The Romanian Mycological Society organizes thematic field trips all year round in order to discover the fungal diversity characteristic to different seasons and types of habitats. The field trips target the exploration of ecosystems from several parts of the country with various geographical and climatic conditions. These trips will be optional and organized only when the weather will allow it.
The instructive field trips will be announced in advance by the organizers and they will be open to both the members of the Romanian Mycological Society and other persons interested in knowing more about mushrooms, identifying the edible, toxic and poisonous species, protecting the biodiversity and natural habitats, renewing their information concerning the taxonomy, ecology and chorology of fungi from Romania. For these trips, the participants will have to cover the transportation and accommodation fees and receive in return free important explanations from the specialists.
Exploring the diversity of vernal fungi
Vernal fungi appear during spring, from the end of February until the end of May, depending on the climatic and geographical conditions. Their occurrence is ephemeral, having a short life span. Since the snow melting several mushrooms can appear, with particular shapes and colors. Their size vary, from a few millimeters such as the myxomycetes that develop on woody debris – Arcyria cinerea, Trichia varia or Stemonitis ferruginea, lignicolous ascomycetes – Mollisia cinerea, Nectria cinnabarina, foliar ascomycetes – Ciboria amentacea, Rhytisma acerrinum etc. Other species have 1-2 to over 10 centimeters with red apothecia – Sarcoscypha coccinea („scarlet elf cup”), with black and hard stroma resembling deer horns – Xylaria hypoxylon, with rust-brown spherical stroma – Hypoxylon fragiforme, with irregular jelly-like consistency, purple-pink – Ascocoryne sarcoides, black – Exidia glandulosa, white-grey – Tremella encephala, with brown cup-like apothecia that develop from subterranean sclerotia associated with the roots of plants species like Anemone nemorosa and Anemone ranunculoides – Dumontinia tuberosa etc.
Some of the vernal fungi are edible, but others are toxic and deadly poisonous. Among these species are the morels and false morels – Gyromitra, Morchella and Ptychoverpa.
The Romanian Mycological Society aims to organize several expeditions for collecting vernal mushrooms and raise awareness concerning their ecology and identification methods in order to avoid the confusions between the edible and poisonous species.
Knowing the aestival mushrooms
During the summer, especially in the forest ecosystems from the hill and mountain areas, when the climatic conditions allow it, various species of edible fungi appear, many of them appreciated for their culinary value, this being the reason why this time of year attracts the amateur mushroom hunters, eager to collect the fruiting bodies.
Together with many species of edible Boletaceae and Suillaceae, in the summer time several species of Amanita also appear, most of them being toxic and even deadly poisonous. In this case the risk of intoxications among those who do not pay attention to the mushroom they collect and eat is high.
Moreover, this season represents a span when the fungal diversity is high, a proper time for the mycology enthusiasts to learn more about the ecology of these species, to increase their knowledge in this field and to find rare species. During summer many species of Russulaceae (brittle gills) appear, some of them edible, other toxic with a wide variety of colors: red (Russula emetica, „the sickener” – toxic), green (Russula virescens „green brittlegill” – edible), purple (Russula cyanoxantha „charcoal burner” – edible). Some species produce a colorless or colorfull latex: white latex (Lactarius piperatus – „peppery milk-cap”), orange latex (Lactarius deliciosus, L. salmonicolor – „saffron milk-cap” – edible). The list is completed by the Boletaceae, known as porcini or bolets: Boletus edulis, B. aestivalis, Leccinum carpini, Xerocomus chrysenteron – edible; Boletus satanas – „Devil’s bolete” or „Satan’s mushroom” – toxic.
Togheter with these species of mushrooms some gasteromycetes can be found during the summer (puffballs), Coprinus s.l. („ink cap”), Cantharellus cibarius („golden chanterelle”, „girolle”), Ramaria spp. („coral fungus”) etc. The meadows and grasslands are “colonized” by Agaricus campestris („field mushrooms” – edible) and Marasmius oreades („scotch bonnet”, „fairy ring mushroom” – edible) etc.
The Romanian Mycological Society plans to organize some summer trips for analyzing and discovering the mycological diversity of this season, in different types of habitats.
Knowing the autumnal mushrooms
Autumn represents the season with the highest mycological diversity, both mycorryhizal fungi and saprobes in the litter and on woody debris. Many representatives of Amanita, Collybia, Cortinarius, Hebeloma, Entoloma, Lactarius etc. are characteristic to this time of year. This season represents the best opportunity for mycological investigations. Because of the high fungal diversity and abundancy, autumn is also marked by most cases of mushroom intoxications, many of them very serious. Amanita phalloides („death cap”) develops especially during autumn being the most poisonous species found in Romania, responsible for lethal intoxications. Also species of Armillaria („honey fungus”) are abundant, forming dense clusters on tree stumps and roots. In glades, clearings and forest lines we can find Macrolepiota procera („parasol”), an underrated edible species. In meadows and bushes Lepista panaeolus is present, and in coniferous woods we can find Lepista nuda („wood blewit”, „blue stalk mushroom”), appreciated for its culinary qualities. On different types of wood brown jelly fruiting bodies belonging to Auricularia auricular-judae („Jew’s ear”, „wood ear”, „jelly ear” – edible) also develop.
In late autumn, once the temperatures drop, edible lignicolous species appear, such as Flammulina velutipes („velvet shank”) and Pleurotus ostreatus („oyster mushroom”).
The Romanian Mycological Society aims to organize during this season field trips for investigating the fungal diversity, raising awareness concerning the identification techniques for edible and toxic species and present them to the less informed public.
Mushrooms found all year round
Some species of mushrooms can be found all year round (regardless of the season), being perennial or parasitic on herbaceous and woody plants, saprobes on vegetal debris, on hair and hoofs.
Because of the consistency – hard, elastic or corky they are resistant to degradation. Among these species are many Polyporaceae such as Fomes fomentarius – „tinder fungus”, Fomitopsis pinicola – „red-belted bracket fungus”, Daedalea quercina – „oak mazegill”, Daedaleopsis tricolor, Ganoderma lucidum – „lingzi”, „reishi”, Phellinus igniarius – „willow bracket”, Trametes versicolor – „turkey tail” etc. Many of these species have medicinal value, being used in traditional medicine especially in Asia. Representatives of Xylariaceae can also be found all year round, having a charcoal-like stroma: Daldinia concetrica, Kretzschmaria deusta, Xylaria polymorpha. Ascomycetes with apotecia can develop on plant debris and fruits: Hymenoscyphus fructigenus and other gasteromycetes have fruiting bodies that are slowly degraded: Cyathus striatus („bird’s nest fungus”), Cyathus stercoreus („dung-loving bird’s nest fungus”). The species of lignicolous, saxicolous and soil lichens and also species of parasitic fungi on leaves completes the mycological diversity.