Photos on this page may be reproduced (with a reference to Latvian Mycological Society's website).
FUNGUS OF THE YEAR 2014
Boletus projectellus (Murrill) Murrill has been found in Latvia for the first time as recently as in 2013. Several specimens, collected by non-mycologists at various locations along the seashore, were brought to the Natural History Museum's annual mushroom exhibition in September. Thus Latvia apparently has become the second European country (after Lithuania) to be invaded by that North-American species.
Latest news (Sep 24, 2014). Since late August 2014, numerous specimens from locations along the entire Latvia's seashore (plus few locations 25-50 km inland) have been either brought to the Natural History Museum or reported photographically to the Museum, Latvian Mycological Society or senes.lv website. A more detailed preliminary report is available on this website:
Boletus projectellus in Latvia
FUNGUS OF THE YEAR 2013
The true dry rot fungus (Serpula lacrymans (Wulfen) J. Schröt.) is the most dangerous fungus to wooden structures in buildings, even to the entire buildings. S. lacrymans is widely spread in Latvia.
FUNGUS OF THE YEAR 2012
Rhodotus palmatus is extremely rare in Latvia. It was first found in this country more than 20 years ago. For several years, there were no reports of it having been seen again. However, several specimens were finally found in Gauja National Park last autumn.
FUNGUS OF THE YEAR 2011
Amanita phalloides is the deadliest mushroom in Latvia.
FUNGUS OF THE YEAR 2010
Coral spine fungus
The beautiful Hericium clathroides is very rare in Latvia's forests.
FUNGUS OF THE YEAR 2009
Heterobasidion annosum is much too common in Latvia's forests.
FUNGUS OF THE YEAR 2008
Cap 5-15 cm broad, convex, becoming broadly so in age, sometimes expanding to plane with an upturned margin; surface smooth, whitish, often with adhering dirt; flesh white, thick, firm, unchanging; odor and taste mild.
Gills free, close, pallid, becoming pale brown, blackish-brown at maturity.
Stipe 4-10 cm long, 2-4 cm thick, stout, equal to enlarged below, solid; surface whitish, more or less smooth, sometimes with fine, appressed scales at the apex; veil membranous, thick, white, sheathing from the base of the stipe.
Spores 5-6.5 x 4-5.5 µm, smooth, elliptical; spore print chocolate brown.
Scattered to gregarious in disturbed habitats, e.g. roadsides, paths, vacant lots etc., preferring heavy soils.
Edibility: Excellent; substantial size, firm texture, and good flavor make this one of the best Agaricus species for the table.
Agaricus bitorquis is recognized by a usually short, compact, stature, smooth, white, but frequently dirty cap,
and partially emergent fruitings, i.e. often just breaking through the soil surface.
FUNGUS OF THE YEAR 2007
Cap 10-40 cm wide, soon funnel-shaped with involuted margin, smooth and silky; white, leathery yellowish. Gills are deeply decurrent, dense, white, soon leathery yellowish. Stipe 6-7 cm long and 3-5 cm wide, tough, full, whitish. Flesh is white, watery in old age; smell is strongly spermatic, taste inconspicuous. Spore powder is white.
Growing season: August-October
Habitat: it grows in groups and fairy rings in parks, gardens, grasslands, along the edges of woods in rich soil
Frequency: quite often
Edibility: edible after boiling
FUNGUS OF THE YEAR 2006
Fruiting bodies of Sarcosoma globosum are found between early spring and early summer. The species inhabits forest floor of old spruce forests.
The fungus produces large, cup-shaped fruiting bodies (diameter 3–6 cm). They look like barrels and are colored dark brown to black. The stipe (or stem) is wrinkled, whilst the inside of the cup has a jelly-like texture. This fungus is known from parts of North America and Europe. In the latter, it is particularly rare in Northern countries. This species is threatened by forestry practices that destroy the old-growth forests within which it is found. Sarcosoma globosum is a candidate species for listing in Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention). Sarcosoma globosum is included in the Red Data book of Latvia.
In Latvia two localities are known at the present time. One of them (near Tukums town) has been known from the beginning of the 20th century. It was re-discovered in 90-ties.
The second locality was found recently in the Valka vicinity in the old-grows spruce forest.
FUNGUS OF THE YEAR 2005
It has convex, bright yellow-brown, minutely scaly 8-20 cm wide cap, stem is granular, also yellow-brown and 10-18 cm high, and it has large, beautiful ring, looking just like a lace. Gills are adnate, crowded whitish then yellowish to ochraceous. Spores are brown. This fungus prefers soils which contain a lot of nitrates.
This fungus is very rare in most parts of Europe and North America; some prominent mycologists have not seen them in their life at all!
Growing season: August-October
Habitat: on rich soils, in parks, along roads and grassy paths, along edges of ditches, making often fairy-rings.
Frequency: quite rare, becomming more frequent during last several years, it needs to be explored
Edibility: maybe slightly poisonous, contains hydrocyanic acid in small amounts.
FUNGUS OF THE YEAR 2004
The oval cap (4-12 inches in diameter) and lateral stem (2-8 inches long) of the Lacquered Bracket are covered by a glossy, resinous layer that is mahogany to reddish-brown in colour. The white pores turn brown with age.
Growing season: summer and autumn
Habitat: on stumps and trunks of deciduous and coniferous trees
Frequency: very rare, protected
Edibility: not worth picking, used as medicine in China, Japan and other countries
Common Names: Varnished polypore, Reishi, Ling chih, Ling zhi, Mannentake.
Reishi in Oriental medicine
Reishi and other mushrooms have been revered as herbal medicines for thousands of years in Japan and China. Emperors of the great Chinese dynasties and Japanese royalty drank teas and concoctions of the mushroom for vitality and long life. The ancient Taoists were constantly searching for the elixir of eternal youth, and Reishi was believed to be among the ingredients. In the traditional Chinese medicine, Reishi is in the most highly rated herb category in terms of multiple benefit and absence of side effects. As recorded in the oldest Chinese medical text, Reishi is the superior herb for perpetual youth and longevity ("king of herbs").
All observations in recent times show that Reishi has no side effects and can be consumed in high dosages and in parallel with other medications. Its main properties are the cleansing of blood, enhancement of the immune system and the lessening of nervous tension. These properties are conducive to normalizing and balancing the body and as a result preempt cure a multitude of diseases from within.
Cultivation was attempted since ancient times in China but did not give satisfactory results. It was only in 1971 that a Japanese researcher Yukio Naoi from the Kyoto University found ways to cultivate Ling Zhi or Reishi in quantity.
Today, an estimated 4,300 tons of Ling Zhi is produced yearly in the world.
This Reishi Goddess was painted some 700 years ago on the wall of a Chinese Temple.
FUNGUS OF THE YEAR 2003
The White Helvella is notable for its almost white cap shaped like undulating, folded lobes and carried on whitish stem which is furrowed, fluted and hollow. The species may attain 15 cm (6 in.) in height; it is usually found in forest clearings and alongside footpaths in the autumn. Although poisonous when raw, the White Helvella is edible if well cooked and eaten in small quantities.
Growing season: summer – autumn
Habitat: mainly broad-leaves
Edibility: edible but risky