Just in time for spring mushroom season

A new update of the Ohioline fact sheet, Wild Mushrooms, is now available.  The fact sheet includes several color photos of common mushrooms found in Ohio, basic information about mushroom biology, and answers to common questions about mushrooms in the wild.

The publication also dispels common wives’ tales about edible and poisonous mushrooms.  Now . . . for the record, eating mushrooms found in the wild is not recommended and comes with an “eat at your own risk” tag.

Nonetheless, mushrooms can be enjoyed for their unusual and natural beauty, fascinating biology and importance in our natural ecosystems.

More info

Wild Mushrooms (SE Williams, B Bunyard and W Sturgeon)
Download > OSU Extension Fact Sheet (pdf)

Mushrooms and Macrofungi of Ohio and the Midwstern States: A Resource Guide
> Purchase a eStore


Santa Claus and Flying Reindeer – A Magical Mushroom Connection?

fly agaric mushroomSome (many) fungi produce potent toxins and hallucinogens.  It’s really serious, ranging from aflatoxins (potent carcinogens) and ergotamine (a tie to the Salem witches?) to potential mycotoxins produced by pathogens of corn, wheat and other staple food crops (More info).

Some think the story of Santa Claus and his flying reindeer may have ties to the shamans of Siberia and Arctic, long ago.  Amanita mushrooms, the well-known red and white magical (hallucinogenic) mushrooms of the forest, were known to be consumed by the tribes people of the region and delivered by the shamans as gifts around Christmas (note: these mushrooms are toxic, do not consume these or any fungi you find outdoors).

Hmmm. Shamans delivering gifts of red and white magical mushrooms at Christmas?  Flying reindeer – were they just high on mushrooms?

Well, there’s more to this intriguing story.  Read all about it in this article, “Magic Mushrooms May Explain Santa & His ‘Flying’ Reindeer” > LiveScience

This article has a nice collection of mushroom-themed Christmas items
> View images

Turkey Tail, the Fungus

Turkey tail fungusTrametes versicolor.  It’s better known by its common name, turkey tail.  Looking at the colors and pattern of the fruiting bodies, it’s easy to see the resemblance, making it the perfect way to say “Happy Thanksgiving” from Plant Pathology.

Turkey tails are found in Ohio, and throughout North America, on logs and wood (they are important decomposers > More info).  This fungus is also a bit famous for its anti-cancer properties. An internet search for “turkey tail funugs” will return several articles in this regard.

These mushrooms can even be made into jewelry > Yes look here

Intrigued? The Department of Plant Pathology offers several courses that cover fungi.  In Spring 2014, Molds, Mushrooms and Mankind (PLNTPTH 2000) is a general education course for non-science majors (natural science – biological science w/o lab) > Read more