Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mushrooms in February

Winter Mushroom - Flammulina velutipes
There aren't too many mushrooms that grow in Minnesota in February, but this is one of them, Flammulina velutipes.  Granted it's been a very warm winter, by Minnesota standards, but 30s and 40s°F is pretty cold for most mushrooms.  I read the abstract of an article (the full text was only available for a rather expensive fee) that F. velutipes produces a protein that lowers it's freezing point.
But I wonder if growing in cold weather when no other mushrooms are growing gives it some kind of advantage.  Maybe the spores have a better chance of developing and dispersing in the cooler weather when there aren't many or any slugs, bugs, bacteria, etc to eat them.  Or maybe mushroom mycelia compete for space in rotten stumps and logs and F. velutipes gets a head start by sending out spores when other mushrooms aren't out. 
My next question is:  if there is an advantage to growing in the cold, why don't more species of mushrooms do it?

I've posted about F. velutipes a couple of other times.  You can get a bit more information here and here.