If you haven’t seen them already fungi or fall mushrooms are fruiting all across the battlefield landscape. You can find them along the edges of park avenues, historic woodlots, and even in open old fields.
Mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes. The actual mushroom, or the visible part we can see, is the spore bearing fruiting body or reproductive structure of a fungus. In the fall and spring mushrooms emerge more frequently to send their spores out for recolonization. Mushrooms are not plants but fungi and as fungi they are unable to manufacture their own food from sunlight. Instead, mushrooms gather their energy from other organisms like plants, decaying wood or decomposing leaves.
So are mushrooms edible you ask? Some of them are…but be
cautious before you consume them. Some mushrooms are deadly poisonous. However some are very tasty too. Bottom line, seek an experts advice before eating any type of mushroom. National Parks have varying rules regulating the use and gathering of mushrooms. At Gettysburg NMP and Eisenhower NHS mushrooms may be gathered by hand for personal use and consumption at no more than 1 peck per day per person. A peck is roughly equal to 2 gallons or ¼ of a bushel.
For a fun and informative look at the major groups of mushrooms check out this link from
Science Friday http://www.sciencefriday.com/videos/watch/10148
Zach Bolitho, Chief of Resources Management