Thursday, December 9, 2010

Time for Mushroom Picking


Mushroom picking in Hawaii is very unique in that the over 300 + varieties in Hawaii are truly unique and some not even named.  It was very helpful that we had the guide of one of the premier mycologists from the Big Island, Don Hemmes, with the University of Hawaii lead our photo enthusiasts on a tour along the puna  coastline to discover some of the rare, dangerous and even edible mushrooms.


Apparently you would think that the cooler and higher elevation locations where most of the larger trees are located would be an ideal mushroom hunting area which it is true in some cases. But we assembled at Issaac Hale State Park which is on the most eastern part of Hawaii and along the shoreline, it is dotted with huge Albizia trees, coconut groves and other shoreline flora that actually is quite lush in this natural habitat.
What is unique to this experience was having a gaggle (at least 20) of avid photographers follow Mr. Hemmes around this exciting area to find many of the abundant mushrooms growing here. 

The park is quite rugged with cliffs battered by the rough seas, there are beautiful lava tubes and coconut groves that go on endlessly along the shorelines and it is quite stunning to walk through.


we learn that Mr. Hemmes has in fact lead and named many of his discoveries in this area, and he has published many of the endemic varieties found in this zone into books.  He encourages us to look for some of the rare mushrooms that we are on the hunt for like the earth stars and the Geastrum Lycheeforum.
One of the more abundant mushrooms coming up from the flush of heavy rains were these white Amanita Marmorata mushrooms. Found mostly under the huge albizia trees, these mushrooms are the cousins of the extremely deadly white death caps that many mistake for an edible variety, and can become very ill or even die from a very small sample. Needless to say no-one wanted to even try any of the edible varieties after some discussion about careless forays.


We came upon a variety of really unique mushrooms including some of the following below:

Netted Stinkhorn or Dictyohora Cinabarrina which smelled like rotting manure but also has edible stalks and are grown extensively in Asia for food.



Here is the beautiful Earth stars or Agaricomycetes mushrooms under some leaves.


These edible Geastrum Lycheeforum were name by Mr. Hemmes because they resemble the delicious Lychee fruit. They are supposed to taste similar to puff ball mushrooms.


Here is another type that is supposed to have a shiitake like flavor, it grows very well under this secret canopy of coconuts in an area Mr. Hemmes considers the holy grail of rare mushrooms.


Our photo group pausing for a photo op before we go on our mushroom hunt.


Hope you enjoyed the tour along the coastline, isn't it a beautiful area to discover the treasures low to the ground?

To see other beautiful blooms for fertilzer friday go and visit

This is my contribution to scenic sunday to visit more go to


giorno26 ¸¸.•*¨*•. said...

Hi Noel :)
queste foto, sono meravigliose come sempre... muoio di invidia perchè vivi alle Hawaii !!!!!
Chissà se riuscirò mai a visitare queste isole magnifiche !
Buona serata :)

BernieH said...

They are indeed a fascinating group of plants ... so many interesting varieties. I'm always fascinated by the many different mushrooms that pop up in my potted plants or out in the garden. Great tour - the view from the cliffs is fantastic.

Lavender and Vanilla Friends of the Gardens said...

Hi Noel, how fantastic to go on a mushroom hunt. Field or wood mushrooms are so much more tasty, if you know what you are doing! It is a good idea to take a guide. I remember in Switzerland, in the mushroom season there were especially established places where one could go and get the harvested mushrooms checked by an expert. Peace of mind! the pictures are very beautiful and informative. great post.

Ali said...

Oh wow, we have a similar mushroom to the stinkhorn one over here, I would never have guessed you could eat the stems... they have been popping up all over the place with all the rain. I'm so glad I found a gardening blog in Hawaii, what a lovely place it must be.

fer said...

Seems like you guys had a lot of fun! It must be great to go mushroom hunting. And even more with such a nice view.

Meredith said...

Wow, Noel. Some of those mushrooms look incredibly unusual. Sounds -- and looks! -- like you had a great time. :)

Karen said...

Noel, wow, even the mushrooms are fancy in Hawaii! What an amazing variety of forms and colors. I love the earth star mushroom, gorgeous!

Andrea said...

We have lots of mushrooms too, and i love seeing them after the rains. How wonderful it is for Dr. Don Hemmes to tag along some photographers and enthusiasts in his mushroom walk. I would also love to do that. Have i told you before that i've been there before? That earth stars are so beautiful, maybe we dont have them here.

John said...

Thanks for all the tips.You may be interested to see photos from Kew Gardens Tropical Extravaganze held this month and dedicated to Orchids!

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