Lasqueti Fungus Fest!



by Kaia Bryce

Last November’s fungus festival was a feast for the senses! There were spore-ink and mushroom paper, mushroom dyed fabrics, medicinal teas and chocolates.

Best of all, two long tables ran down the community hall, abounding with dozens of species of fungal specimens collected by Lasqueti mycophiles. 

Who knew there was such diversity lurking underfoot? Kids and adults alike roamed the displays, comparing colours (purple! black!) and textures, namedropping Latin and being gleefully revolted by the odour of certain ‘spermatic’ varieties.

Our special guest, Andy MacKinnon, guided forty or so damp enthusiasts on an extremely slow, yet illuminating, walk in the woods behind the hall. Even the tiniest of mushrooms that most of us would bustle past in search of something edible was greeted like a friend, and glowingly introduced. 

Cubed Fold Truffle (Hydnotrya cubispora) center.

Rune Taiga (age 7) managed to stump Andy with a pungent little brown blob that was later identified in the lab as a Cubed Fold Truffle—the Lasqueti specimen has been preserved in the Beatty Biodiversity Museum in Rune’s name. Only a couple of sightings of this mushroom have ever been recorded in BC!

Earlier in the day, Andy led a walk behind the Judith Fisher Centre with the students from False Bay School, who searched enthusiastically for fungi.


Mushroom inks, spore prints and paper, created by Valeria de Rege. 

Highlights from a mushroom walk with renowned mycologist Andy MacKinnon.

Andy MacKinnon takes us on a decades-spanning journey exploring the natural and cultural history of magic mushrooms in British Columbia

Andy MacKinnon is a forest ecologist who lives in Metchosin, BC.  His recent research interests include ecology of BC’s ectomycorrhizal fungal species. He was lead BC scientist for Environment Canada’s 2017 ranking of our province’s threatened and endangered fungal species. Andy has taught rainforest ecology field courses in Bamfield and Tofino (for the University of Victoria) and Haida Gwaii (for UBC).

He has also taught mushroom identification courses in Tofino (for the Rainforest Education Society) and in Victoria. He is co-author of six best-selling books about plants of western North America, and co-author of the newly published Royal BC Museum Handbook “Mushrooms of British Columbia”. He is past-president of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society (SVIMS), and an enthusiastic participant, speaker and field trip leader for various mushroom festivals in southwestern BC each autumn.