On February 7th the California Center for Natural History partnered with the Tilden Nature Area Environmental Education Center to host a fungus fair for those mystified by mushrooms. Over 65 species of local fungi collected from the East Bay Hills were on display. Naturalist Trent Pearce commented, “Since mushroom collecting is prohibited in East Bay Regional Parks, this is an opportunity to see our parks' fungal diversity without breaking the law.” Christian Schwarz, mycologist and author of the soon-to-published Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast, was on hand to answer questions about the local mushrooms.
In addition to handling everything from the sweet smelling Candy Cap (Lactarius rubidus) to poking the tantalizingly squishy Black Witches’ Butter (Exidia glandulosa), participants had the opportunity to learn how to make spore prints, and to look at gills and spores under a microscope. Pearce delivered a talk on the natural history of fungi with a focus on the charismatic mushrooms to a packed audience.