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Welcome to Issue Four

Welcome to issue four
Martin Powell
Ramaria apiculata by Henri Koskinen

Although it would be nice to think that The Mushroom exists in a vacuum this is not the case. We are not insulated from events in the wider world, as the soaring cost of the paper we print on illustrates.

It seems that today, more than for many years, we are witnessing a struggle on many fronts between beauty and ugliness. It is therefore always a joy to work on each issue and explore further the incredible beauty and diversity of the fungal kingdom and all the many different ways in which it manifests.

Mushrooms’ ability to thrive in even the most unexpected environments is especially inspiring and in Post-industrial Mushrooms we learn about their abundance in an ex-coal mining area in South Wales with over 32 species of waxcaps alone recorded at Cwm Glo a Glyndyrys outside Merthyr Tydfil.

In A World Through Hue Julie Beeler introduces us to the incredible beauty to be found in mushroom dyes and pigments that are showcased in her ongoing project The Mushroom Color Atlas while in A Luminous Pursuit we take a peek into the eerie world of bioluminescent mushrooms.

For Professor Lynne Boddy even hollow trees are beautiful, representing as they do an important nutrient resource for the trees themselves and also a habitat for the different fungal species that colonise them. She also reminds us that there is beauty in dead and decaying wood on the forest floor and of the importance of preserving this habitat.

In addition to transforming the wood and other organic matter on the forest floor, mushrooms can be transformational in other ways too. In Cordyceps to a New Counter-Culture William Padilla-Brown shares the transformative power of mushrooms in his life as well as for the individuals and communities he shares his knowledge with, while in Mushrooms and Gluten Fred Gillam shares the surprising effect the common button mushroom has had in relation to his own gluten -sensitivity and the science behind it.

In keeping with this issue’s focus on beauty our Fungus in Focus, Tremella fuciformis, is not only a beautiful mushroom but also the source of polysaccharides that are increasingly appearing in beauty products for their moisture-retention, anti-inflammatory and circulatory benefits and Zhang Yi shares some of the background to this surprising mushroom.

Last but not least Pascal Badur shares a recipe for lacto-fermented mushroom scallops proving once again that mushrooms are not only beautiful but delicious too.

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Issue 04