Spectacular,” “bizarre,” “delightful” and “mysterious” are common terms applied upon the discovery of mushrooms. They are just as numerous and varied as flowering plants, and they come in various shapes, sizes, and colors.
Mushrooms play an important role in the environment. Most of them are natural recyclers (saprophytes). They decompose dead organic matter and recycle essential nutrients back into the soil, making them available to new plants.
Others aid the growth of their plant or tree partners (mycorrhizal).
Few are parasitic on living hosts.
A total of 87 macrofungi species were found and identified at the reserve during a two-year study that included Fall/Winter and Spring seasons (2009-2010).
Over the years, many superstitions have been associated with mushrooms. Some of these are amusing and harmless, but some are dangerous. It takes a good deal of education and experience to safely collect edible wild mushrooms. There is an old saying: “There are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters”. No mushroom should ever be eaten unless one is absolutely certain of its identity.
Mushroom populations can be used as bio-indicators of climate change.
The large number of mushrooms found reflect the richness of the soil habitat and the extensive flora that the reserve includes. One can assuredly conclude that the Tannourine Cedar Nature Reserve is not only rich in its plant flora but also in its mushroom flora as well. At the right time, one might find a great variety of edible and poisonous species.
More than 20 different species of edible and poisonous mushrooms were found inside the Cedar Forest in a study conducted by the American University of Beirut (All Rights Reserved to the American University of Beirut, and the author Nadine Modad).