Wild mushroom hunting is an outdoors activity that takes palce in Spring and Autumn when the rainfalls and small fluctuations between daily and night temperatures favour the growth of the fungi.
In the Zagori region and the National Park / Geopark of Vikos-Aoos one can find most of the well-known edible varieties of wild mushrooms such as: porcini, chanterelles, morelles, yellow and black trumpets, amanita caesarea, macrolepiota procera and other.
Also, as in truffle hunting, we can also organize events which can include mushroom hunting, explanation of the various types of mushrooms and their natural habitat as well as gastronomy events involving cooking the gathered mushrooms right after the forest excursion!
Information about wild mushrooms
A mushroom develops from a nodule, or pinhead, less than two millimeters in diameter, called a primordium, which is typically found on or near the surface of the substrate. It is formed within the mycelium, the mass of threadlike hyphae that make up the fungus. The primordium enlarges into a roundish structure of interwoven hyphae roughly resembling an egg, called a “button”. The button has a cottony roll of mycelium, the universal veil that surrounds the developing fruit body. As the egg expands, the universal veil ruptures and may remain as a cup, or volva, at the base of the stalk, or as warts or volval patches on the cap. Many mushrooms lack a universal veil, therefore they do not have either a volva or volval patches. Often, a second layer of tissue, the partial veil, covers the bladelike gills that bear spores. As the cap expands, the veil breaks, and remnants of the partial veil may remain as a ring, or annulus, around the middle of the stalk or as fragments hanging from the margin of the cap. The ring may be skirt-like as in some species of Amanita, collar-like as in many species of Lepiota, or merely the faint remnants of a cortina (a partial veil composed of filaments resembling a spiderweb), which is typical of the genus Cortinarius. Mushrooms lacking partial veils do not form an annulus.
Mushrooms grow on forest slopes, mountain streams, meadows and even in grassy plots in cities! Most mushrooms grow during spring or autumn as the humidity levels are ideal and are combined with small temperature differences between night and day.
There is a saying about mushrooms: “all mushrooms are edible, but some only once!”
In Greece about 2.200 different types of wild mushrooms are recorded of which 150 are edible.