Classification of mushrooms

Posted by on Mar 17, 2017 in forager, forest, information, mushrooms, nature | No Comments

 

My fascination with mushrooms did not just pop out like mushrooms. It kinda grew on me. I was just taken along by the one who owns this website in the forest to forage. I didn’t even eat what we gathered at first. I waited until the next day after the first batch of mushroom pasta was eaten and digested. I am a skeptic that’s why and I knew I had to take control by at least knowing the basics of edible and inedible mushrooms. I am now confident on which ones to pick but of course, when skepticism strikes…I still don’t risk it.

Ever wonder where they get their food? Unlike plants, fungi do not have chlorophyll and they do not benefit from the sun to make their food. I have always assumed that mushrooms are plants as they grow from the ground or at least most of them. In characteristic, they are more like animals as they are heterotrophic and use enzymatic digestion to produce its food. If you’re visual enough, imagine your dog digesting a piece of meat in its stomach; that is how mushrooms digest its food by releasing enzymes outside of their bodies to decompose their food. A piece of log, leaves or even a dead animal and also I am not really sure of this but even a piece of plastic (?) can be broken down by fungi and turn it into absorbable substance.

Mushrooms can be divided into three groups according to where they get their food:  Saprotrophs, parasites and mycorrhizae.

 

SAPROTROPHS

Saprotrophic mushrooms use dead organic materials like decaying leaves in the forest, feeding directly on a dead tree or a pile of dung. These type of mushrooms have a very important role in our environment…recycling. They decompose complex organic materials into simpler more basic elements to be reused later by other organisms.

Examples for this type:

Ink mushroom,  Puffballs, amanita muscaria (fly agaric) (the shaman mushroom) Champignon (white button ), Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushrooms), Shiitake and oyster (cholesterol reducing).

 

 

amanita regalis
Amanita regalis/royal fly agaric

 

puffball
Puffballs

 

Ink-mushroom
Inkcap/Coprinus comatus

 

 

PARASITES

Parasites feeds on other living organisms, both plants or animals for its nourishment. It is a selfish one-sided relationship which in most cases, the weakened host eventually dies. After the host is totally consumed, the fungi continues to grow and becomes saprotrophic in nature converting decays into nutrients.

Saw a video of an ant that became totally disoriented because of cordycep fungus. Ant workers led the affected ant away from the colony to prevent further spread of the invasion. The ant died eventually and the fungi literally grew out of its head. Here is the site if you want to see for yourself.

 

Examples for this type:

 

Honey mushrooms, Polypores, Cordyceps and Chaga which is a black mass on the side of a birch tree (medicinal mushroom).

Armillaria sp.
Armillaria

 

Honey mushrooms
Honey mushrooms

 

Bracket polypores
Bracket polypores

 

 

MYCHORRHIZAE

These type of mushrooms have the best type of relationship (symbiotic) with its benefactor. The trees/plants give nutrients (carbs for photosynthesis) to the fungi while the fungi helps in bettering the water and nutrient intake of the host. This is hard to do in labs that is why most of these mushrooms are wild and will only be found in nature.

Examples for this type:

 

 

Porcini
Porcini…my favorite!

 

Lactorius torminosus
Woolly Milkcap

 

Cantharellus cibarius
Cantharellus cibarius/Chantarelles

 

Porcini, Truffle, Chantarelles, Matsutake and Wooly Milkcap.

 

That’s it. My first blog. Glad to have finally put it out there and hopefully someone finds this helpful.

 

 

 

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