New hat carriers in the forest

New hat carriers in the forest

Autumn is mushroom season, many forest paths are lined with cars of mushroom pickers. "There has been a lot going on since the beginning of october", says ingo queck, second chairman of the bad kissingen district group of the BN. This is due to the current wet weather. "If you look in the forest, you can see through the trees usually already the first mushrooms are standing." Among them, however, are not only the stone mushroom or the popular parasol.

"Last year someone showed me a fringed bulbous mushroom", says queck looking back. A collector harvested the edible mushroom in the claus forest. Visually, it resembles a fly agaric – except for one major difference. Instead of a red cap, the fringed bulb has a white cap. "The mushroom actually comes from the sub-mediterranean region", informs the expert. It most likely came to the saale valley as a result of climate change. Queck assumes that several species from the mediterranean region will become native to the region in the future. Among them, for example, the kaiserling. It is also a edible mushroom.

New species are coming

New toxic doppelganger and poisonous fungus species are also emerging as a result of climatic changes. A new hat carrier in the french region is the poisonous olive mushroom, which looks very similar to the chanterelle mushroom. For the wild, the new poisonous fungi do not seem to be an issue at the moment. Experts hope that animal instinct will prevent wild boars, for example, from eating new poisonous species.

However, not every new type of fungus can be recognized immediately. "Above ground we see only the fruit body", says queck. The actual fungus hides beneath the soil. There is a widely ramified root network that supplies the fungus with nutrients. But: "a fruiting body is not always formed", says queck. So it may be that other new species are already native to the region, and yet no fruiting bodies are yet to be seen. Because before it develops, the fungus must reproduce. For this to happen, the root network, the hyphae, of two mating types of a species must merge. The different sexes are hidden behind the mating types. As a result of biological processes, what is commonly known as a fungus eventually forms – the fruiting body.

But in the world of fungi, climate change does not only favor edible fungi. Lack of precipitation and high temperatures led to the outbreak of maple bark disease. "The disease has migrated from the south to the north", informs bernhard zurner, director of forestry at the office for food, agriculture and forestry. In the district of bad kissingen, trees at three locations are affected by it. There are more cases of the rubrind disease in the area of the frankische platte near wurzburg, schweinfurt and kitzingen.

Trees suffer

The disease is a fungal disease of the tree. The fungus cryptostroma corticale has been nesting in trees for a long time. "A healthy tree manages to keep it in check", explains zurner. If the tree begins to weaken due to weather extremes, the tree is no longer able to resist. "With increasing weakness of the tree, the fungus then becomes pathological", says the forestry director. "This is a death sentence. In one or two years the tree will be dead." The tree loses its bark – and thus its protective skin – due to the rubrind disease. They are replaced by a black layer of spores. This is where the name of the rubrind disease comes from. The wind spreads the fungal spores subsequently.

"In the medium term, the infected trees must be removed from the forest", says zurner. It is best to do it during the wet season. "The rain binds the spores". However, a specialized company must be hired. Because the fungal spores are dangerous to humans. "This is similar to farmer’s lung, which is caused by fungal spores in the grain harvest." If a human inhales spores, they cause inflammation in the lungs. As a result, the lung tissue becomes scarred. Irritable cough, shortness of breath, fever and shivering appear. "That is why it is necessary to leave the felling of infested trees to specialists, who will approach them with the appropriate protective equipment." The infected wood must be burned in pulp incinerators. Experts are currently calculating the cost of such disposal.

What soil?

According to fabian menzel, managing director of the rhon-saale forestry association, different soils lead to differences in terms of fungal growth. "This can be seen, for example, in areas where variegated sandstone occurs." Different fungi grow there than on loamy soil, for example. The climate, the weather and the altitude are also important.

How to harvest?

The question of harvesting mushrooms is about the right way to harvest them. Some collectors advocate cutting it off with a mushroom knife, while others rely on a careful twisting out. Ingo queck, deputy chairman of the BN bad kissingen district group, favors the removal of the fungus. "In this way, there is less damage to the delicate underground plexus", he explains. But this is not the end of the story for him. "In the end it is a wound – that’s why i still put some grit on the place where i twisted out the fruit body."

Tips for newcomers?

Picking mushrooms without knowledge can end badly. In mushroom courses and seminars, experts impart their knowledge to newcomers. They are offered for example in the house of black mountains. The dates for the coming year are already fixed. In addition, there are numerous books on mushrooms. "It is important to rely on new publications in this regard", says queck. This can be seen in mushrooms such as the bald crepe. Once the literature listed the mushroom as edible. However, it contains allergens that cause the paxillus syndrome after repeated consumption. This is an immune reaction that can lead to death. Queck therefore considers it sensible to rely on mushroom courses and specialist literature. "Bookers often show only the adult mushroom – the young stages are rarely found". Especially in the young stage, some poisonous and edible fungi resemble each other. "Moreover, it is important to know what a mushroom smells like, books alone can not provide that." Another basic principle: "collect only what can be identified without doubt."

What mushrooms are there in the district?

The county – and in general the rhon are rich in mushrooms. "There are even publications from the research on the mushroom world of the rhon", says queck. The fungal diversity is also confirmed by menzel, who is often out and about in the forest in his job: "there are boletus, chestnuts, witches’ cane mushrooms, the curly crested fungus, the parasol, meadow mushrooms – and many more."

What is the fungus?

The fungus is composed of several components. The gross part is invisible to the eye, because it is under the ground. The root network is called mycelium and can easily exceed a tree in the coarse. What is visible is the fruiting body. Many species of fungi form a symbiosis with trees. The trees get nutrients and water through root contact with the fungi, while the fungi benefit from the photosynthesis products. The consequences of this coexistence are, for example, better resistance to drought and pests.

How much can i take with me?

Time and again, reports circulate of mushroom pickers who have collected too much. "Mushrooms may be collected in small quantities for personal use", says melanie hofmann, responsible for the press and public relations work of the district. This is regulated in the federal species protection ordinance. Behind the concept of "small quantity for one’s own needs" there is only so much that can be eaten in one meal. "It is not about filling your freezer", says hofmann. "You do not need a permit to pick mushrooms." This is only necessary if the mushrooms are to be sold, or the mushroom picker is looking for truffles. However, another point is important: "you should ask yourself whether you really have to take every mushroom home with you", says queck. Because: "fungi spread through the spores in the fruiting body."

What about radiation exposure??

The chernobyl reactor accident in 1986 still has an impact today. The radioactive isotope casium-137 degrades very slowly. Radioactivity accumulates in mushrooms. "In our country mushrooms are less contaminated with radiation", says queck. The situation in southern bavaria is more problematic. This even has an impact on the game in the regions. According to the federal office for radiation protection, values are still measured today that exceed the limit value for marketing by a factor of more than ten.


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