Cultivating King Stropharia: Part 2

After what has seemed like an eternity, or rather that feeling of hopeless anticipation which sometimes follows what you think has been a failure, my king stropharia (Stropharia rugosoannulata) patch produced it’s first flush of mushrooms despite all odds. I was astonished that the colony actually survived considering the trials and tribulations that it has endured since when I wrote about growing these mushrooms in Growing King Stropharia: Part 1. If you are new to these incredibly adaptable, hardy and delicious fungi then I suggest you take a look at Part 1 before you continue reading on with this post, just so that you know what’s up.

After almost a year and a half without any sign of activity, the stropharias decided to fruit over the past few weeks (it’s now early October). Somewhat understandably, the mycelium failed to produce since being installed in May of last year after being obliterated from below by the heaving up of a tree who’s roots which lay directly underneath the patch and then being subsequently raked all over the surrounding garden by (partially) negligible foster parents in my absence. It’s nothing short of remarkable that the patch not only recuperated from these calamities but has also produced at least a dozen mushrooms.

I had read quite a bit about this species’ tolerance of disturbance and disastrous consequences of all sorts that would undoubtedly be the demise of many other mycelial colonies. It seems to me that king stropharia positively thrive off of man-made disturbances. It is believed that before we as a species began generating large amounts of loose, coarse woody materials (i.e. mulch or wood chips) and distributing it widely around our cultivated and manicured landscapes S. rugosoannulata was quite scarce in the wild.

This hypothesis seems logical to me as piles of evenly placed mulched wood were not something that took place prior to human invention. It’s possible that the odd fallen or excavated tree (perhaps by wood boring insects or woodpeckers) may have accumulated small amounts of what could be considered wood chips, but these occurrences are rather infrequent from what I have been able to see. What this all means really, is that the king stropharia and humanity are, for a time, entwined as we inhabit the same sorts of landscapes, feasting (quite literally) off of each other’s niches and natural specialties.

It’s a beautiful thing to ponder, and additionally engaging for those who want to take this ethmomycologial concept to the next level and explore the world of cultivating king stropharia mushrooms somewhere in your local environment. There is lots of information on how exactly you can accomplish this, not limited to this article on Temperate Climate Permaculture and this page on the Field & Forest Products website. I encourage you to investigate the possibilities and share them with others. Nothing better than growing food, building soil and strengthening your ties with the world around you.

4 comments

    1. Hey Brendan,

      Thanks for commenting! Good to hear from you. YES! They were delicious. I only ended up getting enough for a very small portion but since they are perennial and aren’t being disturbed nearly as much as they had been over this past summer I suspect that they will produce more. You would definitely be able to grow them in the Toronto area. I haven’t come across any information about them being grown much further north though.. for example I am skeptical as to whether they would be successful (especially whether or not they would overwinter) in areas such as Timmins, Winnipeg, Calgary etc. but would love to hear of someone trying them out in those areas to see if it’s possible. There is very little information from what I can tell that speaks to their winter hardiness and the length of warmer wheather that they require to get established.

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