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1left

Craterellus ignicolor garden

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I have no experience in mushroom cultivation other than bringing a few poplar chucks home in the 1980s to grow spring oyster mushrooms which did produce the occasional bunch of bug infested mushrooms for me until I gave up on this small project.

In the last few years I have been somewhat interested in trying to grow a few different wild mushrooms which seem to do well in certain situation which I may be able to copy to a degree. One of my favorite summer edible mushrooms I gather to dry and use in small flakes as a spice especially good with eggs is Craterellus ignicolor.post-645-0-57917100-1386636520_thumb.jpg I notice these mushroom seem to grow in good numbers where there are well decomposed birch and also beech tree pieces on the ground.post-645-0-06264000-1386636754_thumb.jpg I suspect if I moved a number of these old soft pieces to a somewhat similar area of birch or other hardwoods I maybe able to start a Craterellus ignicolor garden especially if I brought in more well decomposed birch with the idea of expanding the plot.post-645-0-69892800-1386636846_thumb.jpg Craterellus ignicolor are a small light weight mushroom but I do gather quite a few pounds from an area of only a few acres of land and some do grow up to 5 inches high on occasion. post-645-0-87113200-1386637040_thumb.jpg

It is very possible these mushrooms are associated with some of the young beech trees in this area and just fruit at their best where the old decomposing birch are laying? Curious to hear some folks thoughts on the potential or lack of potential in growing a Craterellus ignicolor garden and any suggestions on possible small ways ( as I prefer natural to do most the work) to increase the odds of success or if this idea is a good one to abandon?

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According to MushroomExpert.com, C. ignicolor is saprobic and/or mychorrizal; so you might have a chance of getting it to grow where you want it. It looks similar to and is related to C. tubaeformis, which grows in similar, though entirely coniferous, habitats in the Pacific Northwest. I've tried expanding productive areas for the latter by planting stem butts in likely looking terrain but have not had any success. However, I didn't try very hard because we find enough of them that we really don't need any more. I think that your idea is certainly worth trying, and I'd love to hear about the results.

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Great to hear someone else also suspects Craterellus mushrooms may have some potential to be moved around a bit. Where C ignicolor do naturally grow they are usually very plentiful which you also indicate is the case for C tubaeformis as well. It is pleasant to envision a prolific patch developing due to my introduction of a few mushroom producing birch chucks into a well selected site where these mushrooms may possibly flourish. Vitog thanks for entering your thoughts on this subject.post-645-0-22936800-1386720258_thumb.jpg

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My understanding of genus Craterellus is that all species are mycorrhizal. In this case, it seems unlikely that one would succeed in expanding an area of growth by merely placing or burying pieces of mushrooms. Of course, even mycorrhozal species of fungi begin life as spores... so maybe...?

I believe it is possible to inoculate roots of sapling trees with mycelium prior to planting, with the expectation that the end result will be mushrooms. But I suspect that, even if done correctly, it may be years before the fungal/tree association matures to the degree that mushrooms appear. I think that Stamets may be a good source for learning about this type stuff... "Mycelium Running" is one possible source. Stamets also has at least one book about cultivation. Most (all?) of the material I have seen which addresses mushroom cultivation treats only saprobic species.

1left's photos of Craterellus fruiting from a birch log are quite provocative. I suppose this is why Kuo suggests that some of these types are both mycorrhizal and saprobic. If so, it may be the case that the mycorrhizal relationship must become established before the fungus is able to take on a saprobic role. I have found C. tubaeformis fruiting from wood. As with the ones seen in this post, the wood consisted of a log lying on the ground (not standing wood). I think this may be a key aspect.

I have found other types of mycorrhizal fungus fruiting from wood... Suliius spraguei (formerly S. pictus) is an example I have observed several times. Also, I've seen Laccaria species doing this, and Russula.

It is also hypothesized that Morchella species play a dual role of symbiote/saprobe. I wonder if some species may actually play THREE roles...? Symbiote during most of the host/partner's lifetime, parasite after the host/partner is old and weak, and sabrobe after the host has died. For instance, I wonder if this may be the case with Grifola frondosa (Hen of the Woods). My reasoning is as follows. This fungus, which often produces massive fruit bodies, almost inevitably (in my experience) fruits from live or dead old-growth trees. So I wonder if the energy needed to produce these immense fruit bodies is the result of a long-standing relationship between the fungus and the tree. Perhaps when the tree becomes old and weak, the reproductive trigger for the fungus is set into motion and the parasitic role emerges as the means by which the fungus maxes out its potential to tap the tree's energy during the last few years of the life of the tree. Then, after the tree has died, the fungus takes on the role of saprobe. I suspect that Morchella esculentoides (eastern NA version of the Euro M. esculenta) may also play three such roles... with apple or elm trees.

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Dave, I agree that fungi may play dual or even three roles at various stages of their lives. However, they have not been studied carefully enough for scientists to be certain about these things. That's why I think that it is always useful to experiment with propagating mushrooms in every possible way. You might get lucky and learn something new and useful. My own goal is to inoculate seedling trees with mycelium derived from "natural" Black Morels that appear to be associated with the same type of tree.

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Many a good hypothesis begins as a brainstorm, or as a simple "let's see what happens." That would really be something, vitog, if you end up establishing a morchrella/tree symbiosis. Same thing with your craterellus project, 1left. Just imagine the implications of succeeding...

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They sure are beautiful little mushrooms though. It would be fun to see if you can get it to work.

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I wanted to add one thought Dave, both grifola frondosa and morels fruit from sclerotia which is why they are abundant around certain trees regularly and also long after all remnants of host tree visibly are gone, they can will and do fruit. I am fortunate to have a grassy area in a park where no oak has been for 10 or 15 years that still produces maitake every other fall. Amazing resilience. same with morels in open grass fields where I am sure long gone ash/elms were produce infrequently. The sclerotia based fruit bodies have always interested me and I wonder how many other "edible" and well known fungi are sclerotia based organisms?

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Scott, the "field morels" is a really interesting phenomenon. One of the largest yellows I've ever found was in a field in New Jersey.

But I was unaware that this same type thing happens with Grifola. Is it well understood how long it takes for sclerotia to develop? Or how long they continue to generate mushrooms?

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In my case the idea of possibly experimenting a bit with wild mushrooms in forest settings was brought about by reading what Paul Stamets had already done with Umbrella Polypore and others mushrooms through inoculating and also burying wood and pieces of sclerotia. What I will try is much simpler with me only relocating and partially burying decomposed birch and beech chucks which are currently productive, odds are against this being a successful experiment yet the large beds of Craterellus ignicolor I travel to visit are enough encourage to give it a go in the slight chance of success. The first location I will try is moderately well drained with plenty of birch and similar understory plants and mosses yet there are no beech or scattered pine in my selected spot.

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In my case the idea of possibly experimenting a bit with wild mushrooms in forest settings was brought about by reading what Paul Stamets had already done with Umbrella Polypore and others mushrooms through inoculating and also burying wood and pieces of sclerotia. What I will try is much simpler with me only relocating and partially burying decomposed birch and beech chucks which are currently productive, odds are against this being a successful experiment yet the large beds of Craterellus ignicolor I travel to visit are enough encourage to give it a go in the slight chance of success. The first location I will try is moderately well drained with plenty of birch and similar understory plants and mosses yet there are no beech or scattered pine in my selected spot.

I find this very intriguing. At what altitude will you be doing this experiment?

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The location where the large beds of C ignicolor are currently growing is around 15 miles from the coast at 250 feet and the land is quite flat with a few other well known mushrooms such as Hedgehog, Gypsy and a good number of Charcoal burners growing in the same area. The area I'll move some birch chunks to is 3 miles off the coast at 100 feet and receives quite similar amounts of rain and snow and has a good amount of decomposing hardwood debris on the ground, the soils are both moderately well drained though the new site doesn't produce any mushrooms in August though it does lead into a conifer area where I gather some good edibles in Sept and Oct. If C ignicolor could be introduced into the Grey birch forest this would be a very convenient spot for me to stop on my way home from work, but this is asking a lot, one of the main reason I have some hope on this is the size of some of the large beds of C ignicolor which at least visually seems to be associated with the well decomposed wood debris on the ground rather than the very sporadic still standing beech trees I see there. If by a small miracle the mushrooms were to grow and spread around some I suspect it could take many decades for large beds of C ignicolor to develop at best.

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