Above: Wild Mushrooms (Chicken of the Woods) along the trail at Macricostas Preserve, Washington, Connecticut
It is easy to overlook nature in one of its most beautiful forms - fungi! Take the time to seek out these often striking diminutive works of art.
Mushrooms are the fleshy, fruiting body of a fungus. Most fungi are found on decaying matter, soil and even as symbionts (either of two organisms that live in symbiosis with one another) of plants, animals & other fungi.
The shapes & color range of mushrooms are widely varied. When you stroll or hike through the woods, take notice and behold the beauty of the bright spectrum of colors, and dynamic shapes of these natural wonders.
The branch of biology devoted to the study of fungi is Mycology. Mycologists study their genetic and biochemical properties, taxonomy and their use to humans as a source for tinder, medicine, wine, cheese, food, and entheogens. Importantly, this scientific study also includes examination of their dangers, such as poisoning or infection.
The current trend of sourcing local food for human consumption includes mushroom collecting. Before foraging for fungi, it is of utmost importance to study identification practices and be sure you ingest only edible varieties.
Below: Oyster Mushrooms in Stamford, Connecticut