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As It Was: Southern Oregon Biologist Discovers Rare Mushroom

Scientists have yet to name a rare mushroom discovered in the spring of 2018 in the Southern Oregon Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Biologist Scot Loring stumbled upon the fungus under native white oaks while looking for rare plants on federal land southeast of Soda Mountain.  The mushroom is about 8 inches tall with convex caps of brownish tones, white margins and veil, tan gills, and a whitish stem that tapers to the base.

Loring believes it belongs to the genus Cortinarius that groups more than 1,000 mushroom varieties, many of them toxic.

Two years earlier Loring and other mycologists, who are scientists who study fungi, had led professionals and volunteers on a “bioblitz” to observe and catalog mushrooms in the national monument.  Their objectives included looking for new species endemic to the national monument.

Loring is certain his mushroom is a new species because no other mycologist has published a paper or conducted DNA tests on it.  A species can be officially classified only after a published paper undergoes a peer review.

The Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, where Loring serves on the board of directors, will help him name the mushroom.


Source: Freeman, Mark. "A new fungus among us." Mail Tribune, 26 Nov. 2018 [Medford, Ore.], mailtribune.com/news/top-stories/a-new-fungus-among-us. Accessed 12 Dec. 2019.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.