Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blue Elderberries and Mushrooms in the Cowichan Valley

Today Katrina, Shin and I went on a trip up to the Cowichan Valley to collect Blue Elderberry (Sambucus caerulea) and hunt for White Chanterelles.  We stopped at the granary in Duncan and harvested some Blue Elderberries.  The crop wasn’t excellent as many of the berries had fallen or were eaten by birds, but we managed to get several gallons worth.  Many of the bushes were under power lines and they had been coppiced back to keep the branches out of the lines and the bushes had 4-6 food suckers on them.  The berry clusters on the suckers were vastly larger than the older branches.  If I were managing a blue elderberry bush I would cut it way back every couple years to stimulate better production and to keep the berries low enough to reach.  We put our berry hooks to good use, but I frequently had to climb into the bushes to get the upper berries.  We drove west on Trunk Road and around to the highway to Cowichan Lake hunting for more bushes, but mostly just found bushes that were finished fruiting.  Then we drove to Mt. Tzouhalem and hiked through the municipal forest and collected mushrooms.  There were several Fat Jacks, and a few Shrimp Russulas.  Shin collected numerous Hideous Gomphidious and Rosy Gomphidious.  Then we drove up to Shawnigan Lake to look for white chanterelles.  We didn’t find any white ones, but we found a few Yellow Chanterelles and many Fat Jacks and Matte Jacks.
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