Lion’s Mane Mushroom

20131229-162215.jpgAfternoon reflections on a deep pool, which would be a lot deeper, as the mineral stain on the rock shows, were it not for the current droughty conditions.

Hericium mushrooms are one of the subtle signs of annual change in the Los Padres National Forest. When they sprout from their woody hosts it signifies the return of the rainy season.

For 51 weeks the hericium hunter patiently awaits the first rain showers of the season, which trigger the short-lived growth of the “Lion’s Mane” mushroom. If the first rain comes early, however, so too will the mushrooms, but sometimes the wait is longer than a year.

There is but a fleeting window of opportunity, about a week or so depending on weather, to harvest hericiums in their prime before they begin to turn woody and then rot. Then, typically, they do not grow again until the next season. It is a rare treat.

20131229-201752.jpgA hericium growing in the Santa Ynez Mountains. They have a pleasant, fruity mushroom fragrance and can taste like lobster or shrimp when picked fresh and sautéed in butter and olive oil.


Related Posts
Hericium Mushrooms of Santa Barbara County
Oyster Mushrooms
Giant Puffballs
Gem Studded Puffballs
Chanterelle Mushrooms

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4 Responses to Lion’s Mane Mushroom

  1. Mark in Sumpter says:

    awesome…..we look for the morel mushrooms up here….they are so treasured that when folks find a stand of them, they keep the location a secret!

  2. Anonymous says:

    That is truly amazing given the lack of rainfall. I see Lion’s Manes in Tuckers and up at Kinevan most years but have not bothered to look yet. I always leave them for my friends who desire them. Sure would be nice to find a fat Chanterelle, but it looks like we are going to be out of luck this season.

  3. Quite some mushroom that! We have a short-lived but delicious one (but only small) called the “Lawyer’s Wig” (or shaggy ink cap) but unfortunately, I haven’t seen one for a couple of years now 😦

  4. nicolec says:

    I wasn’t aware they grew in the West. We don’t have a rainy season here (Alabama). They are hunted by the calendar: November to December, with the “lion’s share” in December.

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