THE ENCHANTED NATURE NEWSLETTER
Greetings fellow nature lovers
Welcome to the first issue of The Enchanted Nature Newsletter.
by Christopher Vacher
With Thanksgiving arriving this month, we thought that Turkey Tail mushrooms would be an appropriate subject to discuss. The picture below should clearly illustrate why these fungi are called Turkey Tails.
Mycololgists call these mushrooms Trametes Versicolor. They are common throughout the world and are most likely growing near your home. In China, they are known as yun zhi or Cloud Mushroom. In Japan, they are known as Kawaratake or Mushroom by the Riverbank. In Japan, mushrooms always end their name with "take", pronounced tah-kay. Some examples that you may have heard are Maitake, Shiitake, or Enokitake.
The first question that mycologists are frequently asked with any mushroom is, "Are they edible?" I would love to tell you that Turkey Tails are a sustainable, vegan alternative to the American Thanksgiving staple but alas, unless you relish chewing on shoe leather, they are not. Edible? Yes. Enjoyable? No thank you...The next question asked, less frequently is, "Will they get me stoned?" The answer is a resounding NO.
The, "Are they edible?" question frustrates a lot of naturalists as well as mycologists because it ranks the importance of another living organism by its service to humankind. Turkey tails will not make you ill if you cook and eat them, but most folks would find them completely unpalatable. The flavor is bland and the texture will exercise your jaw to the point of fatigue. If you're wondering whether I tried eating Turkey Tails, yes I have.
Trametes Versicolor may not be a choice "edible" fungi, but it is a medicinal fungi. Some of you might be thinking that I'm talking about some kind of "alternative, folk, wives' tale, hoodoo-voodoo, witch doctor" type of "medicine". I am not! Many of our conventional allopathic medicines are based on and created from organisms that naturally occur in the wild. Fungi give us Penicillin, Cyclosporine, cholesterol-lowering Statins, and the cancer fighting drug Taxol to name a few. Turkey Tails produce an adjunct cancer drug called PSK. Check out the National Institute of Health studies if you are interested in reading more about the medicinal properties of Turkey Tails: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=turkey+tail
Turkey Tails are a bracket fungus. They grow out like little shelves from the material that they are growing on. They are actually quite attractive as far as mushrooms are concerned.
Turkey Tails are saprophytes. This means that they live on dead and decaying material. If it wasn't for saprophytes, the planet would be covered in dead material and life wouldn't be able to exist. Saprophytes are the janitors of our planet that break down dead logs, leaves, and other materials into life giving soil.
We hope that you keep your eyes out for Turkey Tail mushrooms the next time that you're out and about. If you find some, please send some pics to [email protected] Please photograph the underside as well, because it is just as important as the topside for identification purposes. Watch for our newsletter next month to find out why.
Here's a hint:
Enchanted Nature Tours inc. is ready to launch! We (finally) received our USFS Special Use Permit and are now ready to take you on an adventure. If you are interested, take a look at our website https://www.enchantednaturetours.com to book an adventure. If you don't see a trip that fits your schedule, please contact us to book a date that works for you. We will be happy to help you book accommodations in the the beautiful city of Staunton or in a more "natural" setting.
NATURE IS CALLING, WILL YOU ANSWER
There are many proven health benefits to spending time in nature. It has also been proven that just looking at images of nature can provide multiple health benefits including: reducing depression, speed healing, improve your immune system, prevent dementia, improve your mood, and increase happiness. We plan on ending each newsletter with a short video of a natural scene. Hopefully the videos will provide you with some of the benefits listed above.
FOCUS is this month's video theme
As you watch our video, try to focus on one thing. Focus on one stone in the creek. Focus on one ripple in the water. Focus on the silhouettes of the the tree trunks against the sky. Focus on the grasses moving in the the landscape. There are many, many more choices, but FOCUS on ONE area. You can always watch the video again. Pick one point in the landscape to focus on, take a long slow breath, and try to imagine yourself in this place, at this moment, focusing on your one point of interest
If you don't see the video, link to the it here: https://vimeo.com/480361073
Stay safe, enjoy nature, and focus!
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