The discovery of rare mushrooms in northern British Columbia is a biological mystery

A few weeks ago, hiker Cynthia Andal was jumping a log and crossing a creek near the Nechako River in northern British Columbia when she found something that stopped her.

She hid in the bushes and found about twelve fist-sized spots of brown leather filled with black gel.

“I just stood there in awe, I think this is the witch’s cauldron. For years, I have wanted to see it.” said Andal, who lives on Pierre Island west of Prince George.

“It doesn’t seem to be true yet…you can see it, as if there is nothing that should exist.”

Hiker Cynthia Andal found a rare group of witch cauldron fungi in the woods near the Nichaco River in northern British Columbia (Cynthia Andal)

Rumors of the fungus have been circulating in the northern wilderness community for decades, but Andal’s photos posted on social media confirmed their authenticity.

Microbial ecologist Michael Preston (Michael Preston) said: “This is an extremely rare fungus.” Liming North Hosted by Drake, Carolina.

“If you look [B.C.] Species distribution map, it is not on the map. There is no official report document. “

Preston is a professor at the University of Northern British Columbia. Preston said that witches’ cauldrons usually appear in threatened northern Europe and have been declining in recent decades.

After melting in the spring, when the waterless but inedible earth becomes full due to the sudden supply of water, mushrooms sprout from the forest floor.

Preston said the confirmation of these species here is surprising, but meaningful.

He said: “This is in the right habitat.” “We have the boreal forest and the northern boreal forest. This is where you strangely expect to find the witch’s cauldron.”

But this discovery is only the first step to unravel the mystery of mushrooms.

Preston said that mycologists have yet to figure out the entire life cycle of the witch cauldron or its role in the ecosystem.

“What does it actually do? It’s a decomposer, meaning it is recycling nutrients in the forest and decomposing organic matter? Or is it actually related to trees, and it can actually help trees…in exchange. Food is needed. Help it grow?”

The purpose of the black gel filled with fungi is similarly a matter of scientific debate.

Microbial ecologist Michael Preston (Michael Preston) asked the public to help discover the mushroom so that field scientists can start a research project on the species next spring. (Cynthia Andal)

But Preston said that the existence of the witch cauldron is a good sign.

He said: “This is amazing.” “It’s all related to healthy forests. In fact, we see it in the forest here, especially in the old tree forest, which means… we may be in the forest. See a fairly diverse community of fungi in China.”

Preston is now seeking help from the public to discover the mushrooms so that field scientists can start a research project on the species next spring.

So far, he has received at least 50 reports.

Back in the woods near Nechako, Andal was excited, her keen eyes caused a sensation in the scientific community.

She said: “This is really special, I will always stare at the ground to find more.”

The fungus forms a wide timber net in the forest that connects the entire ecosystem. 1:24

Liming North9:38Find rare fungi in Prince George

UNBC’s Michael Preston told us about his experience in finding mushrooms in the witch’s cauldron. 9:38

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