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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Please read all our FAQs before contacting us with questions about mushrooms, mushroom hunting or club forays. If you email us with a question already answered by the FAQs, we will not respond.

What is this mushroom I found?

It's very hard to identify mushrooms from photographs alone and the AMS does not make identifications based on emailed photos. A number of factors are important to mushroom identification including, but not limited to the geographic location, the habitat, the odor, the spore print, and of course physical characteristics like how the gills are attached, the shape of the cap, the presence of an annulus, etc. If you are interested in learning to identify mushrooms we encourage you to join the AMS or a mushroom club in your area.

Can I eat this mushroom?

While there are a number of good edible mushroom species growing in North America, there are also a few that are deadly poisonous. Between these extremes are mushrooms that won't kill you but will make you wish you had died, mushrooms that are edible for others but might make you sick, and mushrooms that are edible but taste horrible. If you want to find out if you can eat a mushroom, you need to first learn to consistently identify it correctly, confirm that it is an established edible mushroom, and test your individual tolerance. The AMS does not identify edible mushrooms by email or over the phone. If you want to learn to identify edible mushrooms in Arizona, we encourage you to join the club and attend our forays.

Where can I find edible mushrooms this weekend?

For most mushrooms to appear, sufficient rain and warm temperatures must exist. In Arizona these conditions occur in the higher elevations during the summer months, but also in other areas all year long. The AMS does not disclose the location of their mushroom forays to the general public because it would result in our areas being picked clean making it very difficult to function as an educational organization. In general, most individual mushroom hunters are also unwilling to disclose their "honey holes" for the same reason. If you are interested in learning about where mushrooms grow in Arizona, we encourage you to join our club.

Do you sell wild mushrooms?

The AMS does not sell wild mushrooms and is not open to members with a commercial interest in mushroom hunting. We are all volunteers who enjoy mushrooms. If you are interested in mushrooms for commercial purposes, this is not the group for you.

What does it cost to join the AMS?

Membership is $15 per year and includes a family membership (which is called bundle membership in the Wild Apricot documentation and help pages) for every member of your immediate family living at the same address. Life Memberships are also available for individuals at a one-time price of $200. 

Annual membership is from January 1 to December 31 of each year, although new members who join on or after September 1 of a given year will have their membership extended until the end of the following calendar year. Dues for membership renewals are payable on January 1st of each year, and membership will be suspended on March 1st if dues are not paid. 

In 2016 the AMS automated registration and dues payment with the Wild Apricot member management software. Click here to join now. 

What is a foray?

A foray is an event consisting of both professional and amateur mushroom lovers who get together for several days, usually over a weekend. During this time they collect, identify and discuss the mushrooms that were found. Club members are asked to refrain from hunting mushrooms for at least two weeks in an area where a foray is planned in order for this to be an educational experience. All persons attending club forays must have a signed release on file with the AMS to be permitted to accompany us. Children and minors must be accompanied by an adult who has legal authority to sign a release form. We will try to email members about up coming forays and will place the information on our web site.

Why do I need to sign a release?

Eating wild mushrooms can be hazardous. Some are deadly poisonous and other will make you very sick. Additionally, some people can have problems tolerating mushrooms that others can eat with no problems. In signing a release, each person on the foray legally acknowledges that they and they alone are responsible for ultimately deciding whether or not to eat a particular mushroom. Therefore only individuals of legal age may join the club and all members must sign a form releasing the club and its executive committee from any liability of any kind. For members the release signed upon joining is binding as long as membership is active. Non-members must sign a release each time they take part in an AMS sponsored event.

How should I prepare for a foray?

Dress for the weather and have adequate footwear. You will most likely be walking on rugged terrain, so sandals and flip flops are not recommended. Water and a snack are also recommended. All day forays necessitate bringing lunch.

Paper bags (not plastic) or waxed paper for separating different specimens, and a basket or something to carry the mushrooms in are recommended. A knife, brush, hand lens and guide book will be helpful with the mushrooms. A whistle, compass, walking stick and mosquito repellent are also a good idea any time you are in a natural area. Some members find carrying walkie-talkies or a GPS helpful.

Educate yourself as to the potential hazards in the area at the time of the foray, and take the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe. Poisonous snakes, black bears, mountain lions and wolves all make Arizona their home. While the size of our foray groups generally scare off all large animals, you may find yourself separated from the group. Poison ivy and mosquitoes are also found here. During the monsoon season, lightning can be a hazard and should be treated with respect. If the foray is during game hunting season, consider wearing orange or red to alert yourself to hunters.


Copyright (c) 2015-7, The Arizona Mushroom Society, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt Arizona non-profit corporation.

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