You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Exploring the magical world of mushrooms


Mushroom hunters have been swarming lately through the woodlands across southwest Ohio. They are in quest of morels, the elusive edible mushrooms that pop up for just a few weeks during the spring.

There are hundreds of different kinds of mushrooms that grow in Ohio and throughout the midwest. Most of them are not edible but they are certainly fascinating to look at. If you are interested in finding out more about them there’s an excellent new illustrated guide available called “Mushrooms of the Midwest.”

It was written by Michael Kuo, the man behind the website MushroomExpert.com. He’s also the author of another book, “100 Edible Mushrooms and Morels.” His co-author Andrew S. Methven is a mycologist, an authority on mushrooms. This is the second book they have written together. The previous one was “100 Cool Mushrooms.”

This large format book has color photos and descriptions of 557 different types of mushrooms that grow here in the midwest. The authors note however that even with this guide “that mushroom identification can be difficult, very technical, and sometimes impossible.”

The unidentifiable mushroom you could discover may actually be unknown to science. The authors note that if that is the case “it may be even more important to collect, document and preserve it.” This guide explains how to go about doing that.

Perhaps you are wondering how some varieties could still be unknown?

The authors explain that “this is a hard nut to swallow for those who have used field guides to identify trees or birds for example, and expect the mushroom world to be equally easy to penetrate. One doesn’t need a microscope to identify a North American tree, and plenty of field guides can be found that include more or less all the tree species native to the continent.”

This could become a thrilling challenge-when it comes to mushrooms we are still finding new varieties because nobody actually “knows how many mushroom species there are on the continent.” On the front cover of the book there’s a photo of those familiar, delectable morels. Inside the book you’ll find many fungi that are totally unfamiliar.

I have a friend who helps me positively identify edible mushrooms found in my yard. He showed me some Coprinus Comatus, nicknamed “shaggy manes.” They are delicious if you can find them in the button stage. He also found some Laetiporus Sulphureus.” These grow during the summer in large clusters upon oak trees. When young and fresh they can be savory if cooked thoroughly. They are often called the “chicken of the woods.”

Mushrooms feed the vibrant life cycles within our forests. The guide cites this example: “this fungus is one of the most prevalent and important decomposers in coniferous forests, producing brown rot residues that are essential to soils.”

“Mushrooms of the Midwest” piqued this reviewer’s interest in mycology.

The next time we’re hiking through the woods I’ll bring along this guide so I can try to identify the fungi we encounter. Who knows, we might discover a previously unknown variety? Let’s see, perhaps they will name it Amanita Mickuni? It will probably be poisonous but I do like the sound of it.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Springfield Entertainment

Finns pay tribute to rock band Kiss
Finns pay tribute to rock band Kiss

Heavy metal fans in Finland decided to rock ’n’ roll all night and honor the band Kiss. >> Read more trending news Fans placed masks on four giant statues in the capital city of Helsinki to honor the hard-rock group, Yahoo reported. State-owned railway operator VR invited four fans of the band to paint black-and-white Kiss masks...
Young ballet dancers meet idol Misty Copeland
Young ballet dancers meet idol Misty Copeland

A group of young ballerinas from a Chicago dance troupe received a thrill of a lifetime when they appeared on Steve Harvey’s talk show Friday, the Huffington Post reported. >> Read more trending news The ballerinas from the Mayfair Performance Company on Chicago’s south side were surprised and delighted when Harvey introduced...
Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, Ciara welcome baby girl
Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, Ciara welcome baby girl

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, pop singer Ciara, welcomed their daughter, Sienna Princess Wilson, who was born Friday night, ESPN reported. >> Read more trending news Sienna weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces, according to Ciara’s Instagram post. It's the couple's first child together, CNN reported. They...
This ‘Hunger Games’ exhibit is SO worth the drive
This ‘Hunger Games’ exhibit is SO worth the drive

If you were looking for an excuse for a mini-getaway that’s less than 3 hours away, your moment has come. “Hunger Games: The Exhibition” is on display now at The Frazier History Museum in Louisville, Kentucky through September 10, 2017. Louisville is about 2.5 hours from Dayton’s center, so it can easily be a day or weekend...
Comedian Bill Cosby reveals he is totally blind
Comedian Bill Cosby reveals he is totally blind

Comedian Bill Cosby said he is completely blind, USA Today reported. >> Read more trending news In his first interview in two years, Cosby told the National Newspaper Publishers Association news service that he woke up one morning two years ago and told his wife, Camille, “I can't see.” Cosby was later told by doctors that...
More Stories