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Lucky Lion’s Mane Find Spawns Native Fungi Cloning Project

lion's mane mushroom health benefits

lion's mane mushroom health benefitsHenry Jephson was wandering around the countryside near Bristol during a Covid lockdown when his eye was caught by the ghostly appearance of a lion’s mane mushroom, its shaggy fronds hanging across a tree trunk.

Jephson, the head of research at the Bristol Fungarium, knew he was looking at something rare and special. A staple of traditional Chinese medicine, the lion’s mane is also native to the UK, but is under threat. The “absolutely enormous” specimen spotted by Jephson was the first to be seen in south-west England in eight years.

Little did he know then that the fungus would change the focus of Jephson’s work. He is now working with Natural England and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to get native mushrooms back into England’s woodlands. He helps run a mushroom farm, which has pivoted from growing oyster and shiitake mushrooms for restaurants, to conserving native fungi and creating health supplements from them.

Lion’s mane is so rare that it is illegal to collect it from the wild, and it must be left undisturbed. Jephson was happy to admire it on his walks around the farm where he found it, pleased it was thriving in the wild.

So he was shocked one day to see the landowner had felled its host tree. Speaking at the Oxford Real Farming Conference, he said: “The mushroom was smashed all over the ground in big soggy pieces. And so finding ourselves in a slightly unique situation because they’re illegal to collect, we picked up a solid lump of lion’s mane and took it back to the mushroom farm and started trying to get a clean culture of it.”

Jephson has cloned the mushroom and is keeping its culture going at the farm. He also spoke to the landowner, who was unaware of the rare nature of the fungus, and he has left the tree stump alone, with lion’s mane still growing on it.

This led the fungarium down the path of keeping native mushrooms alive. “It was finding the lion’s mane that really got us down that path of cloning rare mushrooms. And now people have been approaching us wanting natural strains.

“Natural England and RHS Wisley [have] slightly different projects, and are using our strains to experiment. Wisley are interested in the insects that feed on mushrooms, so have been growing our strains at their site on logs in their garden to monitor the insects which come.

“Natural England have several strains of native mushrooms that they want to be putting into woodland. They want to track how spores are travelling through woodland, but also to encourage deep rot fungus. So certainly mushrooms break down different parts of the trees, and we want, in order to encourage biodiversity, to have mushrooms that are good at breaking down.”

Rare fungi are not just at risk from unwitting landowners and their axes – there are fears that spores from commercial farms could be spreading into the wild and affecting native mushrooms.

“Mushroom farming is getting more and more popular, which is great,” Jephson said, “but all these commercial strains coming in, all these spores being put out in the environment, we just don’t know what they’re doing to local ecology.

“I was talking to someone at a truffle festival a few months ago, and they were saying they found yellow oyster mushrooms. And they started in the summer growing on a hay bale. And yellow oysters are an exotic species. They are just not endemic, it was in the middle of nowhere.

“She didn’t know if there was a mushroom farm nearby, but I bet there was one somewhere around there, or even a grow kit that someone had been growing in a windowsill, and these yellow oyster spores found their way out into the environment, on to a hay bale.”

Native, wild mushrooms could be better for people’s health than commercial strains, Jephson said: “The commercial strains have been selected for high yield, fast growth. Our mushrooms are the opposite. They’re growing in ugly lumps. They grow incredibly slowly. They’re really picky about conditions. But they taste amazing, and our UK strain of lion’s mane has been tested for medicinal compounds in it, and the wild clone has 30% more beta glucans than the commercial strains.”

Originally published by By Helena Horton |Jan. 15th, 2024

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Humongous Fungus Fest, Crystal Falls Michigan

Humongus fungus fest

Humongus fungus fest
Covering 37+ subterranean acres, this Armillaria gallic is a famous fungus with its own festival.

 

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/humongousfungusfest/

Festival Time of year: August

Festival Address: Crystal Falls, MI, United States, 49920

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Mycofest, State College Pennsylvania

Mycofest

MycofestSince 2015, MycoSymbiotics has hosted the Mushroom and Arts festival in hopes to provide further education around all things mycology. It has gained traction in the community as a family-friendly connection to nature, education, and art. Attended by entrepreneurs in the field of mushrooms and mycology, local families, and local artists. The MycoSymbiotics festival is the first of its kind on the east coast. The festival is open and encouraged for all ages as we look to focus on education and ecological literacy. This multidimensional festival aims to provide something for everyone with our workshops for all stages, forays, live music, yoga. We look forward to meeting new people, connecting with nature, and discovering new ideas to share with our communities.

Festival Website: https://www.mycofest.com

Festival Host: https://mycosymbiotics.com/

Social Media: https://www.instagram.com/mycofest/

Festival Time of year: Early August

Festival Address: 177 Rimmey Rd, Centre Hall, PA 16828

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Olympic Peninsula Fungi Festival, Port Angeles Washington

Olympic Peninsula Fungi Festival Logo

Olympic Peninsula Fungi Festival LogoThe Olympic Peninsula Fungi Festival cultivates discovery, connection, and community. The festival increases access to experiential learning about an array of mycology topics, and brings people together in one of the most renowned ecosystems for fungi on Earth.
The festival will feature lectures, hands-on workshops, guided forays, mushroom cuisine, and more from internationally acclaimed experts, both local and from across the U.S. Live music, a vendors’ market, and camping will make for a full three-days of family fun between Port Angeles and Sequim.
No matter where you’re at on your journey with mushrooms, we guarantee this festival will inspire something new.

Event Website: https://www.opfungifestival.com/

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/opfungifestival

Contact: https://www.opfungifestival.com/get-involved

Festival Time of year: Late October

Festival Address: 1608 W 16th St, Port Angeles, WA 98363

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Mesick Lions Mushroom Festival, Mesnick Michigan

Mesick lions mushroom festival

Mesick lions mushroom festivalEver been out in the great outdoors, seeing the wonders of Nature, hunting for the great morel mushrooms all on Mother’s Day weekend? All of this and more happens here in Mesick MI at the annual Mesick Mushroom Festival. Mesick MI. is the mushroom capital in the United States.

Come enjoy our adventurous fun filled days, for people of all ages. There are many activities to be enjoyed by the family. Come hunt for mushrooms, Blessing of the Jeeps, food of all kinds, concerts, many events for kids, baseball and volleyball. We will have a great grand parade which if fun for all ages. 

Treasures galore abound on this weekend be it in the great hunt, games, markets or just seeing old friends from past years. The sky truly is the limit for quality family- friendly activities, fun, finds, fast thrills and food at our great hometown festival.   

Mesick is a small town, with a big heart. Come join us so we may help stimulate your heart, bring back old memories. View our lodging and sponsors pages for a great place to stay overnight or for more then a day. This makes for a fabulous complete vacation or day for you!

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mesick-Lions-Mushroom-Festival/250202275021133

More Info: https://www.michiganfun.com/event/mesick-mushroom-festival/

Event Host: https://e-clubhouse.org/sites/mesickmi/index.php

Contact: https://www.mesick-mushroomfest.org/contact.html

Festival Time of year: Mid May

Festival Address 6424 M-37, Mesick, MI 49668

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Cumberland Fungus Fest, Vancouver Island

Cumberland_fungus_fest

Cumberland_fungus_festJoin the Cumberland Community Forest Society for the 4th annual interdisciplinary celebration of forest ecology and fungus! Cumberland Fungus Fest features three days of fantastic fungus fun.
Talks, films, poetry, programs, fungus food, weaving, cultivation kits and workshops, hand on activities, indigenous connections, guided walks, art events, live music and more…

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/protectcumberlandforest

Event Host: https://www.cumberlandforest.com/

Festival Time of year: Late september

Event Cumberland, BC V0R 1S0, Canada

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Mushroom Festival, Rapid City South Dakota

mushroom festival rapid city

You’re cordially invited to join us at the Mushroom Festival, a fantastic family-friendly event. Come visit The Farm Stand at Bear Butte Gardens, conveniently located at 20445 Hwy 79, just a few minutes northeast of Sturgis, for an entire day filled with mushroom-related activities.

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/events/1791216191321526/

More info: https://bearbuttegardens.com/events/mushroomfestival.html

Festival Time of year: Early October

Event Address: 20445 SD Highway 79, Sturgis, SD, United States, South Dakota

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New York Fungus Festival, New York NY

New_York_mushroom_festival_logo

New_York_mushroom_festival_logoWe are excited to celebrate the city’s mycelial network, and showcase the breadth of mycological creativity here in New York City.

Come explore diverse displays and programs at the intersection of community art and science, including identification tables of wild mushrooms from the New York area, art and cultivation workshops and activities, lectures, yoga, tastings, urban farms, food vendors, costume corner, games and so much more.

This festival is free and open to all!

Festival Host: https://www.newyorkmyc.org/

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100090736942456

Additional info: https://randallsisland.org/
Festival Address: Wards Meadow Loop New York, NY 10035

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Texas Mushroom Festival, Madisonville Texas

Madisonville Mushroom Festival

Madisonville Mushroom FestivalThe Texas Mushroom Festival in Madisonville, Texas, started from very humble beginnings. Its first event in 2002 had just one tent, one entertainer, 10 T-shirts, and a few vendor booths, which technically got rained out. However, despite the initial challenges, the festival’s potential was recognized.

Madisonville had a tradition of hosting an annual Saturday on the Square event, and in 2002, a lone tent stood in the parking lot of The Woodbine Hotel. There, Chef Reinhard Warmuth cooked up various mushroom dishes, laying the foundation for future Texas Mushroom Festivals.

The festival’s association with mushrooms is due to Madisonville being known as The Mushroom Capital of Texas, thanks to the presence of Monterey Mushrooms, a local business that processes a significant amount of mushrooms daily.

Over the years, the Texas Mushroom Festival expanded and evolved to include various attractions beyond mushrooms and shopping. It now features diverse events to cater to different personal interests. Some of the festival highlights include the Shiitake 5K, Auto Showcase, Texas Wine and Craft Beer tastings, live music, Kids Zone, and Photo and Art Contests. The festival takes place in Downtown Madisonville from 10 am to 5 pm.

The Texas Mushroom Festival has grown in popularity and attracts thousands of visitors to Madisonville each year, becoming a significant annual event for the community and visitors alike.

Learn More:  https://txmushfest.com/

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/texasmushroomfestival/

Event Dates: Mid October

Festival Address: 210 N Madison St, Madisonville, TX 77864

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Agar Plate Pour Test July 2023

sterile agar plates poured using the mushyluv clone cube laminar flow hood.

July 2023 pour test using the Clone Cube and  a sterile agar bottle.

Setting up the pour surface in front of the laminar flow hood.  Parchment paper is set out as a disposable sterile surface. Sterile agar media is allowed to cool to 120°f before pouring plates.

Agar plates are poured  then left open to dry as they finish cooling.

 

Agar Plates clone cube
Taken August 10th – 11 days after original pour. Zero contamination.

 

sterile agar plates poured using the mushyluv clone cube laminar flow hood.

Taken September 22nd – 55 days after original pour. Zero contamination.

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