Washington

Does Washington need a state fungi? These college kids think so

Wild mushrooms were on display at Bloedel Donovan Park in Bellingham as part of the 21st annual Wild Mushroom Show in 2014.
Wild mushrooms were on display at Bloedel Donovan Park in Bellingham as part of the 21st annual Wild Mushroom Show in 2014. The Bellingham Herald file

Like mushrooms sprouting in the forest after a rainstorm, the effort to name an official state fungi popped up again Wednesday, generating a new round of bad puns.

The Evergreen State College students association wants the Legislature to name the pine mushroom, also known as Tricholoma murrillianum, as the official state fungi, in recognition of its cultural significance to Washington’s Asian American population and contributions to forest health. It’s also known as matsutake and is prized for its spicy aroma and distinctive flavor.

“The state of Washington does not have an official state fungi,” Rep. Laurie Dolan, D-Olympia, told the State Government, Elections and Information Technology Committee Wednesday. “We have an official everything else.”

She said the bill is about both fun, and fungi.

A similar bill passed the committee last year, but never got a vote in the full House. Rep. Morgan Irwin, R-Enumclaw, asked if there would be a “cap” on mushroom puns, but followed it quickly by asking if the bill has the support of the morel majority.

A committee vote on the bill, and possibly more puns, is expected in the coming days.

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