Ingeborg Woodsworth shows one of the over 200

Another fine fall for fungus approaches

Salmon Mushroom Festival: Annual event focuses on some of the delicacies of the Cowichan wilderness

Did you know there is a mushroom that grows here in the Cowichan Valley that is poisonous when consumed with alcohol?

It’s Coprinopsis Atamentaria, more commonly called Inky Caps or Alcohol Inky Caps. When consumed with alcohol up to three days later it can cause violent vomiting and make you temporarily ill.

That is only one of the 200,000 known species of mushroom in North America. Only five per cent of those are considered to be poisonous to humans.

Because mushrooms grow many places in the Cowichan Valley and are, for the most part, edible and tasty, and the salmon are running, we have the Salmon Mushroom Festival. Happening Sept. 28 and 29 in Lake Cowichan’s Centennial Hall, it’s billed as a great place to discover new ways to find and enjoy these fungi and fish.

Local mycologist Ingeborg Woodsworth has been searching and identifying mushrooms for more than 50 years.

“The Cowichan Valley has such a bounty, such a variety,” she said.

There will be mushroom slide shows to help identify species found and locally, guided field trips on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Also, you can taste delicious soups and other mushroom and salmon delicacies on site.

A market of local arts and crafts, a Cowichan Valley Arts Council display, music and food are all part of the two-day celebration.

Woodsworth is excited.

“The six First Nations — Penelakut, Lyackson, Stz’uminus, Halalt, Cowichan and Lake Cowichan — people will have an exhibit and may perform at the festival.”she said.

Bring a paper bag with mushrooms you would like to have identified to the festival. If they can’t be identified on site, organizers can have the National Forest Laboratory in Victoria identify them.

Admission Saturday and Sunday is $2, children get in for free. Register for the guided field trips on Sunday at the Centennial Hall. For more information phone 250-749-6291 or visit


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