Cindy Barrett's
Mushrooms of Cambria,

San Luis Obispo County

January 19, 2003

*Note: all images were taken with a Sony Mavica CD-200 (2.1 megapixel) digital camera. The
mushrooms pictured here were found along a public access trail, west of Highway 1 (pictured
below). This spectacular trail afforded panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean to the west and the
Monterey pine forests of Cambria to the east. (Photos by Cindy Barrett.)

On the public access trail in Cambria. The distant forest is the site of the grand
mushroom habitat. An old Monterey cypress windbreak is in the foreground.

Having lived our entire lives in the dry climate of southern California, Ann and I had come to the
inevitable conclusion we were to go forever without the pleasure of walking through an
archetypal mushroom paradise. Of course, we have had the occasional singular mushroom
encounter, but we expected no more out of life. My personal knowledge of mushroom ecology
is painfully limited, hence, if someone had told me that I could find the classic fly agaric at home
in centeral California, I would have laughed. Nothing like reality to disrupt the face of ignorance.

As we entered the first forest, it was immediately apparent that mushrooms were everywhere.
The question was, which specimens to visit first! We began tromping deeper into the forest,
discovering so many mushrooms that we could hardly contain ourselves. Ann kept squealing with
delight as she leaned over my shoulder evaluating every photo I was taking. What follows is a
small selection of our discoveries that day.

This set of mushrooms sprang from a fertile pile of cow dung.
The dew only added to the fanciful beauty of these fungi (not the cowpie!)

A slug happily makes its way across the cap of this fly agaric [aka: fly amanita] (Amanita mucaria). The frilly ring only enhances the classic beauty of this mushroom.

Looking to be an odd assortment of eggs, this unknown mushroom made its home at the base of a Monterey pine.

Ann and I couldn't help laughing at this specimen emerging from a very
robust cowpie. While ranching may have its negative impacts, the mushroom community
certainly thrives in its presence! This mushroom may be a member of the Agaricus group.

This set of mushrooms, which may be some kind of Boletus, or maybe Suillus,
grew alongside a Monterey pine tree stump in full sun.

Once again, the fabulous fly agaric. These are two different specimens, but both grew in the dander beneath a bright Monterey pine forest. Notably, the one on the right is springing from another cowpie. This beauty was mammoth in size, easily measuring 11 inches across. Note that the umbrella cap sheltered two golfball-sized young ones.


Revised: August 9, 2003

This site ©2003 Cindy Barrett.