Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Nine new species of wild mushrooms discovered in India







Eastern Himalayas, particularly the small mountain state of Sikkim, is emerging as a treasure trove for botanists, mycologists and naturalists who in the year 2015 alone have discovered as many as nine species of wild mushrooms (belonging to kingdom fungi) of which at least one species is highly appreciated and consumed by the locals.


Scientists from the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have found these species from North Sikkim particularly in the subalpine region dominated by coniferous trees. Of these nine species, four belong to the genus Lactarius, whose characteristics are that they exude latex in large quantity and are commonly known as milk-caps.


“These new species of fungi are mushrooms, seasonal in nature growing in different times particularly during the rainy season. These species were established after undertaking extensive and intensive field explorations followed by thorough micro-morphological studies and molecular systematics of the species,” Kanad Das, scientist of BSI who discovered the species told The Hindu .


Mr Das, along with his team, has taken at least four survey tours to Sikkim to discover these species.


Among the species discovered Canthrellus sikkimensis is edible. This species is tall and slim and interestingly is being consumed by locals. “What is unique about this species of Canthrellus is that they are more than double the size of other species of the genus reported from Indian subcontinent. While other species of the genus is about 3-4 inches high this species is about six to seven inches high,” Mr Das said.


Other interesting species discovered by Mr. Das and his team is Austroboletus oblivceoglutinosus which exudes a pleasant smell and has very bright colours. “When we located the species in the wild we found that a number of flies had got stuck to the cap of the mushroom attracted by the odour and the colour,” he pointed out .


“Fungi (including mushrooms) play a very important role in the growth and development of forests, as food, in industry and even in medicines like antibiotics. The discovery of new species can open new avenues for research and enhance availability of new food,” BSI Director Paramjit Singh told The Hindu.


So far about 2,000 species of mushrooms have been discovered from India. Across the world about 12,000 to 15000 species of mushrooms (small representative of Fungi) are found.



It is believed that there are 5.1 million species of fungi are expected to be found in the world of which 1.03 lakh species are so far identified and reported from the world.



Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/nine-new-species-of-wild-mushrooms-discovered-in-india/article7682681.ece