All About Fungi

Members of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society were amazed that so many different fungi and mushrooms grow in their “backyard”. Through a power point presentation, Donna Fano, the guest speaker at the October meeting, showed members the many different kinds ofmushrooms and fungi that grow locally in Hastings County. Some members even recognized mushrooms that grow in their yards.

For many years, Donna has had a keen interest in fungi and mushroomsand their role in preserving our environment. Fungi are as important as plants and animals for the environment. Fungi breaks down the leaves and decayed wood to ensure that the world has a fertile layer of soil. Even after a forest fire destroys thousands of trees, fungi spores are tough and they often will survive a fire thus assisting the reestablishment of forests.

Fungi are beneficial…. yeast, cheese, cultivated mushrooms are a food source, discovery of penicillin, boasts immune system. On the other hand, fungi can cause plant diseases, infections like thrush, athlete’s foot and mouldy buildings. 

The power point presentation highlighted the many mushrooms in our local area. Donna explained the steps to identify fungi as each group of fungi has its own characteristics. Although some mushrooms are edible, Donna cautioned about tasting until you are absolutely sure of the mushroom’s identity…. if not sure, don’t eat!

Donna often joins groups to look for mushrooms. She mentioned that the group members always take a basket to collect the samples, a knife, plus a whistle and a compass in case one gets lost from the group. A good reference book is always useful to help with the identification. There are many websites and apps available. The question was asked about touching mushrooms…. Donna’s advice was to wash one’s hands thoroughly afterwards but she has not encountered any issues by simply touching a mushroom. 

Donna’s enthusiasm about fungi and mushrooms will have members looking for the many different species in their yards and trying their skills at identifying what they find!

Upcoming Events:

November 7…speaker will be from Stone Mills Lavender Farm

December 5…Christmas Potluck Dinner (members only)

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