Wild Mushrooms
Interesting Mushroom Tidbits
A few ways mushrooms and fungi are vitally important in nature and to us humans:

  • Without saprophytes we would drown in a sea of leaves, sticks and branches.
  • Mycorrhizal fungi not only are important to plants in nature, but horticulturists use them to encourage other plants to grow
  • Yeasts don’t develop mushrooms, but they do make bread rise, turn grapes into wine, and grain into beer.
  • Fungi make the "blue" in blue cheese.
  • Fungi create antibiotics and other drugs. One early strain of Penicillin was first isolated in the 1940s from a rotting cantaloupe!
  • Fungi, especially the rusts and smuts, spoil grain, fruit, and vegetable crops. Even after a successful harvest, fungi are responsible for a huge amount of spoilage.
  • Some beetles and wasps use fungi to soften wood that their larvae eat. Leafcutter ants chew up leaves that then grow a certain type of fungus. Then the ants eat the fungus.

When And Where Do I Find Wild Mushrooms?
If it's too dry it doesn't matter what time of year it is, mushrooms won't grow. A few days after a good, soaking rain is the best time to look for them. Depending on the mushroom, you might find mushrooms almost year round in some parts of North America, but typically you'll find them between early spring and late autumn anywhere in nature where it's fairly shady and damp.

Before You Forage
Some ways you can expand your mushroom knowledge and learn about mushroom hunting:

  • Attend mushroom workshops.
  • Check with your Chamber of Commerce to find out if they conduct any mushroom- related events.
  • Join a mushroom club.
  • Hook up with Wilderness Survival experts on forums and social media to learn about upcoming mushroom hunting events.
  • Look for mushroom foraging Meet-ups near you.
  • Read about mushrooms

Helpful Links
At Mycoweb.com you will find a list of North American amateur mushroom clubs. Check out the North American Mycological Association's website to learn about clubs and mycological events. Msafungi.org is the Mycological Society of America's website, where you can sign up for newsletters and join the professionals!

Mushrooms Are Healthy Food!
Did you know that many edible mushrooms such as Shiitake have a long history of medicinal uses in other countries and studies are now confirming that they have important salutary effects on health or even in treating disease? 

It is estimated that approximately 50% of the annual 5 million metric tons of cultivated edible mushrooms contain functional "nutraceutical" or medicinal properties. In order of decreasing cultivated tonnage: Lentinus (Shiitake), Pleurotus (Oyster), Auricularia (Mu-er), Flammulina (Enokitake), Tremella (Yin-er), Hericium, and Grifola (Maitake) Mushrooms have various degrees of immunomodulatory, lipid-lowering, antitumor, and other beneficial or therapeutic health effects without any significant toxicity! Visit the "Medicinal Mushrooms" page to learn more.

Credit for content:
Missouri Department of Conservation
US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet
Australian National Botanical Gardens
Copyright 2017-18      Survivallandusa.com
See Also:
See Also:
Featured Video -
6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save The World
"There are old mushroom hunters, and bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters."
Growth Of Mycelium - Spore With Germ Tube And Proceeding Hyphae Growth
Oyster Mushroom Mycelium
Mushroom Parts Identification Diagram
The Soft, Spongy Decay Of Conifer Stump By The Mycelium Of The Fungus "Armillaria" 
There are about 10,000 kinds of wild mushrooms in North America, and they have an astonishing array of shapes, sizes and colors. Mushrooms are neither plants nor animals. They constitute their own kingdom known as "Fungi". Fungi include all the familiar mushroom-forming species, as well as yeasts, molds, smuts and rusts. Mushrooms are a lot like plants, but unlike plants they don't have chlorophyll so they take nutrients from the materials they're in contact with.

You have to act fast if you want to enjoy eating wild mushrooms. Once they’ve shed their spores, most of them deteriorate pretty quickly.

We usually only see actual "fruit" of the Fungi kingdom(the mushrooms), because most of the action takes place underground or beneath the bark of dead or living trees. Before developing a mushroom, the fungus lives hidden as a mycelium. Mycelium is a mat-like network of white filaments that resembles a spider web, but it's made up of microscopic hyphae that grow gradually within a patch of soil or in wood. If you've ever kicked an old rotten stump and knocked off the bark, you might have seen mycelium. Many times the individual hyphae in a mycelium are no more than a 100th of a millimeter in diameter.

The hyphal growth begins from a single, minute mushroom spore (see diagram at right). Then a "germ tube" extends out from the spore, and additional "branches" grow forming a circular pattern. 

Under the right conditions, mycelium develops a fruiting structure, a mushroom, which emerges from the ground or the tree. Instead of seeds, mushrooms produce tiny spores, which when released look much like smoke. When spores land in a suitable place, they germinate and the process begins again. Individual mycelium patches beneath the surface can grow to inhabit acres of land!

"Is this the largest organism in the world? This 2,400-acre (9.7 km2) site in eastern Oregon had a contiguous growth of mycelium before logging roads cut through it. Estimated at 1,665 football fields in size and 2,200 years old, this one fungus has killed the forest above it several times over, and in so doing has built deeper soil layers that allow the growth of ever-larger stands of trees. Mushroom-forming forest fungi are unique in that their mycelial mats can achieve such massive proportions."
~Paul Stamets, Mycelium Running

Types Of Mushrooms
Saprophytes or saprobic fungi are the housekeepers of the fungi kingdom. They digest nutrients from dead organic material, such as leaves on the forest floor and dead trees.

Parasitic fungus are the vampires of the fungi kingdom. They digest materials from living tissues. If you see mushrooms growing on a live tree, the mycelium of those mushrooms have been at work inside the tree for a while. Parasitic fungi are rather creepy in that some invade insects and other living creatures too!

Mycorrhizal fungi are a third group. They're friendly fungi. Underground, their mycelium mingle with other plant's roots, forming a mutually beneficial or symbiotic relationship with those plants. They help the plants to absorb water and minerals, and in return the plants provide nutrients to the fungus. Many trees and other plants cannot exist without these fungal partners.