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Registered: 07/26/04
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Fungus Festival promises to be magical [AK]
    #8806803 - 08/21/08 07:19 PM (9 years, 6 months ago)

Fungus Festival promises to be magical
August 21, 2008 - CordovaTimes.com

Cordova Fungus Pluckers will be hosting its second-annual Fungus Festival from Aug. 28 to 30 with several different workshops on how to identify mushrooms, techniques on coloring yarn and fabric using fungus and lichens.

Participants will learn how to photograph those tiny illusive gems and even have a chance to join in guided collecting forays into the forest to learn where to find the edible varieties. 

There will also be a cooking class using self-collected wild mushrooms and a workshop for inoculating your own small tree stump with a species of gourmet mushroom that you grow in a flowerpot in your own living room. The highlight of the weekend will be a five-course gourmet mushroom dinner at the Reluctant Fisherman Inn on Aug. 30. 

The number of tickets and space for the workshops is limited, so call soon to reserve your space for the biggest, coolest event in Cordova this year.

Tickets for the dinner and reservations to attend the various workshops can be found at the Cordova Chamber of Commerce and on their Web site at www.cordova

Fungus among us
What can be found above ground but also below ground; can be smaller than a hair in size, but can also be as big as several acres across? Let me give you a few more hints. These mysterious objects can range in color from a drab brown to green and from bright orange or yellow to a fiery red. 

They are sometimes dry to the touch or wet and even slimy, they can be found growing on the floor of your car or attached to the side of a tree stump in the forest. Some types can be delicious to eat while others can make you very ill.

If you haven’t guessed what I’m talking about yet, I’ve been describing different types of fungus.  This part of Alaska has dozens of species of fungus growing in all types of places because of our cool, damp climate and our mild winters and summers. 

Perhaps you’ve seen some of the more strangely colored or peculiar shaped fungi that can be found deep in the woods as well as growing inside your car or even your house. I’ve had a tiny forest of 1-inch long spindly mushrooms growing on the seat back of my car. It looked like a miniature forest of trees climbing a steep mountain slope. 

There are about 100,000 species of fungus found worldwide with about 38,000 of them being mushrooms. Of those discovered so far, nearly 700 species are consumed by humans for food or medicine. Only 50 or so species are known to be poisonous. 

Fungus is a critical step in the process as a decomposer for breaking down dead matter like plants and animals.  Since about one-fourth of the Earth’s entire biomass is made up of fungus, the world as we know it could not exist without fungus to break down the world’s waste in the forest and oceans for reuse by living plants and animals.

1,500 pounds from a spore
Researchers recently found an armillaria bulbosa mycelium beneath the soil in Michigan that is 35 acres across, 1,500 years old and weighs in excess of a hundred tons. This monster was genetically proven to have spawned from one single spore. Most people wrinkle their noses and grab a paper towel to remove those multi colored sometimes-hairy growths that can be found growing in the corners of their kitchen windows, in the bottom of their refrigerator or on the floor of their dark and damp bedroom closet.

Although some species of fungus are bad for you because they are toxic when eaten or cause other health problems if inhaled, most species are harmless to humans and in some cases a delicacy served at the finest restaurants!

Most people are familiar with the little white-capped mushrooms available in the grocery store called agaricus bisporus. Some larger grocery stores or specialty markets might have many varieties to choose from.  The Chinese have been eating and using mushrooms for medicinal purposes for millennia.

The “iceman” mummy discovered several years ago buried in the ice high in the Alps carried piptoporus betulinus in his medicine bag. This is a medicinal polypore mushroom that has antibiotic properties and is also used in treating intestinal parasites. Researchers believe the iceman lived about 3,500 years ago.

If you enjoy getting outdoors to hike and explore, and you like to harvest your own foods like berries and herbs, you might consider going on a mushroom foray. Although collecting is fun and often rewarded with edible varieties of mushrooms, novice collectors need to use caution when collecting because some species of mushrooms can be mildly toxic or even poisonous. 

The best way to collect edible mushrooms is to go with experienced ’shroomers, as they are called or bring back your specimens and have them identified by someone knowledgeable about the mushrooms in for the local area.

(On the web: Cordova Fungus Festival)

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Registered: 07/15/08
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Re: Fungus Festival promises to be magical [AK] [Re: veggie]
    #8812434 - 08/22/08 07:57 PM (9 years, 6 months ago)


CordovaTimes.com said:
Researchers recently found an armillaria bulbosa mycelium beneath the soil in Michigan that is 35 acres across, 1,500 years old and weighs in excess of a hundred tons. This monster was genetically proven to have spawned from one single spore.

One single spore, my ass.  It'd be a haploid organism and pretty much useless. The haploid hyphae has to meet with and fuse to another haploid hyphae in order to fruit.

Genetically identical from end-to-end?  Sure.  Germinated from a single spore?  BS!

Please contribute to the mycology wiki:

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