Frukbody Development

Temperature: 70-85° F. (21-30° C.) Relative Humidity: 85-90% Duration: 5-7 days. C02:2000-5000 ppm Fresh Air Exchanges: 4-5 per hour. Light Requirements: 500 1000 lux. Cropping Cycle:

Every two to three weeks for 3-5 flushes.

Harvest Hints: If mushrooms form through holes in the plastic, harvesting is fast and efficient. Clusters of these ear shaped mushrooms pop off without residual substrate debris.

Form of Product Sold to Market: Fresh and dried. The greatest volume of this mushroom is sold in dry form. Although dark when dried, these mushrooms lighten to brownish in color as they rehydrate, usually true to form. The rubbery and cartilaginous consistency is strangely appealing.

Nutritional Content: 8-10% protein, 0.8-1.2% fat, 84-87% carbohydrates, 9-14% fiber, and 4-7% ash. (Ying, 1987; Chang & Hayes, 1978). Moisture content of fresh mushrooms is usually witnin a few percentage points of 90%

Medicinal Properties: Ying (1987) reports that this mushroom is 80 & 90% effective against Ehrlich carcinoma and sarcoma 180 respectively. The supporting references are in Chinese.

A hematologist at a mecical school in Minnesota pricked his finger in a blood clotting test, and when his blood failed to clot, the ensuing investigation traced the cause to the Wood Ear mushrooms he had eaten the night before at a Chinese restaurant. In the United States during the 1970's, when

Figure 355. A. polvtricha can be grown from a horizontal surface. However, most cultivators prefer to crop the mushrooms from vertical faces as featured in Figure 354.

Chinese restaurants started using an abundance of Wood Ear mushroom, some patrons noted spontaneous blotchy hemorrhages of the skin in the days following a meal rich with these mushrooms. This was dubbed the Szechwan Restaurant Syndrome and later became known as Szechwan purpura. (Hammerschmidt, 1980; Benjamin 1995). This discovery has led to a new anticoagulant effective in the prevention of blood clots.

Flavor, Preparation & Cooking: For me and many others, this mushroom is not remarkably flavorful However, this mushroom adds another dimension to the culinary experience. A polytricha has a most appealing brittle-gelatinous texture, potentiating the flavors of foods . , cooked ' th it. I have seen chefs embellish salads with this mushroom, uncooked, as a garnishment

Comments: This mushroom is extremely popular in Asia and to a much less extent, in Europe. In the U ited States, rhis mushroom is used primarily by those of Asian descent. Appealing for its ease of use Wood Ear mushrooms dry and rehydrate quickly.

Themeth d ol ultivation closely irallels that of Shiitake. The punctured polypropylene ags shculd be placed in a 100% or condensing fog environment to encourage the .mergence of myce-li n Once mushroom initials form, the „.mosphere should clear of condensing fog ut be held at 95-100% humidity. Watering two to four times a day brings on fruitbody formatior vithin 5-10 days If by i, flush, ubstrate moisture has fallen below 50% and can not be replenished through requent watering submerging the sawdust bags will induce one last substantial flush.

n zek it al., (1988) rates A. auricula as superior to A. polytricha in culinary terms. A auncula can be grown in the same fashion as A. polytricha except that A. awncw/a thrive« m the 5« -60 F. (1015 C.) rang e. These differences may be varietal in nature-assuming that the taxa of A auncula an„

A. polytricha are conspecific.

INDOOR GROWTH PARAMETERS

Morels embody the mystique of mushrooms. They are elusive, highly camouflaged, and appear for just a few days in any one place. Finding Morels in the w"Id tests the skills of even the most experienced mushroom hunter. Once found, Morel patches are guarded by secrecy and treasured like family heirlooms. Revealing the location of a Morel patch is an admirable expression of friendship and trust. , . and, it may be the most foolish thing any Morel hunter can do!

In northern latitudes, from April to June, Morels grow in several specialized habitats. They thrive in abandoned apple orchards; at the bases of dying and dead elms; around living cotton woods, oaks and poplars; in sandy gravel soils along rivers and streams; in "beauty bark" used for landscaping; at the bases of young firs; in the tracks left by bulldozers punching new roads through forests; in limed soils, and in the wastelands left by fires.

* "Land Fish" is a Native American name, possibly Mohawk, aptly given to Morels.

Hie Through The Woods

Figure 356. The aftermath ot the Yellowstone aire crea.eu an .uo. —^ —— ----------° •

edible & choice Morels.

Figure 356. The aftermath ot the Yellowstone aire crea.eu an .uo. —^ —— ----------° •

edible & choice Morels.

What in the world could be the common denominator shared by all tHfce habitaisl Who^ws. The (mh^ab tosloin easi ' recreate are the nathof the fire, the beauty.bark bed «dthegn* road bed OShese the fire-treated ha it has proved the most riiable, and producible hie d -stms competitor's and reduces nutrient .vels of carbon and nitrogen while proportionately ^reLii^evels of calcium, potassium and mineral saltfTHs ifcfesteland supports httle life, save for

^l^fe^tine siiffft&a catastrophe, the Morel SJbcyc .fies ready in the w i thri e in the charred desolati )n left by a forest fire is, in itself, r ,ystifyin,Inthe pnng o 19HM er he m ssive Yellowstone fires of the previous summer, huge fruitings of Morels merged from the ashen kndseape Some of the larg1 it I orel finds in history were discovered one year aiter the M ft Helen seruptKm. S(^abundant wen the n tings that excited collectors filled to - k-uptrucks o the brim wi 11 hundred of pounds c 'Morels. »their dismay and disbelief, the gritty ash made the

^SXSStings are as enticing as they are bewildenng, and in certain cases aP proach legendary status. Here are a few examples:

g / massive Morel fruiting occurred several weeks after sludge from a Washington pulp company was flooded into a tree nursery Thousands of Morels sprang up E After a flood in eastern Oregon, where a family's backyard wast ider a fooi of water for more than a week Morels weighing several pounds soon followed. (See Figure 351.)

Figure 357. Thia 4 ib. Moret was discovered in a Figure 358. The freak occurrence of Morels popping backyard after flood waters receded. up from nursery grown, potted Phlox plan's still mystifies me. Tuis discovery steered me onto a fruitless path of experimentation.

Figure 357. Thia 4 ib. Moret was discovered in a Figure 358. The freak occurrence of Morels popping backyard after flood waters receded. up from nursery grown, potted Phlox plan's still mystifies me. Tuis discovery steered me onto a fruitless path of experimentation.

m A rain soaked and decomposing straw bale in the middle of a wheat field yielded an enormous Morel wtigh' ,ig several pounds.

0 ^rom the ruins of a house destroyed by fire in Idaho, huge Morels were found in a basement coal bin. The strain I cloned from tnese mushrooms is known as "M-l 1" and is featured in this book.

3 A local nursery was selling Phlox plants and from every pot Morels were sprouting. (See Figure 358.)

□ An old timer recently told me that, after shooting a chicken-killing dog one autumn, he was shocked to find Morels fruiting in a circle around the decomposing carcass the following spring. (I forgot to ask him whether or not he ate the Morels )

9 Recently, an exited women called me from Napa Valley, California. To her family's utter disbelief they found a Morel fruiting from the ashes of their indoor fireplace. The fireplace had not been used for 6 months. They have no ideahow it got there.

□ Near Vancouver. Washington one of my students planted Morel spawn into the ashes of his barbecue grill which was located on a verandah of his condominium. He was amazed to find Morels popping up from his hibachi several months later

Baffling and begui! ing, Morels continue to tease us with their peculiar sense of humor. If any readers know of similarly unusual encounters of the Morel kind, I would like to know. Please write me c/o

Fungi Perfecti, P.O. Box 7634, Olympia, Wa. 98507 USA.

More! spores germinate quickly. The y phae race through the environment—up to four inches pnlday Morel mycelium can colomze a vast territory in a relatively short time. But when they encounter a physical boundary, a non-nutritional zone, or competitors, the mycelium stops expanding. After experiencing environmental shock, the mycelium collapses and forms a subterranean structure called a Sclerotium Understanding sclerotia is the key to Morel cultivation.

A Sclerotium is a Hardened, asexual mass of cells which roughly resembles a gold nugget or walnut in form and size. Sclerotia are produced by many mushroom species, including Collybia tuberosa, Conocybe cyanopus

How Morchella Growing

¡^9. Sclerotia of the Giant Morel, Morchella i, forming in jars. Soil is placed onto colo-„Jedfpain The mycelium grows into the sc and, after several weeks, forms sclerotia. As with most sclerotia-forming mushroom species , this phenom enon is encouraged by darkness during incubation.

Z^Ze allowin th m to m species to survive inclement weather. Jh y can be dried to the

< d lPon rehydrati a, as the cells swell with moi ir*the u life and transforms into either a mushroom or into a new mycelial network. Morel mycelium pro duces t^rffa naturally, wi ut the interference of humans, on many habitats from peat moss to

""The scler la of the Black Morel are uniquely different than all the other Morel species.The sclerotia of the Yellow Morel, Morchella esculenta and the so-called Giant Morel, Morchella crassipes are dense, slippery and heavy when fresh, dark and & walnut-like. The sclerotia of the Black Morel, Morchella angusticeps are abrasive, golden yellow to orange, light in weight when fresh, and pumice-like. Although studies on the sclerotia formation of Morchella escalenta and Morchella crassipes have been published (Ower (1982), Ower & et al. (1986, 1988). and Volk & Leonard (1989, 1990)), no studies have been published on Morchella aneusticeris until now. One other difference: --------.

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