As Autumn grips the region, rustic hues appear across our beloved landscape and preparations are made for the Winter months ahead. Naturally drawn to giving thanks for a bountiful harvest, we re-joyce to reside in such a rich, fertile land, where nature and agriculture exist in symbiotic harmony.
Combing the elements has always been mother nature’s forte, her plentiful basket is brimming with nutritious fruit and vegetables, a foragers harvest ripe for the picking. Hunter gathers amongst us are well aware of the abundance of fruit and berries that appear as if my magic, adding deep splashes of colour to our green and pleasant land.
As we gather our livestock and crops in an attempt to protect them from the approaching cold winds and frozen rain, nature has yet another offering that is largely misunderstood. Beneath our feet there is a stirring , a movement of earth as life breaks the crust of rain softened ground.
Life re-emerges overnight following a dormancy like no other, this ability is awarded the humble mushroom alone as autumn takes it’s hold on the changing countryside. A rich food source for wildlife and those who foray, in a challenge to be the first to discover this early morning, below ground fruiting delicacy. Many fungi exist on a massive network that weaves a web under our feet, relying on the perfect weather conditions to fruit and break surface.
Wary of such a diverse food source is a wise caution we have all been provided, deadly poisons and toxins wrapped in a harmless looking fungi can kill, that is where the mushroom professionals are ahead of their game and can offer us an insight into the largely undiscovered world of Mycology.
Worldwide over four million species of fungi exist, three thousand of which occur throughout the British Isles, of which 48 provide fruiting bodies that are deemed edible or safe to eat and somewhat nutritious. Micro-climates exist all over the world to sustain our underground fungus kingdom that of late is more closely related to animals rather than plants. In fact such a diverse classification afford the fungi it’s own kingdom, often hidden out of sight, yet essential to life itself.
Consider the humble mushroom as a recycling factory, in tune with it’s environment, working to purify it’s surroundings whilst creating a relationship with it’s host. Rooting wood can be attributed to provided many mushrooms a home, as the matter decay’s the fungi grows either directly on it’s host or the result of debris enriching the soil.
Study of fungi, mushrooms and all it’s genus is vast, with new species discovered regularly, specialists spend their lives researching and applying the art of mycology to their surroundings, often traveling the test out their skills on varying habitats and climates.
Mushroom’s can offer an insight to a undiscovered world, for some an interest that can grow in to an appreciation of the environment and it’s ecological development. If your interested in learning more about mushrooms and unsure where to begin, then research an introduction to the World of Mushrooms near you.
Stephen is a mycology fanatic and mushroom expert, with 30 years horticultural plantsman-ship, and invites you to share in his passion for fungi during an autumn foray near you.