Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Fungi-World in Autumn

In a Forest at Løvenholm manor, Djursland.

After some rain there were many mushrooms in the September-forest. The forest at Løvenholm manor on Djursland is usually a good place to find a good variation of mushrooms.

The first collection of my mushroom-photos is from Løvenholm, the second from a heath at Vrads Sande and the third from a forest close to Silkeborg. 


The autumn is high season of fungi in the woods, both the edible and the poisonous. There are many guided tours with experts who'll guide people to find the good edible mushrooms and to avoid the dangerous ones.

Many groups are out in the forest with baskets, gathering mushrooms for their dinner and many love to go fungi-hunting in the autum, where numbers of toadstools after a heavy rain suddenly tell people that now has autumn arrived.

The fungi are so deviant from plants and animals that the overall collective term flora and fauna  had to be expanded by a third unit which only includes the fungi.  Until the middle of the 1900s the fungi were considered to be plants, but however the scientists acknowledged that the fungi were so deviating from other organisms that they should have their own group. There are supposedly about 1.5 million fungi worldwide. In Denmark are over 6000 species.

 Many years' research has shown that fungi in fact er more closely related to animals than to plants. The research has also proved that fungi have an important  role in the decomposition of organic substances in the soil.

2) At a heath at Vrads Sande, Mid Jutland

Vrads Sande, in  Mid Jutland.

Edible fungi have been known by humans for thousands of years, fx in China. In the old Rome people also knew about both edible and poisonous mushrooms, and they believed they were outgrowths from the moist soil. Not until 1710 the Italian Pier Antonio Micheli discovered that fungi reproduces by fungal spores - and he described several species. But it was the Dutchman Christian Hendrik Persoon (1761-1836) and the Swede Elias Fries (1794- 1878), who are considered the founders of mycology.

Fungi are able to create very complicated organic connections  Several fungi create substances, which when eaten can attack the human organs, fx kidneys and liver, this often causes death.The most common cause of fungi-poisoning in Denmark is the substance Alfa- amanitin which among others are found in the Amanita virosa (Danish Hvid Fluesvamp), European Destroying Angel. Immature specimens of A. virosa resemble several edible species commonly consumed by humans, increasing the risc of accidental poisoning.

Amanita phalloides (Danish: Grøn Fluesvamp),  commonly known as the Death Cap, which resembles several edible species , commonly consumed by humans, increasing the risk of accidental poisoning

Other poisonous substances are Orellanin and Gyromityrin, and finally the substance Muscarin, which acts as a neurotoxin on the heart.

 3) In a Forest close to Silkeborg
The forest

Some fungi have a hallucinating effect without being directly poisonous. Psilocybin-fungi grows all  over the world and were known long before our time. Already in 500-1000 BC humans have been drawing mushrooms upon stones in religious connections. In many countries the mushrooms were an important part of religious ceremonies and rituals. The fungi had a divine status in such cases - and in Mexico people believed in a god called Piltzintecuhtli,who was the god of all hallucinogenes, especially of the sacred mushroom.

The use of psilocybin-fungi has been done ever since, although it is illegal in many countries today. It has been illegal in Denmark since 2001 because of the risc of bad trips and poisoning. 

As it is difficult to accurately identify a safe mushroom without proper training and knowledge, it is often advised to assume that a wild mushroom is poisonous and not to consume it.


Fairy Rings
 Danish: Heksering:  A fairy ring, also known as fairy circle, elf circle, elf ring or pixie ring, is a naturally occurring ring or arc of mushrooms. Fairy rings are the subject of much folklore and myth worldwide—particularly in Western Europe While they are often seen as hazardous or dangerous places, they can sometimes be linked with good fortune.

One of the largest rings ever found is near Belfort in France. Formed by Infundibulicybe geotropa, it is thought to be about 600 metres (2,000 ft) in diameter and over 700 years old. On the South Downs in southern England, Calocyve gambosa has formed huge fairy rings that also appear to be several hundred years old.

I have not added any names of the mushrooms in my photos. I do not gather mushrooms, I only take photos and  I buy my good edible mushrooms in the supermarket, but I think it is an exciting period in the autumn forest when all the pretty and mysterious mushrooms pop up with their fine colours in the green moss.

photo Djursland and Mid Jutland, September 2014: grethe bachmann


Out on the prairie said...

Love to look for some to eat, more in the spring here. Have found quite a few around lately.

Thyra said...

Hej Steve, autumn is also a good time isn't it. Although it is darker in the evening.

Take care about those mushrooms, Steve.

Grethe ')