Fascinated By Fungi Videos

Want to learn more about mushrooms? Check out this web series from Dr. Gordon Walker aka Fascinated By Fungi, where he explores the amazing spectrum of colors and shapes displayed by mushrooms. Truly fascinating fungal finds inspire fear and wonder, but Dr. Walker does his best to educate you on ecology, edibility, and the chemical compounds present in fungi.

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"Mushrooms Are Hot Right Now" Mini-Documentary on Sustainable Fungal Technologies by Matador Media


The World's Most Recognizable Mushroom: "The Fly Agaric" Amanita muscaria

#Amanitamuscaria is one of the most recognizable yet also most maligned mushrooms on the planet! It is mycorrhizal with a variety of conifers and deciduous trees and has spread worldwide. Commonly known as #Flyagaric this mushroom has a plethora of folklore surrounding it, making it hard to decipher fact from fiction. This mushroom is widely known for being toxic, which is kind of a misnomer because while A. muscaria contains ibotenic acid (which induces nausea and vomiting in a dose dependent manner) it does not contain any of the life threatening Amatoxins or hemolytic proteins contained in its relatives. A. muscaria can be prepared safely as food if the mushroom is boiled twice (5m) in salted water, it can then be treated like any other edible mushroom, fried in butter or turned into ceviche. A. muscaria is also valued for its production of Muscimol a potent GABA receptor agonist. Muscimol is produced by the decarboxylation of ibotenic acid (UV/drying). Since it’s a GABA agonist, muscimol affects many areas of the brain, inducing sedative-hypnotic, depressant, and psychoactive activities. It’s effects are fundamentally different from psilocybin, inducing less euphoria and more delirium. This mushroom carries massive cultural and spiritual importance for some, but in America is commonly seen as “toxic” thing to be avoided. For me it’s a good reminder that our human practices have probably helped spread this mushroom around the world, it’s worth taking the time to understand it’s intrinsic value as food and medicine before dismissing it out of fear or ignorance. 



Gordon Walker Fascinated By Fungi Interview with HNGRY: Cryptic Mycelium and the Future of Alternative Protein

In this episode “Future Fungi” I talk to Matt Newberg of HNGRY TV about the future of sustainable Mycoprotein and how products from companies like @meatifoods and @primeroots could challenge Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat in the alternative protein market. This episode also includes interviews with Eleana Hsu (@sharedcultures) and Mario Gabiatti (@mgabiati). I am absolutely in love with the footage we took on this magical day at Salt Point, hoping to show you guys more soon. Check out the entire episode on the @HNGRY YouTube Channel!


Fascinated By Fungi Live: Dr. Merlin Sheldrake author of "Entangled Life"

Merlin and I have a great chat about broad ranging topics in mycology and fermentation . We talk about his inspiration/motivation for writing his book “Entangled Life”. Then we get into mycelium as a way of life and the plurality of fungi vs determinate animal perspectives. We talk about communities vs single organisms and get into his work with Voyria and other Mycohetereotrophs. We move into talking about yeast/fermentation and brewing. We talk about “trophic transformation” by fungi and the potential for improving our world using fungi. We finish with talking about the “extended phenotype” of fungi and what that means in a broader sense. Such as awesome talk with @merlin.sheldrake, incredibly grateful he took the time to speak with me. Hope you guys enjoy our chat!


 Mushroom Cleaning ASMR (Tapping)

Here I celebrate one of my favorite fungal accessories; the classic Opinel Mushroom Knife. With an exceptionally sharp curved blade, it’s adept at slicing through any kind of mushroom. The curve helps to avoid cutting yourself and aids in trimming mushrooms quickly. I am also a huge fan of the attached brush that allows you to quickly clean off dirt and bugs. Using my knife while mushroom hunting feels right, in fact, it does not just feel right - it sounds RIGHT! I love listening to the sound of cleaning mushrooms and slicing through them. It definitely serves as a form of catharsis for me, next best thing to actually being out in the woods myself.

Hope you guys enjoy the sweet sounds of using this incredible knife on some mushrooms. I don’t know if I fully understand ASMR, but this is about as close as I get. The great tapping, slicing, and scratching noises help me relax and get excited about the prospect of mushroom hunting. Cheers everyone!


 Are You Fascinated By Fungi? (Mushroom/Slime Mold Compilation)

Are you Fascinated By Fungi? Check out this incredible compilation of mushrooms, slime molds, and forest creatures. Visit FascinatedByFungi.com to learn more about mushroom hunting. Thanks to @michaelwilbursax (TikTok) and Moon Hooch for the awesome background track. Prepare yourself, I've been told this is "intense".

Learn about Huitlacoche, Corn Smut, or Ustilago maydis, a pathogenic fungi that "zombifies" corn

Huitlacoche is a traditional food eaten in Mexico. In America we see it as a disease (Corn Smut) rather than a food, needlessly spraying millions of pounds of fungicides into corn fields every year. Ustilago maydis is a pathogenic fungi that infects corn plants, inducing a set of gene expression changes that cause corn kernels to "zombify", turning into large swollen "galls" or plant tumors that eventually explode with spores as they mature. These zombified corn kernels are edible and delicious, providing a boost in nutrition (with better quality protein and vitamins). Huitlacoche is being explored as a commercially cultivated crop by Rick Bayless and Mushroom Mike - but there are potential cultural equity issues at play. Either way, I hope you learn something about this amazing fungus and are inspired to try eating Huitlacoche!

 Fascinated By Fungi Live: COVID & Mushroom Trivia with Dr. Noc

Had a fantastic factual conversation with Dr. Noc (@dr.noc) about the basic biology of the COVID-19 virus. We start by talking about or experiences with graduate research and path into industry. We touch on the types of vaccines being produced and the logistics involved in distribution. We also talk about the need for scientists to effectively communicate their work and fight misinformation online. At the end we get into talking about fungi and diversity of fruiting bodies and life strategies. So grateful to the Doc for taking time to talk to me. Yay Sci Comm!

Fascinated By Fungi: Foraging for Lobster Mushrooms (Hypomyces lactifluorum) in Humboldt County, CA

Today I bring you one of my bucket list fungi finds, the #LobsterMushroom. Named for its bright red/orange color and slightly seafood-y aroma, these gorgeous specimens are actually the combination of a base species (usually Russula or Lactarius) that has been colonized by the parasitic Ascomycete #Hypomyceslactifluorum. . Usually a mushroom infected with Hypomyces is effectively useless as most molds of this type render fungi inedibly bitter/unpalatable. Hypomyces lactiflorum has the opposite effect, it colonizes the base species, firming up the brittle/grainy texture of Russula/Lactarius, also turning the distinct gills into amorphous ridges. DNA analysis found that the Hypomyces DNA penetrates inward, but has the highest expression near the surface. Metabolic analysis of the infected mushroom flesh saw changes to the lipid and terpene profiles, indicative of the changes in texture and flavor induced by the mold. . It was a really joy to visit Humboldt county for the first time and find these mushrooms. I have already made a “lobster” bisque with them and dried a few, trying to figure how what to do with the rest. Let me know your favorite prep method for Lobster mushrooms in the comments! . P.S. I will write up the Lobster Bisque recipe on my Patreon for anyone who is interested.


Uncovering massive “Mud Puppies” Cantharellus californicus in Napa County

Greetings from these filthy but beautiful #MudPuppies or #Cantharelluscalifornicus. These hefty golden giants are mycorrhizally associated with several species of oak in California, I found these specimens under Black Oak. They are the largest of chanterelle species as they display “indeterminate” growth, meaning the fruiting bodies can persists several weeks and continue growing. Chanterelles have an amazing ability to resist pests, molds, and more, they must have some seriously powerful polysaccharides and bioactive compounds. Regardless of their potential health benefits I just love finding them because they make an excellent edible mushroom. With specimens as dirty as these (even a good wash can’t fully expunge the muddy flavor) I like to make mushroom soup, but more primo specimens can be pan fried till golden brown and delicious (beware the mushrooms will sweat profusely she put into a hot pan). Chanterelles have excellent “meat-like” texture, the shredded mushroom has a consistency similar to shredded chicken and can be used in similar applications (tacos, nachos, salads, etc...). These massive oak chanterelles can be a pain to clean, but their impressive size makes them notable. They occur near oak November-April, happy to have finally found some of these beasts this season!



 Identifying Amanita novinupta in Napa California

The small burst of rain here in Napa served to beckon forth these attractive #BlushingBride or #Amanitanovitupa - the western counterpart to Amanita amerirubescens. The blusher group of Amanitas are known for flesh that stains red/pink sporadically or when injured. Traits to look for are the“skirt” or remains of the veil on the stem, warty remains of the universal veil on the cap (often reddish when not exposed to UV), and white spores. The novinupta grows in association with oaks and fruits in similar seasons to velosa, ocreata, and even phalloidies - thus it behooves you to know your Amanitas apart! Novinupta is considered to be a prime edible by some but does have toxic look-a likes and must be cooked thoroughly as it contains a hemolytic (kills red blood cells) protein that is heat liable.



Huge Cauliflower Mushroom (Sparassis radicata) found in the PNW

Absolutely amazed and humbled by this fantastic fungal find, a very happy #MycoMonday to everyone from this massive #Cauliflowermushroom or #Sparassisradicata. This brown rot fungi is weakly parasitic and will fruit year after year on the same tree. S. radicata is a distinct West Coast species that grows on conifers (pine and Doug Fir), unlike the East coast species that grow mainly on hardwoods. The fruiting bodies are large, firm, and long lived (turning brown as they age). Cauliflower mushrooms are a delicious edible, combining a pleasing crunchy texture with delicious mild mushroom flavor. This mushroom was on my bucket list and was part of the reason I came to visit the PNW, over the moon excited about this find.


Finding Chicken of the Woods on Eucalyptus in the Napa Valley

It’s Chicken of the Woods time again here in Napa! These brilliant yellowy orange wings were spotted by the expert eyes of @vagabondingviticulturist growing off of eucalyptus. This species or #chickenofthewoods is #laetiporusgilbertsonii which is known for fruiting in late summer/early fall before the rains come. It’s started getting a little colder here in Napa/Sonoma at night and I think that had been a trigger for mushrooms to fruit. Gilbertsonii is not generally considered a choice edible species by mushroom connoisseurs (looking at you @nemophilist_tendencies) but I think it can make a fantastic edible if picked young/tender, cooked very thoroughly, and doused in tasty sauces or battered and deep fried. Looking forward to stockpiling more of these marshmallowy yellow shelves of deliciousness, especially since they freeze quite well. Challenging myself to make more videos, always appreciate any constructive feedback you have to offer! A note on edibility, Chicken of the Woods (on eucalyptus and conifers) can make people violently ill (not dangerously, just projectile-y), so always always cook your mushrooms thoroughly (even precook them before breading and frying to be safe). ALWAYS try only a small bite and wait at least half an hour to see if you feel any discomfort, most mushroom poisoning symptoms are dosage dependent. Once you can confidently eat CotW, remember it’s probably best to consume in reasonable portions (don’t eat pounds of it at a time).


Dr. Gordon Walker (@FascinatedByFungi) talks at the Cal Academy "Fungus" Among Us" NightLife

Dr. Gordon Walker (@FascinatedByFungi) talks at the Cal Academy "Fungus" Among Us" NightLife on January 9th, 2020. Dr. Gordon Walker runs the @FascinatedByFungi mushroom accounts on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and iNaturalist. He speaks in the Africa Hall at the California Academy of Sciences Museum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Gordon covers his background with mushrooms, the basics of fungal biology, applications in biotechnology and how we can achieve a better future through fungi.