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The Pine Mushroom Could Become Washington's Official Fungus


Some of the bills a legislative body like the Washington legislature considers each year are serious and important. Many are mundane; simple fixes to existing law. And some are light-hearted. One bill this year seeks to crown the Sasquatch as the state’s official cryptid. That’s an animal whose existence is disputed.

Washington has several official state symbols. Now, students at Evergreen State College are requesting another state symbol designation. They believe trichonoma murillianum — the pine mushroom — should be Washington’s official fungus.
Their legislative champion is Rep. Laurie Dolan (D-Olympia).

“As you know this was a civics lesson more than anything else," Dolan said. "The students from Evergreen brought this bill forward. They picked the pine mushroom because it’s important for trade, tourism. It’s important for our forests. Our Japanese community, our Asian Pacific community, covet the pine mushroom.”

She ran into some resistance from Rep. Morgan Irwin (R-Enumclaw), who offered a friendly amendment. He said his party leaders claim the morel high ground.

“It especially grows in areas after burns and shows the resilience of Washington state to rise from the ashes like a Phoenix,” Irwin said.

Dolan followed with a good-hearted retort.

“As much as I think my good friend from the 31st is one of the most morel people I know and a fun guy to boot, I would ask you to vote no on this. Thank you," Dolan said.

After a late plea for the chanterelle, the committee approved the bill to anoint the pine mushroom. There are still a few hurdles to go before it can claim its place as an state symbol, alongside other such illustrious official symbols as the coast rhododendron, the steelhead trout and petrified wood.