Imagine an ingredient that captures all your senses. One that is considered not only nutritious but deadly, alien yet immensely beautiful. Welcome to the enormous kingdom of Mushrooms otherwise known as fungi, that are connected to almost ninety percent of all vegetation on earth.
As enormous and tiny as they might appear, mushrooms are vital to all life on earth. They are part of our forest woodlands, gardens and even present in our supermarkets. Have you ever picked up blue cheese, a fizzy drink like champagne, soy sauce, bread, or detergents? Well, all of these and more have fungi present in them.
Deadly or Delicious?
Fungi evolved around one and a half billion years ago and to me, they are the most fascinating things on earth. I love to draw and paint them as much as I love to eat them. But as most of you might know picking or eating the wrong mushroom might just put you on the fast track to heaven. There are those varieties that are well known to most like the Button mushrooms, Shitake, Oyster, and the Ceps also known as Penny buns or Porcini mushrooms. Those are not so well known like the Ear, Coral, Yellow brain, or Beefsteak mushrooms. And those that are mildly or deadly poisonous like the Sickner, Poison pie, and the Death cap mushroom.
Breaking down this beauty.
Have you ever read Peter Rabbit?
Beatrix Potter who wrote Peter Rabbit was one of the leading mushroom biologists of her time and it is said that she was amazed by the beauty and scientific importance of mushrooms. I am as fascinated as she is though mine is more a visual and taste bud driven fascination .As deadly or delicious as mushrooms might be we could all agree that mushrooms are beautiful. So if you ever do forage for mushrooms in nearby forests, or buy them at your local supermarket let’s get to know them better.
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