Big History


Mycological day

Mycological day


Ana María Pujante

On Sunday 15th October a mycological day was held at the Big History centre as part of the activities organised at the IV Rural Women’s Conference in Aras de los Olmos. Antonio Núñez and Virginia Espinosa, prepared a “belén de setas” and a “mesa de trufas” and gave a very interesting talk on “Hongos de la Serranía”.

Aspect of the classroom at the beginning of the presentation “Los hongos de la Serranía”.

During the talk Virginia explained what a fungi and a mushroom are:

  • Fungi are chlorophyll-deficient, spore-bearing organisms with filamentous, branching structures (HYPHAE).
  • The mushroom is the fruiting body of a fungus, made up of filaments (HYPHAE) that form a whole (MICELIUM), often not very visible, but which can be very large, even kilometric.

She talked about the different ways of life of fungi (saprophytes, parasites, symbionts), the morphological characteristics necessary to be able to identify the different species of mushrooms, focusing on the 6 essential aspects to be able to identify them:

  • Morphological characteristics:
    • Shape
    • Cap type
    • Type of hymenium
    • Type of stem
  • The ways of growth:
    • Witches’ run
    • In groups
    • Solitary
  • Organoleptic characteristics:
    • Smell
    • Taste
    • Touch
  • Fruiting season: when they can be harvested
  • Habitats in which they live: where they appear

She then showed us more than 25 images of the most popular mushrooms, both edible (saffron milk cap, woodwaxes, chamois, king trumpet, morels, boletus, etc.) and poisonous (Amanita phalloides, Cortinarius orellanus, etc.).

Amanita phalloides is considered to be one of the most poisonous mushrooms.

She then spoke about the different types of habitats existing in the Iberian system and what types of mushrooms can be found in each of them:

  • In pine forests at different altitudes and with limestone or acid soils
  • In holm oak, oak and cork oak forests with different soil types
  • In riparian forests
  • In meadows

She also talked about the regulations we should know and the basic equipment we need, the good practices and the necessary recommendations for when we go out in the mountains to pick mushrooms. She also showed us a large number of specialised guides so that we can get to know them better.

The day continued with the exhibition of the mushroom crib, in which the different habitats could be observed:

And finally she told us about truffles, explaining the different types (black, white, Italian, Chinese) and making us smell the artificial flavourings that are used in the market to flavour some products and sell them as truffled.

“Mesa de trufas”

A very interesting, didactic and very participative day, in which the large number of attendees were able to learn much better about the fascinating world of mushrooms. Thanks to Virginia, Toni and Salomé for organising the day and we hope that it will be repeated next year.