Chapter

Satan’s Gourmand

Nicholas P. Money

in Mushroom

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199732562
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918515 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732562.003.0004
Satan’s Gourmand

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This chapter addresses the complex subject of mushroom conservation. The collection and consumption of wild mushrooms was popularized by Captain Charles McIlvaine, a veteran of the Civil War who sampled almost every fungal thing he found in the woods and rejections were rare. In his book “One Thousand American Fungi,” he described the delicious, the bland, the unpleasant, repellent, and the toxic. People harvest wild mushrooms for many reasons today, but the commercial extraction of mushrooms from forests is a controversial activity. The wholesale removal of mushrooms from a particular site may have deleterious effects upon the survival of the most valuable species. Current scientific studies have found little evidence for this hypothesis, although soil compression through trampling has a short-term impact upon fruiting. The ultimate experiment on the long-term effects of mushroom harvesting is in progress in China where thousands of tons of fruit bodies are picked every year.

Keywords: conservation; Charles McIlvaine; harvesting; commercial extraction; China

Chapter.  5875 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biological Sciences

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