Welcome to the incredible, edible world of mushrooms.
From the mundane to the magical, mushrooms have a long and deep history with the people and the planet.
Pictured right is an amazing mushroom I found while foraging in my hometown, Fomes Fomentarius, commonly known as horse hoof fungus.
Did You Know?
The largest known organism in the world is actually a mushroom.
Armillaria Ostoyae, also known as the Humongus Fungus (clearly a dad came up with that nickname), measures 3.8 kilometers (2.4 miles in American) across and is located in Malheur National Forest in east Oregon. (1)
Mushrooms are actually composed of three main parts, along with some supporting cast members.
This is the part that you normally do not see. If you ever flip over a log and see white patches, that is often mycelium. Think of mycelium as you would the roots of a plant.
The spores are like the pollen of the mushroom world. They are released by the fruiting body. The spores then germinate and form mycelia. Then when two compatible mycelia find each other and grow together (the mushroom equivalent of marriage), they will sometimes grow a fruiting body, although not all mushrooms grow fruiting bodies.
The fruiting body
The fruiting body is what we commonly think of as mushrooms. This is the part that grows above ground. Think of it as the flower of the mushroom world.
Wood Contains a compound called lignin. Lignin is the favorite food of mushrooms. The mycelium uses lignin and smaller amounts of other compounds to use as food for its continued growth as well as the formation of the fruiting body.
Different types of wood contain different nutrients, which can lead to fruiting bodies with different types and amounts of beneficial compounds.
Growing mushrooms on rice or tapioca starch can never replicate the effects of growing mushrooms on wood.
In the same vein, growing a mushroom indoors on sterilized sawdust cannot yield the same results as mushrooms growing in the wild on a variety of different trees.
Pictured right is some Turkey Tail mushroom growing on a fallen log, from one of my recent nighttime foraging trips.
Many mushroom supplements that are sold actually contain no mushroom. They just grind up the mycelium and put it into a pill.
Products like this can often contain over 80% starch.
These products will not have any health benefits.
By law, a mushroom supplement must contain the fruiting body to be labeled a mushroom supplement.
Mycelium only supplements are not allowed to be labeled as mushroom supplements and should also not have pictures of mushroom fruiting bodies on the label.
The majority of mushroom supplement capsules on the market actually contain no mushroom.
Pictured right is a brick of mycelium, does that look like a mushroom to you?
In the mushroom center, all of these topics and more are explored deeply.
By separating the different topics, you can read about what interests you without having to wade through pages and pages just to get to the parts you care about.
I hope you will take a look around the center and see all of the amazing things that mushrooms have to offer.