by Jonathan Mingori
Most of us associate mushrooms with forests, fields, and areas of nature, yet fungi are everywhere among us. When we take the time to look or explore at any opportunity, we can be amazed at what is to be found.
This summer I specifically sought urban fungi: mushrooms that grow in parks, along bike paths and sidewalks, on woodchips and tree stumps of the neighborhood streets of Montreal. This was not to seek edibles as much as the pure curiosity of what would be found other than the ubiquitous Coprinellus micaceus or the occasional decaying Agaricus. As for edibility, one has to greatly consider the proximity of said fungi to industrial pollution as well as human and animal traffic. A fine edible may very well have been frequented by numerous dogs prior to discovery. The diversity of species and personal new discoveries found were impressive when I made it a point to investigate. One has to be out early, even in the rain, to find something like Parasola plicatilis. A keen eye on woodchips could reveal bird’s nest fungi. An alley raised bed garden may have some Lepiota sprouting. That rotted hole at the base of a large maple providing canopy for the street certainly is a potential spot for a magical find of Gymnopilus junonius. Rotted stumps and logs boast a variety from oysters to ascomycetes and numerous perennials. And the double ringed Agaricus bitorquis (see photo on page 1) is prolific along sidewalks and bike paths.
Here is a list of some of the species found this year:
Vascellum (Lycoperdon) curtisii
and, Volvariella bombycina.
No matter where we may live, there are always some fungi to be sought and found.
Photo credits: Jonathan Mingori