Pines and Fungi

Date: 1st June 2022

Today we cover the symbiotic relationship between fungi, land and plant but with a particular focus on pines.

The internet is showcasing the scientific breakthroughs with #fungi. We’ve seen the Netflix documentary “Fantastic Fungi” pop up in trending. Viral news reports about fungi being used as compostable packaging.

We’re on the verge of discovering so many possibilities with fungi. Researchers believe that plants are inter-connected underground; they talk and share resources through the fungal roots known as mycorrhiza.

While theory has been talked about since the late 1800’s ongoing studies and trials this century have strengthened this case.

With a current spotlight on fungi we’re discovering more about how nature develops. We’re now finding that introduced fungi may be the culprits for laying the foundation for wilding pines. Two species of fungi can be commonly found underneath pines; Suillus (your bolete mushroom family) and Rhizopogon (your false truffles).

While some of these varieties are known to be edible* they pose a problem for our native environment.
Suillus and Rhizopogon are notorious spreaders into our grasslands. They have the ability to change the composition of the soil making it inviting for pine invasion. More importantly, they can remain dormant in the ground without a host for many years, making them a real threat to the ongoing efforts of controlling wilding pines.

For further reading on this subject we highly recommend reading this article from NZ Geographic.

*Caution: Please thoroughly research identification before foraging these wild mushrooms.

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