‘Shroom Quest

Mushrooms – Tree Host

Music; Ambience: mushrooming in Central Park

JM: We’re in New York’s Central Park looking for mushrooms. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. You’d think mushrooming would involve a lot of looking down, at the ground. It turns out that hunting for wild mushrooms often means finding the trees that they’re associated with. Duke biologist Rytas Vilgalys.

RV: “The mushrooms that you buy in the store, for example, the common white mushrooms are decomposers, so they’re grown on composted manure or composted substrates, but the wild mushrooms that a lot of people love to collect in the forest, I’d say more than half of those are associated with certain forest types. So if you want to find mazutaki mushrooms, you go to a pine forest and only certain pine forests out west here will produce good mazutaki fruitings. If you want to find boletes, you can pretty much find boletes in much any kind of forest, but especially certain kinds of pine forests or oak forests, so just, you have to know something about the plant community you gotta know an oak and a pine, because they’re likely to have mushrooms. Maple trees on the other hand have other kinds of fungi but they don’t have mushrooms associated with their roots at least. So knowing something about trees will help you to be a better mushroom taxonomist. And you know, sometimes when you find certain mushroom species, you can look up and expect to find certain trees growing there.”

JM: We’ll hear more about mushrooming in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research. I’m Jim Metzner

'Shroom Quest

When foraging for wild mushrooms, it helps to know your tree species.
Air Date:10/07/2021
Scientist:
Transcript:

Mushrooms - Tree Host Music; Ambience: mushrooming in Central Park JM: We're in New York's Central Park looking for mushrooms. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. You'd think mushrooming would involve a lot of looking down, at the ground. It turns out that hunting for wild mushrooms often means finding the trees that they're associated with. Duke biologist Rytas Vilgalys. RV: "The mushrooms that you buy in the store, for example, the common white mushrooms are decomposers, so they're grown on composted manure or composted substrates, but the wild mushrooms that a lot of people love to collect in the forest, I'd say more than half of those are associated with certain forest types. So if you want to find mazutaki mushrooms, you go to a pine forest and only certain pine forests out west here will produce good mazutaki fruitings. If you want to find boletes, you can pretty much find boletes in much any kind of forest, but especially certain kinds of pine forests or oak forests, so just, you have to know something about the plant community you gotta know an oak and a pine, because they're likely to have mushrooms. Maple trees on the other hand have other kinds of fungi but they don't have mushrooms associated with their roots at least. So knowing something about trees will help you to be a better mushroom taxonomist. And you know, sometimes when you find certain mushroom species, you can look up and expect to find certain trees growing there." JM: We'll hear more about mushrooming in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research. I'm Jim Metzner