Mushroom expert Daniel Winkler and a member of the Puget Sound Mycological Society, talks to interested mushroom foragers about identification in the wild and the edible qualities of different mushrooms. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times, 2011)

SEATTLE — A Seattle mushroom hunter snapped a photo in a northern Washington forest several years ago, capturing a striking image: a group of orange, spotted stems reach toward the sky, each shorter than an inch tall. They’re growing out of a butterfly larva, now dead, that had buried itself in the soil to pupate.

Meanwhile, the fungus stands tall, dispersing spores through the air from its new vantage point.


Mushroom expert Daniel Winkler holds up a rare fungus, Cordyceps militaris, that grows in and on the carcasses of dead insects. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times, 2011)