There are a million interesting things in the Gabriola woods that I mean to research some day, and many of them are mushrooms or other fungi. But life is busy, and I have to spend important time thinking about how to get the best chocolate and other essential matters. So many of the fungi I’ve found remain unidentified, at least by me.
But now Paul Stamets has shown up with this article in the Huffington Post: Chaga, the Clinker Fungus: This Mushroom Looks Scary But Can Benefit Health.
Chaga is one of the weirdest mushrooms you may ever see. A fungal parasite found on birch trees, Chaga is a hardened, blackened, crusty formation that looks like a bursting tumor. While this strange-looking mushroom has been called a “tree cancer” since it will eventually kill its host tree, it has attracted interest for centuries in fighting human cancer and other diseases. This interest in its medicinal properties has led to rampant harvesting of wild specimens — threatening this ecologically-delicate species. Growing the mycelium of the Chaga mushroom under laboratory conditions provides an ecologically friendly alternative supply of this unique medicinal mushroom. [continue]
And, of course, we’ve got Chaga in the Gabriola woods. Nice to have so much detail about one of the things I’ve been wondering about! Coming across Chaga wasn’t quite as much fun as finding agarikon, but cool nonetheless.
Photo credit: Tomas Čekanavičius. This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
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