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lancewildcraft lancewildcraft

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Lance Staples  Full-time Forager from Victoria, B.C.

A good recovery to the day. Found an awesome zone for Chicken of the Woods. I was surprised to see tender specimens out this late. This one has a sort of reishi look to it, no?

IMPORTANT! SWIPE RIGHT TO SEE ALL PHOTOS !! Old Growth Logging is still a reality. This chaos was discovered today just off the Carmanah Main on the Lower Caycuse Main just past the town of Nitinat Lake. This is (was) one of many unprotected groves of 1st (old) and 2nd growth trees, with some of the trees being 5-8+ feet in diameter. The one in the first photo is at least 8. It was difficult for me to get a full count but my very rough estimate would be at least 15 of these massive trees were cut in this 750m clearcut. Folks, we're talking about ancients here. I mean some of these trees have to be over 600-700 years old if not more..and while there were (thank god!!!) some old trees that were spared, taking even one is inexcusable. There are still many areas (on Vancouver Island alone..) left unprotected which could easily be up for grabs someday soon. Old growth trees are just seen as profit!!! Nothing more. These companies give 0 fucks and it is just about to the bottom line, that is, the lining of corporate pockets, of course.
If you've every had the opportunity to visit the majesty and awe that is old growth forests, then you know they have a special energy to them that is unlike any other place. It is a place of healing, a place of power and intelligence, and a place of peace. Not a place to destroy or to involve meddlesome, childish humans.
#oldgrowthlogging #oldgrowth #oldgrowthforest #fuckery #whenwillthisstop #ancients #thispostdeserveshashtags #truthrevealed

This is a Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus conifericola) mushroom, a Polypore mushroom that is distinguished from other Laetiporus species because it is found in the west growing on decomposing conifers (hemlock, spruce, fir). It is generally a late summer mushroom, but sometimes you can find the odd specimen in early fall. Its a tricky one to find in a prime state, but in my very limited experience, you're looking for a bright orange to red top and a bright yellow underside. The mushroom should be tender to the touch and should exude a clear watery substance. If it does this then its the primo's!!!😄😄😄 In this state the mushroom is meaty and tender kind of like chicken, but it has an underlying citrus flavor that is undeniably intriguing. Its delicious, and this is what the hype is all about!!! Actually one of the tastiest mushrooms I've ever had.
This mushroom is a beautiful balance of food meets medicine. It has a large list of active constituents, several of which have anti-cancer or anti-tumor properties. It is also antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and, interestingly enough, the mycelium is shown to be about 2.5% melanin by fresh weight. (Too much to share for an IG post. Check out the medicinal properties for yourself, its fascinating).

Blue Elderberry (Sambucus cerulea) is one of our late summer/early fall fruits, and is native to the Western U.S. and the Pacific Coast, from Vancouver Island and southern B.C. to northwestern Mexico. I find the fruits are the most enjoyable of the Elders, slightly sweet yet tart with a hint of bitterness, and not too seedy.
I'm not sure whether they are as medicinally active as Black Elderberry (S. nigra), but they still possess antiviral and antibacterial properties. These properties are particularly useful in stimulating the immune system and treating colds/flu as well as infections of the respiratory tract. The rich content of anthocyanins makes them a good source of antioxidants.

An interesting feature I found about these berries is the white film covering them, which I thought was a thick bloom of wild yeasts. While there is undoubtedly many active wild yeasts hanging out on the surface, what you're actually seeing is a substance called epicuticular wax. This wax is an indicator of ripeness, but it also reflects UV light, repels excess moisture and helps to preserve the fruit for longer periods of time (unless of course the birds get them all). This wax also covers the outside of the plant cuticle in all plants that grow on land.
CAUTION: all parts of the Elders are very toxic, except for the flowers and berries. They are very high in cyanogenic glycosides and are to be avoided, particularly if you are gathering the delicate flowers (this means no leaves; not sure what they would be doing in there anyways..)

Coastal wild blueberries: I'm totally stumped on what species this is. I'm taking a wild guess and going to say its Oval-Leaved Blueberry (Vaccinium ovalifolium)..either way they are tasty, more tart than sweet. I would strongly not recommend gathering these unless you find a good spot, as this measly pint unfortunately took me way over an hour to pick (a rather slow and boring process). I'm not sure if wild blueberries are really even a decent crop on Vancouver Island, but its an interesting and recent discovery...missing info here..heeeeellllppp!!! #rookie

Update: It could be Alaskan Blueberry (V. alaskaense), which as it turns out, is very similar to the Oval-Leaved Blueberry and can grow in the same habitat and can be commonly confused. Glad I'm not the only one confused.

Summer hedgehog mushrooms. This species is the Bellybutton Hedgehog (Hydnum umbilicatum). The species in the other picture is just regular ol' Hedgehog mushroom (Hydnum repandum). The bellybuttons have an indent in the top of the cap and are generally much smaller than their larger hedgehog relatives.

Not your average Lemon tree: these are the fruits (called drupes) of Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina). This is a species native to eastern North America; the native species we get in B.C. is the Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra). Rhus is a genus of around 35 species which are scattered throughout the temperate and subtropical regions of the world. Rhus belongs to the Anacardiaceae family (also known as the Cashew or Sumac family..also Mangoes and Poison Ivy like to hang out there too). The fruits of Sumac, when ripe, are very acidic and astringent due to their malic acid content. As such they make a practical alternative to lemons. A wonderful drink can be made from them (Sumacade as it is sometimes called) which also yields a lovely pink color. Sumac is commonly dried/ground into a spice and used in Middle Eastern cuisine to flavor salads and meats. Sicilian Sumac (Rhus coriaria) is used to make Za'atar spice, which is a combination of sumac, sesame seeds and other herbs (thyme, oregano, etc.). The flavor of Sumac would also lend itself quite well in fermentation for wine, mead-making and sweet/sour tonic beverages like shrubs and kombucha.


First mushroom pick of 2017.

Red huckleberry season finally reaching its peak. I'm filling my freezer with as much as I can!! All the wild berries have been ripening slowly and sporadically due to cooler temperatures this year, which has allowed for an extended season for most wild foods and medicines.

Looks are deceiving as these are no ordinary blackberry: These happen to be a species of Dewberry, and are one of the most epic of forest gem finds (this one here is Rubus ursinus). This berry is better known as Trailing Blackberry, or California Blackberry. It is our native "blackberry" of the Pacific Northwest.
The flavor is 10× that of the regular, invasive Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus armeniacus). It is amazingly sweet and well-rounded when ripe, and it cries out for someone to make wine or mead with it! Some of them are a bit more tart than sweet, I find this is common with the larger ones that are found in the shadier zones. All of them have a certain sharp flavor at the end that I can't describe...for lack of better words it tastes minerally.. Either way its incredible.
To elaborate on the dewberries, they are a group of species in the Rubus genus that are closely related to blackberries. They are trailing brambles that produce separate male and female plants (this distinguishes them from other Rubus species).

Geometry can be observed everywhere in nature, and this pattern really intrigued me the other day. This is the underside of the flowers of Wild Carrot (Daucus carota). If you check out the other 2 photos you can see 2 purplish dark red flowers in the middle. These flowers are used to attract insects, and only some of the flowering tops produce them.
This plant is also known as Queen Anne's Lace. It is believed to be named after Anne the Queen of Britain, as well as her great grandmother, Anne of Denmark. The flower looks like lace, and the purple/red middle flower apparently represents a drop of blood from Queen Anne pricking herself with a needle while making the lace.

#flowerwithinaflower #weirdplantname #igetitnow #butmaybeyoualreadyknew #andmaybeimjustanewb

Bush candy: Summer huckleberries are here! The 2 species featured here are the red variety (Vaccinium parvifolium) and the purple/black mountain huckleberries (Vaccinium membranaceum). The reds are more likely to be found along the coast at lower elevations, whereas the purple/black variety here is found at higher elevations, often associated with pine or other conifers which contribute to the acidic soils they thrive in.

Huckleberries belong to the Ericaceae family, or the Heather family. Ok..so..why is this relevant.. Well... Interesting enough, blueberries (both cultivated and wild) belong to the same family and actually the same Vaccinium genus. The Ericaceae is a good family to know: one of the key features is its bell-shaped flowers, which all species share, and which may make it easier to identify. If you live on the coast you may be interested to know that Arbutus trees are related. Other related species include wintergreen, salal berry, the medicinal (and horticulural) heather species (lot of history and lore surrounding these in regards to ancient fermentation/beer making...I invite you to do some research, its fucking fascinating) and cranberries.

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