This Edible Mushroom Grows In Human Bodies

For better or for worse, untold numbers of fungi live on and within our bodies. 

Some of these fungi are faithful allies.  Others can harm our bodies only under certain circumstances.  Almost all of them, it turns out, are microscopic and mostly undetectable to the naked eye.

But what about the larger mushrooms that live in forests?  Do they ever engage in any sort of physical relationship with humans?

For a very long time, mushroom-forming fungi were never known to grow inside human bodies.  Instead, molds and yeasts — including species of Candida and Aspergillus — were almost always the main culprits implicated in human disease.

And then something strange happened.  In 1950, a doctor treated a 33-year-old man for fungal overgrowth of his toes.  Upon isolating the fungus, the doctor discovered that his patient’s foot infection was attributed not to any of the usual mold-producing suspects, but instead to a mushroom-forming species that commonly grows on trees.

Since that shocking discovery 70 years ago, researchers have documented this wild fungus growing on and within other human bodies.  To date, almost 100 cases of infection and a few unexpected deaths have been reported.

During a recent walk through a local floodplain, I encountered this fascinating mushroom and decided to film a video regarding its bizarre tendency to do such a thing — to colonize human bodies and cause infection.

Check out the brand new video to learn more!

In addition to the sights of tree-eating mushrooms, a January walk through my local woods is likely to yield splendid sightings of wintering songbirds.  Pictured here is one such bird who demonstrates something known as differential migration.  In short, males overwinter farther north than females.  Why is this?  Check out this recent Instagram post to learn more.Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

This Tree Wins The Award For “Worst Christmas Tree”

Greetings,

Before I share a brand new video with you, I want to provide a reminder that today — Monday, December 21st—  is the last day to register for Foraging Wild Mushrooms.  After today, registration will be closed for the season.

If you want to learn the skills involved in safely and successfully harvesting wild mushrooms with confidence, Foraging Wild Mushrooms can help you achieve that goal.

Click here to register before midnight.

And now onto this week’s brand new video.

The declining temperatures, sunlight, and vitamin D levels have all ushered in the official arrival of winter — a season in which humans enjoy bringing trees indoors.

But not just any tree, of course.  Conifer trees — and more specifically pines, spruces, and firs — are among the most harvested and celebrated trees during the holiday season.

Some of these trees are soft and flexible (e.g., white pine).  Others are lush and aromatic (e.g., balsam fir).  All of them, it goes without saying, are perpetually green.

But there is one conifer tree that has never made the cut, and chances are good that, if you do consider yourself an arboreal celebrant of the holiday season, you’ve never invited this particular tree into your home.

In fact, out of all the trees discussed so far, this one would certainly be labeled “The Worst Christmas Tree.”

During a recent walk through a conifer landscape, I encountered this special tree and decided to film a video in which I attempted to answer several pertinent questions.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the brand new video!

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Foraging Wild Mushrooms — Online Course Is Now Open For Enrollment!

Greetings!

The winter mushroom season is almost upon us, and at the request of those eager to pursue educational opportunities during the winter months, I’ve decided to open the doors to Foraging Wild Mushrooms for the next 7 days. 

This 4-season online course is designed to help you safely, successfully, and confidently forage wild mushrooms from the forest, from the field, and even from your own backyard.

Whether you’re interested in foraging for food, for medicine, for study, or just for fun, Foraging Wild Mushrooms covers the most important lessons to get you started.

In addition to over 70 step-by-step exclusive and instructional videos included within the course, you’ll also receive:

  • Supplemental handouts covering mushroom anatomy, terminology, and biology that you can download and print for easy viewing.
  • A 42-page guide to medicinal mushrooms that summarizes the latest research on the most popular medicinal fungi with over 75 peer-reviewed references.
  • Immediate and lifetime access to all materials.

Additionally, a portion of all proceeds derived from course sales will be donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to protect and restore exceptional places and forests for the benefit of present and future generations.

Since 1932, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has protected more than a quarter-million acres of natural places.  To express gratitude, and to ensure that these and many more wild places exist for generations to come, I find it imperative to support organizations that in turn directly support the land.

Therefore, a portion of all proceeds derived from this enrollment period will be donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for use in land conservation.

Please note that enrollment for Foraging Wild Mushrooms is open for one week only — from today until Monday, December 21st.  After that, enrollment will be closed for the season.

To learn more about the course, check out this video which gives an overview of what you can expect.

Thanks for your continued support, and I hope to see you in there!
—Adam Haritan

Yellow Knight: Thoughts On Eating A “Deadly” Mushroom

To determine whether a mushroom is edible or not, time is one factor worth considering. 

A mushroom that has been eaten for centuries with few adverse events reported is a mushroom that most people would consider to be edible. 

On the other hand, a mushroom with a centuries-old reputation of being toxic is certainly a mushroom whose edibility should be called into serious question, even in modern times.

But not all mushrooms fit neatly into those two categories.

Take the Yellow Knight, for instance. 

The Yellow Knight is a wild mushroom that had been safely eaten for centuries.  In the 1990s, however, consumption of the Yellow Knight suddenly and unexpectedly became linked to multiple human poisonings.  Some of these poisonings resulted in death.

During a recent walk through a pine forest, I encountered the infamous Yellow Knight mushroom.  After careful consideration, I decided to harvest the mushroom and cook it, and in the following video I explain why I would do such a thing.

If you are interested in learning more about a common yet controversial fall mushroom, check out the brand new video!

Deeper into the forest full of Yellow Knight mushrooms, this wildflower was blossoming under red pine trees.  Known as Yellow Ladies’ Tresses, this orchid is involved in a tangled web of specialized relationships.  Check out this recent Instagram post to learn more.Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Reflections On Eating One Of The Strangest Mushrooms In The World

Stinkhorns, with their presumptuous shapes and foul odors, are truly some of the strangest creatures in the biological world.  Any rational person could be forgiven for assuming that such bizarre fungi couldn’t possibly be edible.

Fortunately, however, nature isn’t always rational, and foul-smelling entities with presumptuous shapes can sometimes be eaten.

Take Ravenel’s Stinkhorn, for instance.

This strongly-scented fungus grows in wood chips and along trails during the autumn months.  As it turns out, Ravenel’s Stinkhorn is considered to be edible with one caveat:  only its immature “eggs” are supposedly fit to be eaten.

During a recent walk, I encountered quite a few of these funny-looking stinkhorns growing alongside their primordial eggs.  Rather than snap a few photographs and flee the scene, I decided to harvest a few eggs and see for myself just how edible these quirky creatures could be.

If you are interested in hearing my candid thoughts on eating one of the strangest mushrooms in the world, check out the brand new video!

Speaking of strange fungi, this odd-looking pair inhabits forests in eastern North America and performs critical roles in maintaining the health of oak trees.  Check out this recent Instagram post to learn more.Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

The Mushroom With A Questionable Reputation

Greetings,

Before I share a brand new video with you, I want to provide a reminder that today — Monday, September 28th—  is the last day to register for Foraging Wild Mushrooms.  After midnight, registration will be closed for the season.

If you want to learn the skills involved in safely and successfully harvesting wild mushrooms with confidence, Foraging Wild Mushrooms can help you achieve that goal.

Click here to register before midnight.

Now on to this week’s brand new video — a video in which we take a look at the discrepancies involved in classifying nature.

Over the years I’ve come to realize that things in nature don’t always fit so neatly into human-constructed categories. 

Take the Freckled Dapperling, for instance.

The Freckled Dapperling is a wild mushroom that grows on plant debris during the autumn season.  Some sources claim that the Freckled Dapperling is edible; others state that it’s inedible; and plenty of other sources claim that it’s poisonous.

Needless to say, the Freckled Dapperling is a mushroom that’s certainly worthy of our attention, and in the following video, I do my best to answer some very important questions about this fascinating fungus.

To learn more about the questionable mushroom known as the Freckled Dapperling, check out the brand new video!

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

The Delicious Wild Mushroom That Isn’t Always Recommended To Beginners

Greetings,

An autumn mushroom that you may see over the next few weeks is the Parasol Mushroom.  Edible, delicious, and easily spotted in the woods, the Parasol Mushroom is a favorite amongst many foragers for its nutty smell and taste.  

The Parasol Mushroom, however, is not the easiest mushroom to positively identify because it shares similar features with several other species — some of which are toxic.  Many field guides and online articles fail to include a sufficient number of images and offer little help in identifying the Parasol Mushroom.  Such lack of detail can leave readers with more questions than answers, and ultimately with no Parasol Mushrooms for dinner!

To address this issue and to assist with the identification process, I created an extremely detailed video outlining all the important pieces of information that any forager needs to know in order to safely and confidently harvest the Parasol Mushroom for the table.  This video is one of over 75 exclusive videos featured in Foraging Wild Mushrooms — a four-season online course designed to help you confidently and successfully forage wild mushrooms.  

Registration for Foraging Wild Mushrooms is open until Monday, September 28th at midnight.  After September 28th, registration will be closed. 

If you’ve ever considered harvesting wild mushrooms but didn’t know where to start, or where to go, or how to discern between edible and poisonous species, Foraging Wild Mushrooms will equip you with the skills necessary to ensure that your harvests are safe and successful. 

To get a sneak peek into the kinds of content found within the course, please enjoy this video.

A portion of all proceeds derived from course sales will be donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to protect and restore exceptional places and forests for the benefit of present and future generations. 

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

—Adam Haritan

Foraging Wild Mushrooms ~ Online Course Is Now Open For Enrollment

I’m very excited to announce that Foraging Wild Mushrooms is currently open for enrollment!

This 4-season online course is designed to help you safely, successfully, and confidently forage wild mushrooms from the forest, from the field, and even from your own backyard.

Whether you’re interested in foraging for food, for medicine, for study, or just for fun, Foraging Wild Mushrooms covers the most important lessons to get you started.

In addition to over 75 step-by-step exclusive and instructional videos included within the course, you’ll also receive:

  • Supplemental handouts covering mushroom anatomy, terminology, and biology that you can download and print for easy viewing.
  • A 42-page guide to medicinal mushrooms that summarizes the latest research on the most popular medicinal fungi with over 75 peer-reviewed references.
  • Immediate and lifetime access to all materials.

Additionally, I’m equally excited to let you know that a portion of all proceeds derived from course sales will be donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to protect and restore exceptional places and forests for the benefit of present and future generations.

Since 1932, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has protected more than a quarter-million acres of natural places.  To express gratitude, and to ensure that these and many more wild places exist for generations to come, I find it imperative to support organizations that in turn directly support the land.

Therefore, a portion of all proceeds derived from this enrollment period will be donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for use in land conservation.

Please note that enrollment for Foraging Wild Mushrooms is open for one week only — from today until Monday, September 28th at midnight.  After that, enrollment will be closed.

To learn more about the course, check out this video which gives an overview of what you can expect.

I hope to see you in there!
—Adam Haritan

Looking for Buffalo Nuts (New video!) + Nature Photography Workshop

Greetings,

Some plants are easy to find.  Other plants require time, turnpike tolls, and chance encounters with botanists’ field notes in order to pinpoint their precise locations.

Buffalo Nut, an understory shrub with a rather bizarre lifestyle, falls into the latter category.

My first encounter with Buffalo Nut took place more than 5 years ago.  Since that initial sighting, I had never seen the plant again.

A few weeks ago, I came across a list of plants that a few botanists had compiled regarding the flora of certain forests.  One of those forests was located in the southwestern portion of the state, and one of the plants included on the list was the elusive Buffalo Nut.

Intrigued, I decided to plan a visit to this forest in search of Buffalo Nut, though because I was quite unfamiliar with the area, I knew that I’d be embarking on a small-scale adventure.  What excited me the most was finding its fruits, because years ago when I first discovered the plant, I had only witnessed it in flower.

The trip was planned, though the questions remained.  Would I find the fruits?  Would I even find the plant?  Why are turnpike tolls so expensive?

In this brand new video, I recount the story of my recent adventure in search of an unassuming denizen of the forest.

Click here to watch the video.

If you are interested in learning artistic nature photography skills, there are two upcoming opportunities to learn directly from an expert in the field.  Michael Haritan (my father) is a photographer with over 30 years of experience.  He will be teaching two separate classes in southwestern Pennsylvania (Allegheny County) on the techniques involved in using the camera to create images worthy of artistic merit.  If you are interested in taking your photography skills to the next level, these all-day classes are definitely worth the investment.

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

4 Fascinating Orange Mushrooms Worth Learning

Greetings,

Orange is not the first word that comes to mind when most people think about a hemlock forest.  Greens, grays, tans, and browns are instead the colors that typify these densely shaded areas — especially as the early days of summer approach.

With careful observation, however, and with a directed focus on the fungal world, any color can easily make itself known in a dark forest.

On a recent walk through one of these areas, the only mushrooms that I encountered were orange.  Of course, I thought nothing of it upon seeing the first orange species, and I wasn’t too surprised after finding a second orange mushroom either.

But then I found a third, and eventually a fourth.

And I inevitably thought to myself, “Someone should document this.”

Fortunately, I brought my camera along for the adventure and decided to film the orange mushrooms that were appearing in succession.  All four mushrooms are fascinating, though a few of them are often overlooked and underappreciated despite their brilliant coloration.

If you are interested in learning more about orange mushrooms that may be growing in a forest near you, check out the new video.

When I am not looking down at the forest floor for plants and mushrooms, I am looking up into the canopy for birds of all colors.  Fortunately, I live in a region characterized by its avian diversity, and if you are interested in seeing some of the birds that have recently posed for my camera, check out the Learn Your Land Instagram page.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan