point it out to them, like my Father did when I was a little girl. The knowledge is being passed down.