Fabulous Fungi - The Marvellous Mushrooms of Clayoquot Sound
an article by the Rainforest Education
In Clayoquot Sound during the fall, typically September, October and
early November, mushrooms emerge.
Mushroom hunting can be an enjoyable pastime and greatly enhance your
appreciation for the wonders of the rainforest. Remember the importance
of fungi and be sure to walk softly of the earth!
What is a Mushroom?
A mushroom is the reproductive structure that is produced by some
fungi. A fungus produces a mushroom to distribute spores (tiny microscopic 'seeds'),
which blow away on the wind or are carried off by animals. The mushroom
appears on the surface of the ground or of decaying wood at certain
times of years, but the bulk of the fungi organism is under the surface.
Under the surface are millions of kilometres of microscopic rooting
threads called mycelium. These mycelia can spread out for many metres
underground and can live for many years. Some species pop up a fresh
batch of mushrooms every year.
A fungus belongs to its own kingdom, separate from plants and animals.
Fungi differ from plants and animals in the way they obtain their nutrients.
The mycelium grows into or around the food source, secrete enzymes
that digests the food externally, and then absorbs the digested nutrients.
The Ecological Function of Forest Fungi
The ecological functions of mushrooms and other fungi can be roughly
classified into four categories:
If you are planning
to collect wild mushrooms, please remember not to collect all of the
mushrooms from any one area. Be sure to leave some behind to help
sustain healthy future populations. Please refrain from picking in
there are lots of other great places to find mushrooms. Also, never
eat mushrooms that you are not 100% sure about, even if they smell/look
Did you know?
To find out more about mushrooms, check out some of the great fungus
field guides at the Raincoast Interpretive Centre, 451 Main St. (Upstairs
in the big yellow building off 4th St.)
The Raincoast Interpretive Centre (RIC) is run by a not for profit
organization, the Raincoast Education Society (RES). The RES is working
to raise awareness and appreciation for the natural and cultural
environments of the region by providing fun and educational programs
and visitors of all ages. To find out about upcoming programs contact
the RIC at 725-2560.