Russian Mushroom Photos
In 1993 and 1994, Larry Evans travelled to the Russian Far East to distribute vegetable seed and research nontimber forest products. Accompanied by his translator and friend Chris Baldwin, these two photos show a view of the city of Magadan, in the Russian Far East. This is where planes from Alaska landed.
The city of Magadan and the Far East of Russia.
Magadan is on a bay in the Sea of Othosk, at 60 degrees N. The yellow tags on the map below show the location of Magadan, Khabarovsk, Sakhalin Island, and Katen, in Primorski Krai.
In the boreal forest around town, we found Amanita muscaria, called Muhkamor by the Russians
as well as varieties of Suillus, Leccinum, Fuscoboletinus, and Boletus.
Then I joined with a scientific group and traveled via 6 wheeled truck on miles of gravel roads and then up a creek to a remote Biology Station in the Kolima valley, over 100 km west of Magadan
where we found the mushrooms below:
This fragile Psathyrella was found growing in duffy areas.
Fuscoboletinus spectabilis, the bog bolete, found along the intermittent streams. Note the slimy veil, dark vinaceous spore print, and textured cap.
Suillus cavipes, familiar to most western Montana fall mushroom hunters.
Some tattered Suillus tomentosus, with a grayish more than a blue stain reaction.
Suillus grevelli, a Slippery Jack. Found around the northern USA, this conifer loving species is native to Asia and the Russian Far East as well.
Another funky Fuscoboletinus, similar to our F. aeruginascens. Note the dark spore print on the cap and the reddish ring of spores on the stipe.
A crispy red Lactarius that the Russians pickled in salt.
Laccaria laccata, or a local variant. A very important mycorrhizal species in our northern boreal forests.
At this remote village in Primorski Krai, we met many villagers who foraged for edible mushrooms. Here Larry poses with some of the villagers.
This is some of the housing in Katen. There is often considerable snow here in the winter.
Access to many of these villages was limited to motor boaters’ ability to tackle the sometimes surging waters of these rivers. No roads connected several points we visited. Russian/Slavic residents tended to pick just the Boletes and pickle some species of Russulas, but in the more remote and ethnic villages I enjoyed the local Amanita caesarea,Hericium erinaceous, wood ears, and other exotic fungi.
On the river trip between Katen and Dada, we encountered dozens of species of mushroom and many edibles. This area is in the the threatened coastal mountain forests of Primorski Krai, north of Vladivostok. Biodiversity of this rare unglaciated mountain ecosystem is incredible. If it is not preserved all humanity will suffer.
Lepiota procera - this is the “classic” form of this mushroom found in Russia; in Montana we eat. Macrolepiota rachodes.
“Black and Dark Bollete” from a market in Vladivostok. These are considered a prized edible by the local people.
Agrocybe acericola, a common decomposer of maples and other hardwoods.
Agaricus campestris commonly recognized and eaten by the local people; known as “champignon.”
Amanita vaginata - This was eaten. I also found a type of A. caesarea eaten by the locals
Lepiota eriphora group found in a stand of Korean pine.
Here is a type of Auricularia, a fuzzy tree ear growing on hardwoods in Katen. This was eaten by the local people.
In front of the railway station depot built by Russian slaves during the Japanese occupation, a cow grazes. This style is typical of many of the buildings in the Russian Far East. On the map, this is This area marked the northernmost reaches of Japanese Manchuria, which lasted from the early 1900s to 1945. A number of Korean and Philippinos brought over as laborers in this period have given rise to populations of local people who have a cultural tradition that encompasses the forest life. This means that a number of edible and medicinal plants are recognized and collected, as well as “transplanted” knowledge about specific edible mushrooms that are also found in Korea or other areas of Asia.
A view of Vosokogyornie. Notice the remnant trees atop the ridges in the background. And how about those goats, eh? Those are some tough goats, I tell ya. Mushrooms found in this area featured Fuscoboletinus ochraceoroseus and some Suillus species.
Translator Chris Baldwin stands by the public well in Vosokogyornie. Note the attached coal-burning stove, used to keep the water liquid in the frigid winters. Temps routinely dip in the -40 degrees.
A vounteer guide and local enterpreneur and translator Chris Baldwin survey the regrowth larch trees in the so-called “valley of death” where many early settlers froze to death.
I salute from the sole doorway for our 10 story apartment building, just a couple blocks from Lenin Square. We lived on the fourth floor for over 2 months. I researched nontimber forest products of the region, and came to know that this is a tremendous source of biodiversity, being a rare northern place that escaped continental glaciation. There are many species of Vaccinium (blueberry) and kiwi fruit (Called Chinese or Siberian Gooseberry by the New Zealanders!) as well as a plethora of medicinal plants and commercial edible mushrooms.
Translator Chris Baldwin shows off a basket of Boletus edulis, locally known as Byelli Greeb.
A batch of Boletes, from the fading days of the Siberian summer.
Four local mushroom hunters show off their booty. Besides Leccinum and Bolete, they found Lactarius and a type of Paxillus they were planning to eat.
This little Polypore was encountered frequently in the hardwood forests of the Russian Far East. It would key to P. arcularis or P. mori in North America.