So why the recent obsession with fungus? I find the captivating nature of mushrooms and slimes lies in their ephemeral nature…the rarity of sighting them here in Southern California make them as exciting of a find as discovering a new animal in my other favourite ecological zone, tide pools. And my greatest joy is finding a new variety, especially new shapes or colours fruiting, something quite common considering my mycological interests only arose this winter. and there are thousands of local varieties, some yet to be discovered according to the scientific prediction that the worldwide range may span 1.5 million distinct types. If anything, these mushrooms and slimes remind me there is something new to learn each time we wake up for a new day and the excitement of finding something new while enjoying the natural beauty of Southern California’s wilderness make the activity a perfect excuse and motivator to always take advantage of

After watching the video above, I just want to get back out there as soon as I can set aside time and forage for more varieties, great and small. I think a trip to the Central and Northern California forests is in store for us, if not just a visit back up to the forests in the Los Padres park where there should be an abundance of fungal growth. For in short time, winter will soon give way to spring, and many mushrooms will disappear until next late winter (though a few spring varieties should appear soon too), only becoming a memory, dormant and hiding below the surface until the next seasonal rains.

I’m off to Chicago this Sunday till Tuesday, attending the 2010 Homewares Show. But I can’t help wondering if they’re are any interesting fungus to discover in any nearby wilderness region.