4 Weird & Wonderful Fall Fungi in North Vancouver

For some, the Fall season marks the tragic decline of Summer: the temperature drops, leaves fall, and the rains torrent down in full force. But for those in the know, Fall is a wonderland filled with colour and life. Why? Fungi!

Scientists estimate there are over 10,000 species of fungi living in the Pacific Northwest (Northern California to Alaska) and up to 1.5 million species worldwide. Since we don’t have time to cover all 10,000, here are 4 relatively common (and super weird looking) fungi we found right here on Vancouver’s North Shore. We found these mostly in Capilano Canyon and on the Kennedy Falls hiking trail, but many of these can be found on lawns and in gardens even in the city! Let’s dive in with a Super-Mario looking mushroom, the Fly Amanita.

1. Fly Amanita

The Fly Amanita is a cheerful looking fellow, with bright red cap dotted with many white warts on it. The cap can either by round like this one, or convex like a bowl. You can find it pretty much everywhere there are pine, spruce, fir, birch, or aspen trees around between June and November. Danger: this mushroom is dangerous to eat or even touch without gloves so be careful.


Why fly in the name? Traditionally, this mushroom has been used in homemade fly traps. People would crumble small pieces of the cap into a bowl of milk – the flies are attracted to a chemical in the mushroom, then are poisoned by it and drown in the milk.


Fun Fly Amanita Fact: This mushroom was said to be a favourite of the ancient Romans to poison their enemies.

2. Angel Wings

Moving from devilish to delicate, the Angel Wings fungus is easy to spot growing on coniferous nurse logs throughout the forest from September to October. It has a thin, wavy top, usually no stem to speak of, and thin dense gills underneath.


Be careful when petting the dense gills underneath, as this fungi is fragile.

3. Orange Jelly

Many fungi like the Fly Amanita and Angel Wings have a defined structure to them. Others are alien blobs of goo. That’s the category Orange Jelly fungus falls into…


This is definitely the weirdest looking fungus we found in the forest this season, and you can probably go find it as well. It grows from coniferous wood (see our rundown of common BC trees here) from May to November. Moist mountain valleys like Lynn Canyon and Capilano Canyon in North Vancouver, or Paradise Valley (Cheakamus Centre) in Squamish are the best places to look for these.

Fun Jelly Fungus Fact: Jelly Fungus is easiest to spot when the weather has been super rainy – it soaks the moisture up and swells to the size you see in the picture above. When moisture levels drop, the fungus dries up to lay in wait for the next big rainfall.

4. Crested Coral Fungus

While the coral reef isn’t doing too well in the ocean, coral fungi – named for their resemblance of oceangoing coral – are abundant on the forest floor. We think this here is Crested Coral Fungus, but it’s tough to tell between that and Pink Coral Mushroom which happens to be super poisonous.

Regardless, both kinds can be found on the ground underneath coniferous trees like Western Hemlock and Douglas Fir. It isn’t a good idea to eat any kind of Coral Fungus, but they sure are neat to look at and feel with their interesting structure.

Fall Fungus For Everyone

That’s all folks! If you have any weird or wacky fungus you’ve spotted this season, send us a picture at nvosas@gmail.com and we’ll post it for everyone to see. Otherwise, happy fungus hunting friends.



Photos and Words by:

Mark Tallman

President, NVOSAS



Let’s Start Thinking Green



I recently had the pleasure of attending the Globe 2016 Expo at the Vancouver Convention Center where several companies had booths set up to share their efforts in developing sustainable technology. I would like to share a few of the companies and technologies that I enjoyed the most!


  1. Enerkem


As part of my courses in university, I toured a few industrial plants around Alberta – my favourite being Enerkem, located in Edmonton. I was excited to see that they had a booth at the Globe conference. Enerkem is a company that takes a portion of the non-recyclable municipal wastes to convert it into bio-chemicals that can be used in products or for energy. To me it sounds like magic!


                                   The Enerkem facility in Edmonton


Waste contains large amounts of organics which, at a landfill, will naturally break down to produce CO2 and methane. When there is too much waste to be contained, an incinerator will be used to burn it, which will produce a lot of CO2. Enerkem’s technology works by gasifying the organic wastes to make what is called syngas, and this syngas can then be run through a reactor packed with catalysts to reform it into biofuels and chemicals.


                A landfill, definitely not as nice looking as the recycle plant!


  1. BioCube Corp


I was interested in the BioCube because it takes the already established technology of making biodiesel and making it more accessible and economically feasible.

Biodiesel is made from a transesterification process where a triglyceride (Perhaps from a vegetable oil) is reacted with an alcohol. A current major problem with biodiesel is that the process to produce it in a big plant is quite energy intensive and takes a lot of infrastructure and transporting of materials, which is exactly what the BioCube was invented to prevent!


                                     Just some plain ol’ biodiesel

The BioCube is a modified 20 foot shipping container that can be used to produce biodiesel. The idea behind the BioCube is that you can ship it to where biodiesel can be used and a feedstock is present. The first BioCube sold went to DR Congo, which allowed them to no longer rely on shipping in diesel oil for their energy needs which cuts down on costs as well as greenhouse gas emissions!


                     Pongamia seeds, one of the many usable feedstocks

  1. Designergy


I am a fan of Designergy for the same reason as the BioCube – they take a technology and make it more accessible. Designergy produces a roofing material that integrates a photovoltaic with the necessary insulation and waterproofing needed to be a construction material. Based in Switzerland, Designergy has been participating in the construction scene for roughly 5 years.

My favourite thing about solar energy is that if someone tells you there has been a solar spill, they really just want to say that it’s a gorgeous day. Jokes aside though, solar energy is a fantastic technology to get behind. It does have difficulties, however – such as efficiency, space, and the materials it takes to make them. Companies such as Designergy really pave the way for investors to get behind solar energy, which will hopefully assist us in tackling some of the issues with solar energy and allow us to see a lot more of it in our future!


                                    The lone ranger, powering our future.







By Andrew “Rabbit” May

NVOSAS Vice President