Ethnomycology

Ethnomycology

1. Common names of fungi

2. Edible mushrooms

3. Fire and clothing made from tinder fungus

 

The term ethnomycology describes the study of the historical heritage and sociological impacts of fungi by mankind and can be seen as a section of ethnobotany and ethnobiology. The term includes topics such as fire-making with the tinder fungus and applications in folk medicine. The use of mushrooms with psychoactive substances such as the toadstool can be a research topic, too.

We would like to provide information and links on the topics of tinder-craft and mushrooms as food.

AIGNER & KRISAI-GREILHUBER (2016) have published a study on the mushroom knowledge of the population of the Waldviertel. The Waldviertel is part of the Bohemian Forest project area, so there is a certain transferability of the results, subject to regional differences in the types of mushrooms, common names and kitchen recipes used.

 

1. Common names of fungi

The following wisdom is used in mycology: "The common names change from place to place, the scientific names from time to time".

To confirm this wisdom we would like to give you the well-known common names of the chestnut bolete

Maronen-Röhrling
chestnut bolete (Imleria badia)          picture: Peter Karasch

 

and show the history scientifically valid names over time:

In 1818 the first description was made by Elias Magnus Fries Boletus castaneus ß badius Fr. 1818. Then followed:

Boletus badius (Fr.) Fr. 1821

Boletus badius var. castaneus (Fr.) Fr. 1828

Boletus glutinosus Krombh. 1836

Boletus vaccinus Fr. 1838

Rostkovites badia (Fr.) P. Karst. 1881

Viscipellis badia (Fr.) Quél. 1886

Ixocomus badia (Fr.) Quél. 1888

Suillus badius (Fr.) Kuntze 1898

Boletus badius var. glutinosus (Krombh.) Smotl.

Tubiporus vaccinus (Fr.) Ricken 1918

Xerocomus badius (Fr.) E.-J. Gilbert 1931

Imleria badia (Fr.) Vizzini 2014

We know of common names (vgl. ZEITLMAYR 1955):

Blaupilz

Braunkappe

Bräunl

Frauenschwamm

Graspilz

Marienpilz

Maronen-Röhrling

Marone

Nadelstreu-Maroni

Schafsschwamm

Schmalpilzl

Tannenpilz

Weishedl

 

Literature cited:

ZEITLMAYR L (1955): Knaurs Pilzbuch von Linus Zeitlmayr mit 70 farbigen Pilzbildern von Claus Caspari. München.

 

2. Edible mushrooms

Mushrooms have been used as food since the Paleolithic Age. In the history of mycology in the Bohemian Forest, it is pointed out that many mushroom amateurs, mycology-related interest has arisen in many cases by collecting mushrooms. In Europe there are countries and regions that are referred to as mycophilic and those that are considered mycophobic. The entire Bohemian Forest is clearly mycophile, empirical knowledge has developed here over the centuries-old use of mushrooms as food from the forest.

Since realms of publications in the literature and Internet deal with the subject of edible mushrooms, we would like to recommend only a few further links here, combined with the note that there is also a large number of articles and websites with dubious content on the Internet. So when it comes to the identification and use of mushrooms for food, please always use common sense and only reliable sources. Unknown species of mushrooms are potentially deadly poisonous, which means that mushrooms that are recognized as edible and fresh only definitely belong in the cooking pot. In Germany you will find useful information, contacts to mushroom experts and associations on the topic of mushrooms on the website of the German Society for Mycology. In Austria the same applies to the ÖMG. In the Czech Republic, mushroom fans can get information from the Czech Mycological Society. There is also an information page about toadstools.

Nowadays, mushrooms also have a variety of uses as a delicious and healthy change on the menu, even beyond "folk nutrition". There are hardly any limits to the creativity in the kitchen if it is not the classic "Bohemian mushroom goulash". Today everything goes according to the motto "wild mushrooms as healthy superfood, not cheap fillers".

Schwammerl mit Knödeln
A Bohemian classic: mushroom with dumplings
picture: Tanja Major
Mönchskopf und Kutteln
For advanced: soup with trooping funnel and tripe
picture: Tanja Major

If you don't dare to go alone and have no experts in the circle of friends, you can take courses for beginners such as of the MushroomCoach training.

At this point we would like to present a selection of mushrooms and unedible poisonous doubles. You can find detailed descriptions of all known mushrooms from the Bohemian Forest here.

When using images to determine, please consider that mushrooms of one species can look very different depending on maturity and water content. A list of edible mushrooms recommended in Germany can be found here.

Several species of mushrooms are assessed regionally and individually differently. These species can be found in a further list.

As a mushroom collector, you should also familiarize yourself with the sometimes life-threatening types of toadstools. Depending on the definition and dosage, there are certainly more than 300 types of toadstool in the project area. Below we show a selection.

 

Karbolegerling Graue Varietät
Agaricus xanthodermus var. griseus
picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Karbolegerling
Agaricus xanthodermus
picture: Gerhard Schuster
Amanita gemmata
Amanita gemmata
picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Fliegenpilze
Amanita muscaria
picture: Peter Karasch
Pantherpilz
Amanita pantherina
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Grüner Knollenblätterpilz
Amanita phalloides
picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Grüner Knollenblätterpilz Weiße Varietät
Amanita phalloides var. alba
picture: Michaela u. Gernot Friebes
Königsfliegenpilze
Amanita regalis
picture: Michaela u. Gernot Friebes
Kegelhütiger Knollenblätterpilz
Amanita virosa
picture: Peter Karasch
Schönfußröhrling
Caloboletus calopus
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Wurzelnder Bitterröhrling
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Wurzelnder Bitterröhrling
Caloboletus radicans mit typischer Blaufärbung
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Satansröhrling
Rubroboletus satanas
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Gallenröhrling
Tylopilus felleus
picture: Gerhard Schuster
Trichterling
Clitocybe phyllophila
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Trichterlinge
Clitocybe rivulosa
picture: Michaela u. Gernot Friebes
Faltentintling
Coprinopsis atramentaria
picture: Peter Karasch
Orangefarbiger Hautkopf
Cortinarius malicorius
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Orangefuchsiger Raukopf
Cortinarius orellanus
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Spitzgebuckelter Raukopf
Cortinarius rubellus
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Riesen-Rötling
Entoloma sinuatum
picture: Peter Karasch
Gifthäubling
Galerina marginata
picture: Gerhard Schuster
Frühjahrslorchel
Gyromitra esculenta
picture: Felix Hampe
Zipfellorchel
Gyromitra fastigiata
picture: Gerhard Schuster
Bischofsmütze
Gyromitra infula
picture: Gerhard Schuster
Zimtfarbener Weichporling
Hapalopilus nidulans
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Schwärzender Saftling
Hygrocybe conica
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Grünblättriger Schwefelkopf
Hypholoma fasciculare
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Inocybe adaequata
Inocybe adaequata
picture: Jesko Kleine
Inocybe assimilata
Inocybe assimilata
picture: Michaela u. Gernot Friebes
Inocybe corydalina
Inocybe corydalina
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Rötender Rißpilz
Inocybe erubescens
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Inocybe lanuginosa
Inocybe lanuginosa
picture: Jiri Kubasek
Leotia lubrica
Leotia lubrica
picture: Peter Karasch
Lepiota brunneoincarnata
Lepiota brunneoincarnata
picture: Jesko Kleine
Rettich-Helmling
Mycena pura
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Grünlng
Tricholoma equestre
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Tiger-Ritterling
Tricholoma pardalotum
picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Schwefelritterling
Tricholoma sulphureum
picture: Gerhard Schuster

And of course there are significantly more edible wild mushrooms than porcini, chestnut and chanterelle in the Bohemian Forest. Depending on the individual definition, more than 300 species of mushrooms in the region (sometimes only in small quantities) are probably suitable as edible mushrooms. Please also note that very few of them are easily digestible. We recommend a cooking time of at least 15 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius. Some species such as the honey fungus (Armillaria mellea agg.) Should be pre-cooked in boiling water for 5 minutes before preparation.

 

Speisepilze
Boletes are less dangerous for beginners, because the life-threatening
poisonous mushrooms belong to the agarics or lorels.  
picture: Tanja Major

 

The following selection is not to be regarded as a general recommendation for consumption. Some species may be legally protected regionally. According to our knowledge, the somewhat chewy yellow stagshorn (Calocera viscosa) is only used in mixed mushroom dishes in the Czech part of the Bohemian Forest. Some species such as some psalliota (agaricus) accumulate heavy metals or such as e.g. the chestnut bolete of radioactive substances. Individual intolerance or allergic reactions are also possible. It is recommended to taste only small amounts of one type of mushroom the first time. As with other foods, the rule is "the dose makes the poison"

 

Agaricus augustus                  picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Agaricus campestris              picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Agaricus sylvaticus                picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Amanita fulva                          picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Armillaria gallica                   picture: Gerhard Schuster
Armillaria ostoyae                   picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Auricularia auriculae-judae       picture: Gerhard Schuster
Boletus aestivalis                   picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Boletus edulis                        picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Calocera viscosa                   picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Calocybe gambosa                 picture: Gerhard Schuster
Calvatia gigantea                           picture: Peter Karasch
Cantharellus amethysteus       picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Cantharellus cibarius             picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Canthar. tubaeformis var. lutescens  picture: Dr. M. Theiss
Cantharellus tubaeformis         picture: Gerhard Schuster
Chlorophyllum olivieri             picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Clitopilus prunulus             picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Coprinus comatus                   picture: Gerhard Schuster
Cortinarius caperatus              picture: Gerhard Schuster
Cortinarius varius                picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Craterellus cornucopioides       picture: Gerhard Schuster
Disciotis venosa                  picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Flammulina elastica             picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Hortiboletus rubellus            picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Hydnum repandum                  picture: Gerhard Schuster
Laccaria amethystea               picture: Gerhard Schuster
Laccaria laccata agg.             picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Lactarius deterrimus               picture: Gerhard Schuster
Lactarius lignyotus                 picture: Gerhard Schuster
Lactifluus volemus agg.   picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Lactifluus volemus agg.           picture: Gerhard Schuster
Laetiporus sulphureus   picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Leccinum albostipitatum         picture: Gerhard Schuster
Leccinum pseudoscabrum       picture: Gerhard Schuster
Lepista nuda                          picture: Gerhard Schuster
Lycoperdon perlatum                picture: Gerhard Schuster
Lyoph. decastes var. loricatum   picture: P. u. W. Eimann
Melanoleuca cognata           picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Morchella elata agg.             picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Morchella elata agg.             picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Morchella esculenta            picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Kuehneromyces mutabilis           picture: Peter Karasch
Neoboletus erythropus
Neoboletus erythropus
picture: Peter Karasch
Phallus impudicus
Phallus impudicus
picture: Peter Karasch
Pleurotus ostreatus                picture: Gerhard Schuster
Pleurotus pulmonarius             picture: Gerhard Schuster
Pluteus cervinus           picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Polyporus squamosus   picture: Petra u. Werner Eimann
Rhodocollybia butyracea        picture: Gerhard Schuster
Russula cyanoxantha         picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Russula vesca                        picture: Gerhard Schuster
Russula violeipes                     picture: Gerhard Schuster
Sparassis crispa                   picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Strobilurus esculentus           picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Suillus grevillei                       picture: Gerhard Schuster
Suillus luteus                       picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Suillus viscidus                   picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Tricholoma terreum               picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Vascellum pratense           picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Volvariella gloiocephala          picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Xerocomellus chrysenteron  picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss
Xerocomus subtomentosus   picture: Dr. Matthias Theiss

 

3. Fire and clothing from the tinder fungus

 

Zunderschwamm
Tinder fungus  has been useful to mankind since the Stone Age.  picture: Peter Karasch

 

The tinder fungus (Fomes fomentarius), also known as Huder- or Hodersau in the Bavarian Forest, was already the mushroom of the year in Germany in 1995.

It's use in ecosystem as a natural indicator, it's application in naturopathy and the millennia-old tradition of making fires as well as clothes and cleaning rags (Hodern).

The widespread use in fire production with flint and steel was only ended with the invention of the matches. Nowadays archaeologists and outdoor enthusiasts are inspired about the old technique of fire production.

 

Zunderfeuer
To start a fire with tinder takes some practice.       picture: Annemarie Karasch

 

The world's best-known user of the Huder- or Hadersau, as the polypore is called in the Bavarian Forest, was Ötzi, the best-researched Stone Age mummy in the world. Of course there were tinder sponges long before Ötzi’s birth. In 2009, Kreisel & Ansorge reported in the journal for mycology about what was probably the largest ever documented subfossil fungal fruiting body. It came from an pit near Stralsund and was dated to around 7300 years. Since the oldest known ancestor of beech (Fagus pliocenica) have been preserved as fossils from the tertiary, it is quite possible that tinder fungus have existed on earth for more than 3 million years. It was no coincidence that Ötzi also had the tinder with him. It is well known that until the matches were developed around 180 years ago, the easiest way to make a fire was with steel and tinder. Fire was made with forged steel, flint and tinder and the burning embers were kept. You could also transport smoldering tinder in a jar for some time. The term tinder includes all types of flammable materials, e.g. prepared reed mace seeds. However, almost all prehistoric evidence shows that the tinder sponge is the most common material used. The ancient practice of carrying the easter fire from place to place with burning tinder has survived to these days.

 

Zunderlappen
Tinder cloth hang to dry.  picture: Peter Karasch

 

The tinder fungus occurs in the entire northern hemisphere, eastwards over Russia to Mongolia (also India, Pakistan) and westwards in North America. Since the favorite substrate of the tinder fungus is beech, it has a very large area here (see www.pilze-deutschland.de). Birch is the second most common host tree, but as a fast-growing pioneer plant it has significantly smaller fruiting bodies than old giant beech trunks. Other types of hardwood such as hazel, cherry and walnut are less common. The frequent occurrence of tinder fungus in forest areas is a good indicator of their conservation value. There he is considered a indicator of nature value and infects weakened trees as a parasitic fungus. After the infestation, he can live for a while as a saprobiont in the affected wood and generates fruiting bodies that are up to 30 years old. In an early stage it begins as a hemispheric outgrow and usually develop in a console shape up to 10-30 (60) cm in diameter. New rings are formed in each growth phase, between two and three per year. If a standing dead tree and its fruiting bodies fall over, the fruiting bodies continue to grow towards the geocenter, which sometimes leads to interesting shapes. If you are looking for and “find” tinder fungus on e.g. coniferous trees such as spruce, you probably have his double, the red banded polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola) in your hand. 

 

Rotrandporling
Red banded Polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola)          Bild: Peter Karasch

 

Old specimens in particular can look illusively similar on the top, but a cut through the tough consoles is enough to distinguish the rust to tobacco-brown tissue of the tinder bracket from the lighter red banded polypore. If you have a lighter with you, you can also make the flame test on the top of the upper surface in case of doubt. The varnish-like outer layer melts in the red banded polypore. By the way, the tinder fungus produces a white rot in the wood through the breakdown of lignins, while the red banded polypore causes brown rot after the breakdown of cellulose.

Fomes fomentarius has been an important supplier of tinder to mankind since at least the Stone Age. To use it, you first have to peel the fresh fungus. The softer middle layer is then soaked, boiled, tapped, soaked in urine for a few weeks or treated with nitre and dried. The result of this complex process is a tobacco-brown felted mass that begins to glow when iron sparks strike. This process also has to be practiced, it becomes very difficult when the material is damp and the weather is damp.

Untreated tinder was made into "wound sponge". You could buy he wound sponge until the 19th century in pharmacies as a styptic dressing. Since the tapped and dried tinder sponge can be drawn and applied like felt, it was very utilize. Large pieces were made into garments. The production of robes made of tinder material is known from several dioceses. The need for tinder was so high at times that it was almost extinct in Germany and had to be imported from Eastern Europe. From the area around Todtnau (Black Forest) it is known that around 1830 there were still three tinder factories. As late as 1871, one of these factories manufactured 750 hundredweight tinder. Licenses for the tinder harvest were assigned by several forest districts.

It was only towards the end of the 19th century that the invention of matches replaced the tinder when making fire. This development was probably the rescue for the species and it's hosts, often noble old beeches. Now, instead of the fungus, an old craft and formerly important economic branch in Germany, has died out. Here and there, traditions such as the festival of charcoal burner and tinder tapper from Neustadt am Rennsteig in Thuringia. The Rennsteigmuseum has published what is probably the most extensive collection on the tinder bracket.

 

Zunderverarbeitung
Tinder-craft    picture: Peter Karasch

 

This craft has been preserved in Transylvania to this day. But even there, the number of artisans has shrunk to a few dozen in the past 25 years. The old technique is usually passed on from father to son within the families. Not least due to the creative DGfM-PilzCoach movement and a growing group of interested for "vegan leather", which in this case should probably be called fungan leather, there is a decent demand for tinder products in this country, so that the remaining artisans in Transylvania are well employed and also in Germany new creative ideas arise with this material.

Zunderkerne, Model und Kappe
Tinder kernels, model und cap   picture: Peter Karasch

The peeled tinder kernels are soaked in potash, boiled in leach and hydrochloric acid until they are soft. The pieces pretreated in this way are expansed by tapping (sponge tapper) and pulling to ten times the size. Then they are dried and further processed into hats, bags, table-cloths and small souvenirs.

 

Hüte und Taschen aus Zunder
Caps and bags made of tinder   picture: Peter Karasch