February 5 at 6:30pm: The Many Mushrooms of Arizona and Their Habitats

For the Monday February 5th, 2018 meeting, our speaker will be Dr. Christopher May, President of the Arizona Mushroom Society, speaking on the many mushrooms that grow in Arizona and the habitats where they are found

The meeting will start at 6:30 PM in Room 101, Casa Del Prado in Balboa Park. We will take Dr. May to dinner before the meeting around 5:00 at the Blue Water Seafood Grill. Come along to meet Dr. May over dinner.


Residents of San Diego are no doubt familiar with the influx of “Zonies” who invade the beaches and amusement parks of their fair city to escape the Arizona summers. Few of them, even many members of the San Diego Mycological Society, are aware that there is a similar but much smaller migration of knowledgeable mushroom hunters in the other direction at the same time. The hot weather of mid-July to mid-September is the season when near-daily monsoon thunderstorms dump copious moisture on the heavily-forested mountains that rise from the deserts to almost 13,000 feet elevation in the northern and eastern part of the state. During this short but usually productive season, the forests respond with a riot of fungi of all descriptions, including many of the most desirable edible species like porcini, chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, and lobster mushrooms.

The climatological and geographic features that give life to our forests will be discussed, as well as the vast public lands where mushroom hunting is allowed (and a few places where it is not.) He will also talk about printed and on-line resources that are helpful to Arizona mushroom hunters, and speak briefly about the Arizona Mushroom Society and its events.


Christopher May, M.D., is a radiologist in Scottsdale, Arizona. Until a few years ago, his only non-culinary involvement with fungi was limited to occasionally diagnosing fungal diseases on medical imaging studies. In the summer of 2010, he took his father to visit an old friend who is a mushroom farmer in England, and became fascinated by the complex and unfamiliar biological processes that characterize the Kingdom of Fungi. Shortly after his return, he went on a foray with the Arizona Mushroom Club and its founder, Dr. Chet Leathers, who instantly got him hooked on exploring the Arizona forests for wild mushrooms. Learning more and more each year about the topic, he started the Arizona Mushroom Forum website and Facebook page in 2014, providing a central meeting place for our local mushroom enthusiasts to share notes and photos. In 2016, when Dr. Leathers retired, the old Arizona Mushroom Club was reorganized into the Arizona Mushroom Society, an incorporated 501(c)(3) non-profit, and Chris became its first elected president. Under his supervision, the Society has grown to over 400 members who take part in 5-10 forays per year, depending on conditions, as well as lectures, workshops, and culinary events. He is a member of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) and a volunteer identifier for its Toxicology Committee. He organized the NAMA Regional Foray last year in the White Mountains of Arizona, and was recently presented with the NAMA Harry and Elsie Knighton Service Award.