The world that exists beneath the ground we walk on is interesting and quite extensive. This is especially true when we look closely at mushrooms. Mushrooms are fungi that depend on dead or living organic plant material in order to survive. What we typically cannot see is the mycelium–the mass of branching filaments (hyphae) that spread throughout the nutrient substrate. The visible part of the mushroom are the reproductive structures produced by the mycelium.
During moist summers in Colorado, a wide variety of mushrooms can be seen popping up in forests and meadows. Each kind progresses through fascinating stages. Some are edible, many are not. While I am very fascinated by their unique ecosystem, the vibrant colors often displayed, and the ever-interesting transitions they evolve through changing from beautiful and fragrant, to sometimes grotesque and stinky, I really have not explored or entertained the idea of eating wild mushrooms. For now I play it safe and prefer to eat the varieties available at my local, natural, grocery store. But who knows, maybe next season I’ll be more adventurous.
If you are a person who wanders through the forest picking edible mushrooms, please comment here. I’d appreciate learning more!