Winter Fungus?

by | Jan 20, 2023 | Fungi, Winter

As the leaves fall and the temperatures drop, many people assume that the world of fungi is dormant, hidden beneath the snow and ice. But in reality, the wintertime is a prime opportunity for mushroom enthusiasts to discover a variety of species that thrive in the colder months.

One of the most impressive winter fungi is the Snow Fungus, or Tremella mesenterica. This striking mushroom is often found growing on dead hardwood trees, and is known for its unique, jelly-like texture. But what sets the Snow Fungus apart is its ability to survive in sub-zero temperatures. It’s able to do this by producing a thick, protective layer of ice around its cells, which prevents damage from the freezing temperatures.

Another winter wonder to look out for is the Winter Mushroom, or Flammulina velutipes. This hearty species can be found growing on dead logs, stumps, and even tree bases. It’s a cold-loving mushroom that’s known for its thick, velvety cap and dense, meaty stem. It’s a edible mushroom that is highly sought after by chefs and home cooks alike for its delicate, nutty flavor.

But it’s not just edible fungi that can be found in the winter. The Candlesnuff Fungus, or Xylaria hypoxylon, is a saprobic species that can be found growing on dead hardwoods. It’s known for its distinctive, candle-like shape, and its ability to glow in the dark. This is due to the presence of bioluminescent compounds called luciferins, which produce a faint light when they react with oxygen.

So next time you’re out in the winter woods, don’t be fooled by the barren trees and white blanket of snow. Keep an eye out for these winter fungi and many more, and you’ll discover a whole new world of wonder and beauty.