Mushrooms are classified into categories based on how they feed. There are basically four categories. These are: saprotrophs, mycorrhizal, parasites and endophytes.
Saprotrophic fungi use specific enzymes and acids that help them break down decaying organic matter, hence the dead tissues of trees, other plants and sometimes mammals. This allows them to feed on the decomposed matter. Saprotrophic fungi play a fundamental role in the decomposition process in nature, and therefore in the entire food chain.
These mushrooms include:
- Agaricus Bisporus (White button, Portobello, Cremini)
- Morel mushrooms
- Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)
- Shiitake (Lentinus Edodes)
- Maitake (Hen of the woods)
- Pleurotus Eryngii (King Trumpet mushroom, King Oyster mushroom)
- Pleurotus Ostreatus
- Agrocybe aegerita (Chestnut mushroom, Poplar mushroom)
- Trametes Versicolor (Turkey tail)
- Enoki or Enokitake
- Auricula Giudaee (Jelly ear fungus)
These mushrooms develop a beneficial partnership with plant roots. They can grow into the root cells (endomycorrhiza) or envelop the roots (ectomycorrhizae). It’s a prolific and beneficial partnership for both trees and the mycelium. Mushrooms provide phosphorus and nutrients to trees by obtaining sugars from trees.
Most plants in nature develop such a collaboration with different species of fungi, many are simply not edible.
Mycorrhizal mushrooms include:
- Amanita caesarea (Caesar’s mushroom)
- Cantharellus cibarius (Golden chanterelle mushroom)
- Porcini mushroom
- Russula mushrooms
Parasitic mushrooms, as the word suggests, infect plants and become fatal for them. Most of these fungi begin to produce fruiting bodies only when the host perishes or the plant is dying.
Parasitic mushrooms include:
- Armillaria Mellea (Honey mushroom caps)
- Armillaria Tabescens (Ringless Honey mushroom)
- Cordyceps Sinensis (Caterpillar mushroom)
- Hericium Erinaceus (Lion’s mane)
The endophytic category of fungi collaborates with plants by invading host tissue without harming the host that may even benefit from it. Many endophyte species do not produce fruiting bodies and their symbiosis is still a mystery.
WHAT TYPES OF MUSHROOMS TO GROW INDOOR
There are many types of mushrooms that you can grow indoors, and each type has particular growth needs. There are kits to start growing them and there are many varieties available. The choice of the mushroom to grow depends mainly on the purpose of the mushroom cultivation, so if it is intended for your own consumption rather than if you intend to develop a commercial crop. Other factors that determine the choice depends on the space available, the atmospheric conditions that can be provided for cultivation and so on.
The most common mushrooms that are grown at home are:
- Agaricus: Numerous species of Agaricus are grown commercially such as the Botton mushroom and Portobello.
- Enoki: Enoki or Enokitake mushrooms are also called winter mushrooms because they adapt to much lower temperatures than other species
- Lion’s mane: This mushroom is said to taste similar to lobster.
- Maitake: This mushroom is in high demand and can grow very large specimens.
- Reishi: Very popular in Asia for its medicinal properties. Easily cultivated on coniferous and broad-leaved stumps.
- Pleurotus: There are many varieties of this mushroom species that are cultivated.
- Shiitake: Shiitake mushrooms are famous for their health benefits. They are also easy to grow on both straw substrates and logs.
You may want to check the article: “What mushroom species to grow”