Gypsy mushroom – one of the delicacies in the mountains. But be careful, it can be mistaken for other species. Photo: Naturcentrum AB.Gypsy mushroom – one of the delicacies in the mountains. But be careful, it can be mistaken for other species. Photo: Naturcentrum AB.

Fungi – appreciated by cattle

and people

In the early 18th century, people didn’t normally eat fungi. They were considered poisonous, slimy and related to toads. But it was long known that both reindeer and cattle love fungi. In the bolete season, cattle would wander long distances in search of these desirable fungi. And then they would come home late for milking.

Wood-decay fungi valuable for people and biologists

People have long known about the value of polypores, the hard fungi that grow on trees. Wood-decay fungi were used for a number of things such as tinder, perfume or for dyeing wool. But you had to be able to tell them apart. Today, it’s almost only biologists that are interested in wood-decay polypores. Some of them give an indication that the forest may be particularly valuable. They are called signal species.

Sometimes you can detect a scent of aniseed across your trail. If you have a keen nose you can find the source: the creamy white diamond willow fungus which grows on old sallows and aspen. Its pleasant aroma has long been recognised. In the past, young men often put a piece of this fungus in their breast pocket when they went out dancing.

Red ring rot is one of the few species that can get through the pines’ defence of resin. If you find a polypore growing on a pine, you may suspect it’s red ring rot. It also tells you that the pine is more than 100 years old. Red ring rot and diamond willow are signal species that occur in Gränslandet.

Tinder fungus and phellinus fungus are two slightly more common fungi that are easy to spot. The fruit body of the tinder fungus is also perfect for getting a fire going. But first you have to boil, dry and flatten it. After meticulous preparations you have an unfailing brown scrap to bring in your pocket.

Phellinus fungus burns very slowly and therefore people put it on the hearth in the evening. It glows all night and in the morning you just have to blow on it to rekindle the fire.

Fungus - Haploporus odorusFungus Haploporus odorus

Red ring rot fungusRed ring rot fungus

Tinder fungusTinder fungus
Photo: Jonas Stenström

Photo: Naturcentrum AB.

You are not permitted to...

... break off wood-decay fungi growing on trees or dead trunks. Remember that some of them are rare and endangered, so just enjoy them where they are.