Here's what we mean: mushrooms are coll these days. Lots of people are reading lots, learning lots. Yay. One of the fun facts you can read is this: basic fungal physiology reveals that what we take to be an individual --a single button mushroom for instance in a baseball field--is the fruiting body of a vast underground symbiotic web that makes up "the fungi".... there really is no "individual" until you take your mushrooming knife out and slice it free of that mass of vitality it is being oozed up from at a shocking rate after rains. There are Ripley's Believe-it-or-Not type rumours of "the biggest single organism" in the world being a single "honey mushroom organism" (Armellaria) that basically runs underneath the entire state of Oregon. An organism....But more to the point of successful hunting, and an even bigger mind fuck is this: even that ooze of fungal webby acentric vitality that we call "an organism" is not "an individual." fungi are always a part of a chunk of nature interstitial connectivity with dozens of others beings... beings of weather, bird life, forest life, water flow .... so entwined and in tune that it's likely more accurate to talk about mushrooms as 'osmotic becomings.' No beginning, no end and no purity of type: everything is crossing the species "barrier" and the biological-physical system barrier: spilling and burping and decomposing and hijacking and farting and flowing matter, energy, colour, singing.
To know that is to start to be able to "find" your dinner. all mushrooms are embedded chunk of livingness. And that chunk of nature is very very precise to each sort of mushroom. We could say it is a living signature. The ongoing relationalities of a given type of mushroom is its signature. If you can learn to read an ecological signature, you can find mushrooms anytime, anywhere.Mushrooms always "happen" on or in or near or with clusters of other natural phenomena with an incredible regularity of patterns of relations. This is the second truth. In a mushroom guidebook, you'll read something like this: "X are found on standing sugar maple." "Y are found on newly downed sugar maple". "Z are found on decomposing sugar maple." That's not incidental information, padding the book with useless nods to beloved sugar maples: it's actually information about X, Y and Z. So the first rule of'shroom club: If you want to find mushrooms, learn your trees. The tree that a certain fungi is found on turns out to be a key identifier. If you want to know: is that sexy little orange bonnet thingy growing on that stump an X!!!!? The answer will be a definitive yes or no if you know what kind of stump that is. Better study up on bark in its standing state and its newly cut state and its highly decomposed state. You're going to need to use your hands and your nose. Be a forensic examiner! Get close to the forest. That's just how it works with mushrooms.