Mushrooms and Fungi
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A PARADISE FOR SOUTHERN MUSHROOM SPECIES

altFor fans of mushrooms and other fungi, the Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park is sheer paradise, both for its variety of species and their great abundance. Gathering milk-cap mushrooms (Lactarius deliciosus, L. sanguifluus, called guĆ­scanos by the locals) is practically a sport for the park's residents, who race into the pine forests every autumn and invariably return home with their large baskets full to overflowing.

There are many other popular edible mushrooms, such as the king trumpet (Pleurotus eryngii), common morel (Morchella esculenta, M. conica, M. elata), black poplar (Agrocibe aegerita) and oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus). Particularly sought-after are the exquisite parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera) and St George's mushroom (Calocybe gambosa). Mushrooms are an important part of the park's traditional cusine, and during particularly bountiful autumns more than one resident can make a handsome profit from selling the mushrooms they have collected from locations that are a closely guarded secret.

As in any other place, it is wise to exercise extreme caution and to refrain from gathering and eating any species other than those you are highly familiar with: some of the park's fungi are poisonous, albeit few in number. Some can even be deadly, such as the panther cap (Amanita pantherina) and funeral bell (Galerina marginata).


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