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Morning photo: Forest friends

A break from winter

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A parasol mushroom growing in a forest in Upper Austria. This is a variety I’ve not yet found in Colorado, though the guidebooks say a similar species does grow in the U.S.

FRISCO — After writing a story about the importance of biodiversity, I went back to a folder from last July to look over the mushroom images I shot during a few forest visits in Austria. The biodiversity story got me thinking about how some of the mushrooms I found in Europe were completely different from anything I’ve ever seen in the West, while a few other species were almost identical. Why is it that some species are common on both sides of the Atlantic, while others are more specialized to either the Rockies or the forests of Central Europe? I’m not really sure, but I think it has something to do with the plant communities. Since some fungi are in specialized symbiotic relationships with certain species of shrubs and trees, they may not be able to grow if those plants are present. Maintaining healthy forests requires making sure that all the constituent elements of the ecosystem are there, and in Colorado, we know so little about the fungi that are a key part of the ecology that we may just be stumbling in the dark.

Another species of fungi that I've never seen in Colorado.

Another species of fungi that I’ve never seen in Colorado.

Austria or Colorado? You decide.

Austria or Colorado? You decide.

This coral mushroom growing in Austria is almost identical to species found right here in Summit County.

This coral mushroom growing in Austria is almost identical to species found right here in Summit County.

Immature parasol mushroom.

Immature parasol mushroom.

A cracked-cap bolete growing in Upper Austria.

A cracked-cap bolete growing in Upper Austria.

Golden, edible chanterelles grow both in Austria and Colorado, fruiting at about the same time in mid-summer.

Golden, edible chanterelles grow both in Austria and Colorado, fruiting at about the same time in mid-summer.

 

 

 

 

 

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