Our woodlot property would be a mushroom enthusiast’s dream come true, and thanks to primo October weather conditions, they are still sprouting.
Mushrooms come in different shapes and sizes, colours and textures. They are fascinating and beautiful and sometimes deadly. So I do not encourage foraging for wild mushrooms unless you’re a pro.
I was always curious how mushrooms survived and thrived in such harsh environments so it was interesting to learn a few things. Mushrooms lack chlorophyll therefore, unlike plants, they cannot synthesize their own food using the sun’s energy. Instead, they have developed unique ways of living, as detailed below, which is exactly what we see happening here on our property:
Symbiosis: Most mushrooms that grow on the forest floor are intimately linked to trees by symbiosis. Basically, both organisms benefit as they feed off each other; the mushroom helps the tree extract minerals and water from the soil, while the tree supplies the mushroom with sugar, i.e. food.
Saprophytic is another method of co-existence, and this is when a mushroom’s role is one of decomposition and typically grows on lawns, rotting wood and/or excrement. The mushroom feeds itself by digesting the organic matter while at the same time feeding the soil with nutrients.
Parasitism: That's right, some mushrooms are parasites, ranging from species which will attack a healthy tree, plant or insect and live on it without doing any harm, to the ones that will only attack unhealthy hosts, and thereby contributing to it's ultimate demise.
I was about to purchase a Mushroom ID App to familiarize myself with what grows around here, but I don’t even like mushrooms. Never have, doubt I ever will. Anyhow, app or no app, the only shroom I would ever be comfortable identifying with absolute certainty is the giant puffball mushroom. Kind of hard to get this one wrong:
Definitely a favourite around here, neighbours were hoping to score this beauty, but my partner, unlike me, loves mushrooms so he’ll fry these up in butter and garlic. Apparently, they’re yummy. I digress.
One mushroom I was curious about and googled images on line was the Psilocybin Mushroom, aka, magic mushroom. And my oh my! I won’t point out which pic it is but apparently this is a breeding ground for them…