10 Amazing Mushrooms Found In The Tropical Rainforests of Panama
Tropical Mushrooms And The Unique Geography of the Panamanian Isthmus
Two of the best places for learning about mycology and tropical mushrooms are the Amazonian rainforest and the Panamanian rainforest.
Panama is much more accessible and it has a unique combination of rich volcanic soil and a central geographic position as a land bridge between major continents and oceans.
This gives Panama some of the highest levels of forest, plant and mushroom biodiversity found anywhere in the world.
You will also find a huge diversity of tropical birds and species of mammals from both continents here, making it one of the best places in the world for experiencing wildlife in their natural habitat.
With a full tropical wet season that stretches from May to November, Panama's mountain cloud forests get some of the highest rainfall in the Americas.
This makes Panama fertile ground for the kingdom of fungi and an abundance of wild mushrooms that fruit from the underground mycelial networks after the rain.
If you want to learn about identifying mushroom and the critical role of mycelium in the interconnected web of life then Panama offers a rich environment to study mycology and fungal biodiversity.
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Mushrooms Found In The Tropical Rainforests of Panama
Here are 10 of the most beautiful and interesting mushrooms found in the tropical rainforest of Panama.
1. Laternea Pusilla
An odd-looking species of fungi in the Phallaceae family found in Central and South America.
2. Bridal Veil Stinkhorn
Commonly called Phallus Indusiatus, the bamboo fungus, or the veiled lady. This fungus is in the family Phallaceae, also known as the mysterious stinkhorns.
3. Scarlet Elf Cap
Also known as Scutellinia scutellata, this is a small fungus made of small red cups with distinct dark hairs or "eyelashes" that make it easy to identify.
4. Collared Earthstar
Also known as Geastrum triplex, this mushroom trinity grows in the leaf litter of Panama's tropical rainforests.
5. Cordyceps Militaris
A zombie fungus that alters the behavior of the ants (and other insects) in such a way as to propagate itself more effectively. It kills the ant and then grows its fruiting bodies from the ant's head to release its spores.
6. Anemone Stinkhorn Fungus
Also known as Aseroe rubra or the starfish fungus, this mushroom is recognizable for its foul odour. Stinkhorns fungus are some of the oddest looking mushrooms in the kingdom of fungi.
7. Psilocybe Cubensis
Psilocybe cubensis is a species of psychedelic mushroom whose principal active compounds are psilocybin and psilocin, which expand consciousness and can induce states of mystical unity. They are commonly found growing in tropical regions on manure.
8. Indigo Milk Cap
This eye-catching indigo mushroom looks like a blue portobello mushroom and is a highly sought after edible mushroom that can be found in the forest in the tropics as well as northern regions.
9. Marasmius Tageticolor
Marasmius tageticolor is a species of agaric fungus with fruiting bodies that have striped red and white caps. It is found in Mexico, Central America, and South America, where it commonly grows on twigs.
10. Panellus stipticus
Last but not least, what about a mushrooms that glows in the dark? Panellus stipticus is one of the brightest-glowing mushrooms in the forest. These flat fungi take hold of branches and showcase their dazzling bioluminescence as soon as the sun sets.
About The Author:
Kyle Pearce is an avid naturalist and learning experience designer who leads educational retreats and group storytelling adventures around the world through Social Creators.
Our mission at Animist Ecology is to rewild education through adventure-driven ecological learning designed to help people develop all of their senses through Eco-Mindfulness Training.