In this article, you will discover various mushroom types and how uniquely different they are from each other.
Mushrooms are very interesting types of organisms. They are neither a vegetable nor a fruit. In fact, they are not even a plant. Instead, they are a type of fungus.
If you are not sure what a fungus is, it is any type of organism that produces spores and that feeds of organic matter.
Mushrooms are one of these types of fungus and each mushroom species are placed into one of four categories.
The Four Different Mushrooms Types
There are tens of thousands of species of mushrooms that exist in the world. Because of the sheer number of varieties, categorizing them makes perfect sense.
It helps scientists sort them into categories where each type has similar characteristics. Each of these four categories represents a specific way that mushrooms can receive nutrients or feed themselves.
Understanding how mushrooms feed themselves or receive nutrients helps you understand which category they belong to.
Recognizing which category a certain type of mushroom belongs to can help guide you to knowing where to find them.
If you wish to be a mushroom forager, then you definitely need to understand these four categories to help you become a successful mushroom hunter.
Category #1: Saprotrophic
The mushroom species that fall into the category of saprotrophic are some of the tastiest edible mushroom types you can get, such as the white button.
Certain mushrooms in this category are also some of the most popular for medicinal use, such as the shiitake. In fact, when you learn to understand where these types of mushrooms get their nutrients from, you’ll wonder why they are so extremely useful and tasty.
Saprotrophic mushrooms are a type of decomposing organism, receiving their food from decomposing matter. These types of organisms assist in the decomposing process of other organisms.
It means saprotrophic mushrooms play a vital and necessary role in nature, or the circle of life, by turning decaying materials into precious compost or soil.
Without these types of fungi, dead matter would take a lot longer to decay because of the fewer number of decomposers.
Because they feed off nearly all decaying organisms, you’ll find these types of mushrooms growing on dead wood, plants, or even animals.
Here are some of the common saprotrophic mushrooms:
- White button
Category #2: Mycorrhizal
Mycorrhizal mushrooms are very interesting to get to know. They are similar to the parasitic varieties, although more for teamwork; perfect examples of it.
These mushrooms can be found on roots of plants or trees, feeding themselves through their host.
This is the exact reason why you can find them in these areas, because they tangle or connect themselves to the roots.
This is so these mushrooms gain their nutrients directly from the plant or tree without having to go food-finding.
However, the host doesn’t miss out. The link actually serves as a two-way benefit to both the mushroom and their host.
First, these kinds of mushrooms will grow and produce quicker because they are constantly getting rich nutrients from their source.
Second, the plant or tree will receive extra nutrients from the mushrooms because they also feed off them, such as the moisture that is so abundant in mushrooms.
So, this two-way team effort of feeding each other helps both the host and the mushrooms to develop faster. This phenomenon is so amazing that some farmers allow mycorrhizal fungus’ to grow on their crops so it results in better growth.
Unfortunately, these mushrooms are quite difficult to cultivate because of this method of feeding, so they are mostly found in the wild.
Here are some of the common mycorrhizal mushrooms:
Category #3: Parasitic
As already mentioned, parasitic mushrooms are similar to mycorrhizal mushrooms. Their similarities lie in how they feed themselves or take in nutrients via their host.
The only difference is that parasitic type mushrooms are not the sharing kind.
Instead of allowing their host to benefit from them, it is more of a one-sided deal. While these mushrooms take nutrients from the plant or tree, the host cannot do the same.
This often leads to the host eventually dying, which is where a parasitic twist comes into play.
Some parasitic mushrooms can also adopt saprotrophic properties. Once their host finally dies, they survive by continuing to feed off them.
The lines between parasitic and saprotrophic kinds are sometimes blurred because of this. Although their host unfortunately dies because of them, the parasitic mushrooms are still useful mushrooms by subsequently decomposing their host’s remains.
Here are some of the common parasitic mushrooms:
- Caterpillar fungus
- Lion’s mane
- Honey fungus
Category #4: Endophytic
Finally, the fourth category is endophytic. The types of mushrooms that fall under this category consist of species that are more mysterious than those from other categories.
Many things are still unknown about these types of mushrooms, but they are typically a cross between the parasitic and mycorrhizal kinds.
The species found in this category are not always mushrooms but just fungus in general because most spores do not produce mushrooms.
They are considered parasitic because they live inside their host and feed off them. Therefore, you don’t usually get to see them and are almost impossible to find.
However, they are much easier to cultivate than mycorrhizal mushrooms. The similarities that endophytic and mycorrhizal mushrooms share is that they both take care of their host rather than kill them.
But, if by chance the host does die, these species continue to live on like parasitic varieties.
The Different Forms of Mushrooms
We all know that mushrooms have 2 benefits – for culinary or for medical purposes. As long as they are of the edible varieties, mushrooms are one of the world’s best health foods to eat.
Mushrooms are used only through consumption, offered in 3 different forms.
Form #1: Capsule
By offering mushroom’s many benefits in capsule form, it gives those not keen on consuming mushrooms, the opportunity to benefit from the many health properties. Turning the mushrooms into such a convenient supplement is one way to add the amazing health benefits to anyone’s diet.
The Thrive 6 Mushroom Complex – 120 Capsules is a perfect example of one such product that is extremely popular.
Form #2: Powder
Buying the mushroom in powdered form is another great way to include them into your diet if you don’t like eating them whole or raw.
This form allows the health benefits of mushrooms to be taken with a beverage, usually dissolved water. 14 Mushroom Organic Blend Powder is a popular item for those who want to incorporate this their regular diet or weight loss program.
Form #3: Raw
The final form of consuming mushrooms is in their raw form. People who buy products such as the 365 Everyday Value Organic Mixed Mushrooms tend to use it for cooking.
True mushroom lovers most likely purchase these products or forms.
Conclusion: The Different Mushroom Types and Forms
Reading about the 4 different mushroom types you should know, is a great way to help build your knowledge on mushrooms. Whatever your reasons, this article is a great way to understand more about this incredible organism.
Whatever your reason or whatever purpose you may have, you can now feel much more confident about your understanding of the mushroom community.
To become a better mushroom forager, discover even more information here: A Beginner’s Guide to Becoming A Mushroom Hunter