Saturday, 27 August 2011
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It's somewhat unexpected to notice that fresh mushrooms are fruiting or reproductive bodies made by certain species of fungi. A genuine mushroom seems like an umbrella with a thick stalk topped with a cup shaped or flat cap. Under the cap, the spores are produced in cells called as basidia. Therefore, those fungi whose spores are made by the basidia cells are known as basidiomycetes. There are many tiny spores present in the gills or pores under the cap of the mushroom. They are dispersed with the help of wind or animals who feed on them. These tiny spores then land on a favorable substrate and germinate. Tiny mycelium (roots) penetrate their source of food like soil or wood and forms a mushroom.
There are over 10,000 different types of mushrooms found all around the world. A few are edible, some are used for medicinal purposes and few are poisonous mushrooms. Let us have a look at the different types of mushrooms and understand more about their specific characteristics.
The different kinds of fresh mushrooms are separated into 4 groups scientifically. These groups are divided according to the mode of feeding of the mushroom. Let us have a look at the various sorts of mushrooms with various feeding system.
Mycorrhizae are fresh mushrooms that have a symbiotic relationship with trees and plants. They grow by weaving their root cells (endomycorrhizal) with the plant roots. Few wrap themselves around the roots of the plants. The mushroom mycelia help carry the primary nutrients like phosphorus and moisture to the host root. In return, the mycorrhizae has the capacity to tap the glucose created by the host plant. Thus, the two mycorrhizae and the plant have the ability to grow faster, bigger and healthier.
The saprotrophic mushrooms are a real help to the environment. They are decomposers who release enzymes to break down the dead tissues of plants and animals. These smaller molecules are then absorbed by the saprotrophic mushroom. They help in recycling organic matter and helps in increasing the fertility of the soil.
Parasitic mushrooms are a complete opposite of mycorrhizae mushroom. These parasitic mushrooms infect the host plant or tree and feeds on all the nutrients of the host. They finally cause death of the host plant or tree as they do not get the nutrients to survive. Some parasitic mushrooms will continue to feed on the dead tissues of the host plant just like a saprophyte mushroom.
The endophytic mushrooms invade host tissue just like a parasitic mushroom. However, instead of killing the plant, it behaves like a mycorrhizal fungi. It helps in increasing the absorption and resistance to pathogens in the host plant. It is different from the mycorrhizal fungi because it can be cultivated in a lab without a host.
Types of Wild Mushrooms
There are over 5000 types of wild mushrooms that grow in the wild roadsides, gardens, woodchips, etc. Many of the edible and poisonous types of wild mushrooms look alike and for a novice it is very difficult to place them apart. The following are some of the edible types of wild mushrooms found in Unites States. You can read more on wild edible mushrooms.
One of the most easy to identify and also the most delicious to taste are the true morel mushrooms. These mushrooms appear in spring after the first spring flowers make an appearance. They are covered with definitive pits and ridges. The bottom edge of their cap is directly attached to the stem. The morel is about 2" to 12" tall in size.
Hericium erinaceus or bearded tooth looks like white fur hanging on it. It can be about a foot width and totally white in color. It grows on dark logs that makes it very easy to spot. You can spot it in the wild in summer and fall season on trees, logs or stumps. But, keep in mind only the young and pure white specimens should be eaten. The yellow ones are sour in taste.
The Cantharellaceae or chanterelles are funnel shaped mushrooms with wavy cap edges. They are bright orange or yellow in color. However, one species called the black trumpet is brownish black in color. They have a fruity fragrance when fresh. They are found in the wild during summer and fall. They grow on the ground in hardwood forests mostly scattered around in groups.
Hen of the Woods
It is grayish brown in color and fan shaped. The caps overlap each other and have white stalks that branch out from a single thick base. One single hen of the wood stock grows up to 100 pounds in weight. Every year, it will grow in the same spot. It is found in summer and fall at the base of the tree or stumps.
Types of Edible Mushrooms
There are a number of cultivated types of edible mushrooms that are sold in the markets. Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are many more types of edible mushrooms that are cultivated specifically to be used as an ingredient for a variety of recipes. Let us have a look at some of the different types of edible mushrooms. You can read more on how to grow mushrooms.
The cremini mushrooms are cut prematurely or when they are at the most tender point of their lifecycle. These are portobello mushrooms that are used in many different recipes. They have a full bodied flavor that makes them so popular.
These truffle mushrooms grow underground and are very difficult to find. One needs to specially train female hogs or truffle dogs to locate these mushrooms. The uncooked truffles need to be eaten as soon as possible after harvesting them. These mushrooms tend to lose their intense flavor as it ages.
The white mushroom has a compact cap and can be grown in your own backyard with a kit. The kit can last for 3 months. They do not have a very unique flavor and are mild in taste. Thus, they can be used in any dish like meat, salads, soups, pastas or cook them on their own with a bit of onions and garlic.
The enoki mushroom is small and round with a long stalk. They are used in stir fry recipes and soups due to their fruity flavor and crunchy texture.
Types of Magic Mushrooms
The miracle fresh mushrooms are also called as psilocybin mushrooms. These are fungi that contain psilocybin and psilocin. These two compounds are psychoactive in nature. These mushrooms are placed in the genus Psilocybe that contains about 190 species of magic mushrooms. These mushrooms do not lead to addiction and may create short term tolerance levels in users. It causes increase in heart rate, feelings of well begin, feeling of freedom. It also causes pupil dilation loss of appetite and muscle relaxation. The different types of magic mushrooms are enlisted below:
It was some good info related to mushroom sorts. It is vital that you identify a mushroom carefully, before ingesting it. Sometimes, a poisonous mushroom may cause symptoms of poisoning after hours or may be days of ingesting it. If you find a wild mushroom and are not able to determine whether it is edible or poisonous, it is best to throw it away. Hope the above information on types of mushrooms has helped you understand much more about these fungi.
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