There is so much to learn about mushrooms. Fungi, (mushrooms are the fruiting body of fungi) is a huge kingdom that we are constantly learning more and more about. Below is some easily digestible fun mushroom information facts.
Mushroom information fact 1: Fungi is its own kingdom, with three distinct characteristics. They are heterotrophic, their mode of digestion is absorption, and their cell walls contain chitin.
Mushroom information fact 2: Fungi play different ecological roles in the ecosystems. Mycorrhizal, saprophytic, and parasitic.
- Mycorrhizal fungi create a symbiotic relationship with plant roots. About 85% of plants have these relationships. Amazingly about 200 species of mushrooms create mycorrhizal associations with over 200,000 species of plants.
- Saprophytic fungi consume dead stuff. Saprophytes are why we don’t get buried in dead material, they unlock nutrients for new plant and animal growth. Saprophytic fungi are the mushrooms that most people grow.
- Parasitic fungi attack living organisms and feed of of them. Parasitic fungi may help to keep ecosystems in balance. There are many cool parasitic fungi like the humongous fungus in Oregon and the Cordyceps mushroom.
Mushroom information fact 3: The fungal kingdom has an estimated 2-8 million species! Of these about 150,000 are expected to fruit mushrooms and of those only 18,000 have been identified by people! WOOO! If you want to get into naming new species mycology is the field for you. researchers discovered this mushroom in 2011 and named Spongiforma squarepantsii.
Mushroom information fact 4: Agaricus bisporus is the most cultivated mushroom in the world. The button mushroom, portobello, and crimini are all this same species. This mushroom is one of the few cultivated mushrooms that can be grown in the dark and on manure. Magic mushrooms share this fact with the common button mushroom.
Mushroom information fact 5: The mushroom spends most of its life as a mycelial network. The mushroom is simply the fruiting body, most of the “action” eating and digesting food happens in the mycelial network.
Mushroom information fact 6: Mushrooms are a great source of protein and amino acids. They have very low fat content
Mushroom information fact 7: Mycelium can grow and expand extremely quickly. From one small piece of tissue of mycelium you can grow over 20,000 pounds of mycelium in 3 months! It would be like if humans could cut off their pinky and then make 4,000 copies of themselves in 3 months! Talk about over-population.
Mushroom information fact 8: If the mycelium from a single step on the average forest was placed in a straight line I could walk from Massachusetts to New York city and back.
Along with these basic mushroom information facts there is TONS to learn about mushroom cultivation. Many people are also curious to read more mushroom information about magic mushrooms. Lets go over both of these topics:
Mushroom Information: Magic Mushrooms
Magic mushrooms are traditionally used in Mexico and other places around the world. In the 1950’s several different westerners including Gordon Wasson went down to Mexico to partake in the magic mushroom ceremonies. These were conducted by specific healers who had studied and worked with these mushrooms. In the late 50’s life magazine published a front page article about the experiences with this mushroom. This inspired people to go down to Mexico to likewise experience these mushrooms and inspired people to start cultivation. After thousands of experiments using magic mushrooms in western psychology, they were placed as a schedule 1 illegal drug. Use of this mushrooms has stayed relatively constant from the 70’s through now. Micro dosing is a new form of working with magic mushrooms. Just this month, June 2019, Oakland became the second city after Denver to decriminalize the possession and sale of magic mushrooms.
Mushroom Information: Cultivation
Growing mushrooms is such a fun mysterious process to go through. It can be great to do with all ages. There are many different ways to cultivate mushrooms some much easier than others. Growing mushrooms out of a grow kit is extremely easy and you can pick from a variety of species to grow from. Growing mushrooms out of logs is a great thing to do in your backyard. One of the biggest benefits of growing mushrooms is you can use materials and spaces that are underutilized. You can also grow mushrooms out of wood chips in the shade. With all these methods of cultivation it is important to first grow healthy mycelium and then provide the proper environment for the mushrooms to fruit. Mushrooms love humidity and cooler temperatures. Most ideally fruit at 85% humidity and temperatures hovering around 65 degrees F.
Want more mushroom information? Well we have these awesome guidebooks on growing shiitake oyster and cordyceps mushroom. We also have a bunch of online classes you can check out to learn more about growing mushrooms. Feed the Fungi! Go out and look at them, be curious, and have fun working with mushrooms.
Fungi Ally T Shirts
Get these 100% cotton screen printed T shirts. They are brown with the Fungi Ally logo on the front.
Approximate weight 1 pound
Mushroom Postcards (Set of Five)
Take a gander at these 5x7 mushroom postcards by local artist Martin Bridge! These come in a set of five, and include the species Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), Reishi (Ganoderma lingzhi), and Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor).
Artist’s Website: www.thebridgebrothers.com