Coke & Som Smith Photography & Travelogue

Fungi of the Olympic Peninsula


Wildflowers & Mushrooms

 S-N 080

Peninsula College

Fall Quarter, 2004


Wildflowers and Mushrooms!  The Olympic Peninsula is home to a staggering array of living things.  Perhaps two of the most spectacular and intriguing to the naturalist are peninsula’s flowers and fungi species.  This course will investigate both of these groups of organisms through lectures, photo essays and two field trips in to the areas of the region rich with flowers and mushrooms.  We will emphasize flowers of the high sub alpine and alpine plant communities in the late stages of their blooms.  As for mushrooms, we will trek the damp lower elevation forests in search of some of the more conspicuous species that live there.

Course Syllabus


Instructor:  A. Coke Smith                

Phone:  (360) 565-0151/1571

Class Dates and Time:  Sep 30 – Nov 6, Thursdays, 3:30PM to 5:30PM



Course Schedule


Sep 30: Introductions and course description.

Introduction to basic flowering plant anatomy and observation techniques.          

Introduction to basic fungal anatomy with special emphasis on Basidiomycotina and Ascomycotina.


Oct 2:  Field Trip #1:  Today we will visit some of the higher elevations of the peninsula to view some of the late bloomers.  Our hopeful destinations will be Hurricane Ridge and associated areas. Time:  10:00 AM until PM.  More details TBA.


Oct 7: Photo survey of some of the various flowering plants found in the high elevations of our area.  This slide show will illustrate several dozen of our more common flowering plants – both annuals and perennials.   


Oct 14: Photo survey of some of the various fungal species found in our area.  This slide show will illustrate several dozen of our more common mushrooms – both Basidiomycotina and Ascomycotina.   


Oct 23:  Field Trip #2:  Today we will visit some of the lower elevations of the peninsula to view some of the various fungal species found there.  We will be walking the Marymere Falls trail and the Trail Through Time.  Time:  10:00 AM until PM.  More details TBA.


Nov 6: Field Trip #3:  Today we will explore a disturbed habitat for some new species of fungi.  We will walk trails on some private land near the bluffs that is home to a recovering second growth forest.  Hopefully we will see some unique fungi taking advantage of the forest debris that is more profuse here than in the old growth forest.  Time: 9:45 AM to 11:30 AM.


Directions:  1674 Gasman Road – head east on 101, and then north (left turn) on Old Olympic Highway.  Proceed for about a mile and turn LEFT on Gasman Rd.  Proceed to the end of the road until you reach the gravel road.  Keep going for about 200 yards until you reach my address marker, 1674, and then park on the road in the opening just past the driveway!




Suggested Texts:

Stewart, Charles.  1994.  Wildflowers of the Olympics and Cascades. Nature Education    Enterprises Publishing.  224pp.


Pojar & Mackinnon. 1994.  Plants of the Pacific Northwest CoastWashington, British Columbia & Alaska.  Lone Pine Press.  527pp.


Underhill, J.E. (1979).  Guide To Western Mushrooms. Hancock House Publishers. 32 pp.


Arora, David. (1986).  Mushrooms Demystified.  Ten Speed Press, Berkeley.  958 pp.


Lincoff, Gary (1988).  The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms.  Alfred A. Knopf Publishers.  926 pp.



Field Trip Information:

                Dates, Destinations & Times – see the above syllabus.


What to Bring:

  • Note paper
  • Camera
  • Writing utensils
  • Warm clothes – be able to peel!
  • Weatherproof shoes – good walking shoes.  Rubber boots for tidal community.
  • Rain gear!!!  (This is Washington after all…)
  • Binoculars
  • Small backpak/napsack
  • Lunch
  • Trail snacks
  • Plenty of water
  • Sun screen (yah right….)
  • Mosquito spray
  • Prescriptions
  • Park pass
  • Other equipment – strong, rigid container, knife or trowel, wax paper (if collecting is allowed), muzzled pig!!!


I will endeavor to have a pass for the group, but it would be nice if as many of you as possible could bring a park pass.  We will be using private vehicles.  During the evening class prior to the field trip, we will form car pools. 




The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.   Peninsula College is committed to providing accessibility to all students.  Any student with special needs must complete a self-identification form available in the counseling office.  This information will remain strictly confidential.