This year, the weather in the UK has been warmer and wetter, which has had an unexpected consequence: more mushrooms.
Scientists at London-based botanical gardens Kew and the Royal Horticultural Society say that a lot more people are finding and sending in pictures and samples of unusual mushrooms they have discovered in their gardens this year.
But why has the weather led to a change in mushroom behavior?
Mushrooms and the Weather
Most fungi grow best when there is a lot of moisture available and in damp conditions, such as after rainfall. Warmth is another condition necessary for good mushroom growth. Many parts of the UK have seen more rain and warmer weather this year, ideal for growing mushrooms.
Climate change also has a part to play, as the UK is likely to experience warmer and wetter conditions as the years go on.
Lee Davies, fungarium curator at Kew, said, “This year has been particularly busy for people seeing fungi and sending them into us. If climate change means warmer and wetter summers, we are going to get fantastic years for weird and wonderful fungi fruiting in people’s gardens…”
The Changing Climate
As the climate in the UK changes, so will the types and numbers of mushrooms grown.
Jassy Drakulic, fungi expert at the Royal Horticultural Society, explained, “Fungal ranges will change, and so will the trees and plants and the dead material they produce, which will encourage different fungi to thrive in different areas, and the range of warm-loving fungi will be increased.”
It’s not all good news, as some mushrooms (fungi) that will grow in increasing numbers due to the changing climate can damage other plants. For example, honey fungus, which attacks and kills the roots of woody and perennial plants, could grow more often and in more areas.
Some mushrooms are also growing for more extended periods, such as the sulphur tuft, which previously only fruited in the fall but also appeared in the spring.