Why do shiitake mushrooms grow on rotten wood?

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Mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, pine mushrooms, straw mushrooms, etc., are some delicious edible fungi. Because they not only contain a variety of amino acids, but also the content of protein and inorganic salts such as zinc, sodium, phosphorus, sulfur, magnesium, iron, and so on are quite rich, so as early as more than 1000 years ago, they became the food of the Chinese people.

In China's vast forests and fields, every year there are countless wild fungi, in addition to poisonous ones that can not be eaten, many can be made into delicious dishes. Mushrooms refer to those edible wild fungi. People who have experience in picking mushrooms know that mushrooms often grow in warm and humid forests and grasses, and it is very difficult to find mushrooms in dry and barren places. Especially after the spring rain, it is a good opportunity to pick mushrooms.

Why do many mushrooms grow on the ground after the rain?

Mushrooms are a relatively low-level plant, belonging to the fungus class. It does not produce seeds, but can only produce spores to reproduce. Wherever the spores spread, they germinate into new mushrooms there. Mushrooms themselves do not make nutrients, but can only use their hyphae to extend into the soil or rotten wood, to absorb ready-made nutrients to maintain life. So mushrooms often grow in dark, humid, warm, and rich organic places.

Spores fall into the soil and produce hyphae to absorb nutrients and water, and then produce entities, which are the mushrooms we see. But the entities are very small at first and not easy to be noticed by people. After absorbing enough water, they will stretch out in a short time. Therefore, after the rain, mushrooms grow more and faster.

When picking mushrooms, the most important thing is not to pick poisonous fungi. There is no best way to identify poisonous or non-poisonous ones. Generally, you can only rely on the experience of picking. For example, most poisonous fungi have various colors and are very beautiful. Non-poisonous fungi are mostly white or brown.

Therefore, it is best to go with experienced people to pick mushrooms, so as not to risk poisoning. Or after picking them back, ask experienced people for advice and let them identify them.

Before the microscope was invented, people could not see things that were invisible to the naked eye, so there were often misunderstandings.
For example, people saw that food left for a long time grew mold on it, and they thought that food turned into a mold; they saw that rotten wood grew shiitake mushrooms on it, and they thought that wood rotted and turned into shiitake mushrooms.

Since the invention of the microscope, many tiny organisms can be seen, and the mysteries in people's minds are solved one by one. Mold and shiitake mushrooms are actually a kind of low-level plant. They are not made from food or wood but from their own reproductive organs. But this kind of low-level plant's reproductive organs are very small and not easy to see.

Take shiitake mushrooms as an example. It is a kind of fungus. Because its shape looks like an umbrella, it is also called "umbrella fungus". The whole body of a shiitake mushroom can be divided into three parts: cap, stem, and underground hyphae. What we usually eat are its cap and stem. The underground hyphae are often not noticed by people because they do not grow above the ground. If you turn over the cap of a shiitake mushroom, you can see that its belly has folds of things called gills. In these gills, there are hundreds of thousands of spores hidden. Once these spores matured they flew away.

Shiitake mushroom does not contain chlorophyll so it does not make its own nutrition. Its life depends on absorbing ready-made nutrients. Dark humid and warm places such as soil rotten trees straw piles etc. are places where organic matter is most abundant so shiitake mushroom likes to grow in those places best. When spores fly onto rotten wood they germinate into hyphae which drill into the wood and absorb nutrients from inside slowly growing out subentities (the cap and stem part). The subentities were very small at first but when the weather got humid they absorbed water and quickly grew bigger. This is the secret of shiitake mushroom growth.

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